Goldie on a New Life after the War
Question: Would you talk about coming to the United States?
Goldie: We were welcomed by the family here. When we were in Germany, I remembered Al's address. You know, I had nothing; but I remembered the address. So I wrote a letter, and also Zmira's mother, Chaya, wrote to them that I survived. The first letter was my letter. When I was still in Lithuania with Jacob, they-the Hiatts-were looking for the family. Jack knew the languages. He was a lawyer. So he was looking, sending letters to the priests, asking questions if somebody survived. So a letter already came into Abel that somebody was looking for the family. Also, somehow they sent some money, so I got the money, and I was able to buy some butter, and Jacob got a suit. So I had already connections with the family.
And then I went with Jacob to Pumpyan, his shtetl. Jacob was already offered jobs. He was very well known in his field. The Lithuanian government wanted him to start a job. But I said, I'm not going to be one more day to walk on that bloody ground.
Then there was already an underground from Israel. There was Yossele-we just knew a name-that we just got in touch. They were trying to get out the refugee groups, the survivors. I remember that we were in a big truck that was used to bring soldiers. They hired a big truck. We were hidden in the truck. The drivers were well paid, and they were getting us out from Lithuania to come to Germany. That was already another experience. The leaders, they were Israelis already. That Yossele knew the drivers. He kept on paying them and giving them something to drink. Anyway, that's when we arrived in Germany.
From there, we were in the camps. Already we had connections; the family
knew about me. There was an American soldier that somehow Jacob knew the family, and through him, we sent a letter by the military
post that arrived. So in Germany, the family was already sending us bundles of clothes and some food. Jacob had started to work in the Joint Distribution Committee, so there was not a question of food, and the family knew that I had survived.
[To Josh] After you were born, we left Germany. When we arrived
in the United States, they already knew that we were coming, so the whole family came to meet us in New York. That's the first time that I got to know the rest of the family. The only one that I knew was Jack, because we grew up together. Al came, Dorothy, Jack, Francis, Sidney, Mildred-the whole family came. From there, they brought us to Worcester.
Question: What was it like in the beginning, in Worcester?
Goldie: Right away, they started that we should study. We had the apartment on Walnut Street. There was a high school across. We had a private teacher that came, and he advised us to go to night school, private lessons with him, and to read. That's how it started that we got a background of the English language. I didn't know a word, and Jacob, either. The family was a great help, especially Miriam Lavine. Everybody tried to help us adjust. But you were so confused, and you didn't know what it was all about. You accepted everything, but suddenly you have a family, and you are with your background.
Right away, we were accepted in the community. Jacob first started working for a gas station, and then he started to teach with Chaim Steinberg in a Hebrew school. I started to teach in the Reform temple. My English was very poor. Then Mr. Plich, the principal, came in, and we were accepted. In the beginning, I was in Temple Emanuel, and then in the Beth Israel; first I taught in the nursery school, and then in the Hebrew school.
Question: Were you still reliving the war experiences?
Goldie: I just could not talk about it.
Question: So how did you adjust?
Goldie: Jacob was more ready. Jacob started writing his book about when he was by himself in the woods. Part of the book was written, so after the war, when he had the background, he took some of my chapters. When he came to his home in the shtetl and saw what happened to his family, he got in touch with his brother Yosef in Moscow. You know, right away we were very busy with making a living and bringing up a child. I was already in the nursery school, teaching. So with the pressure of everything, you pushed away other thoughts, and you didn't talk about it. I could not. I'm trying to forget, you know.
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