We didn’t know it when we arrived at Eschwege, but this would be our home for the next three years. Eschwege was one of the largest DP facilities set aside exclusively for Jews. It was a converted German Luftwaffe airfield with attached barracks. Actually, there hadn’t been a whole lot of conversion from a military facility to one for refugees—the quarters remained very bare bones...
Quotes from this chapter
Our original immigration submission was among the documents that showed up years later when I reviewed our HIAS file in preparing this book.
It was a big deal when we had weddings in the camp, in the same way that my bar mitzvah in post-liberation Skala had been important for the Jewish survivors of Skala.
Representatives of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) were coming to Eschwege to help Jewish DPs apply for immigration to the United States. Now the question we had discussed in the abstract come into sharp focus. Palestine or America?
We dressed in our standard-issue khaki pants or shorts with loose white shirts, already resembling the typical Israeli pioneers that many camp residents would soon become.
The Beitar squad leader talked me out of my plan to join a military brigade bound for Palestine. There would be other ways to contribute to the Jewish state. My father needed me more.
I gazed upon the the famous Statue of Liberty with hope and inspiration. The crossing had taken 12 days, but my journey from Skala to America had lasted more than five years.
Major Zionist figures came to camp for speeches. I remember seeing Ben-Gurion in 1948, a few months after he had declared the establishment of the State of Israel and become its prime minister.
Book excerpts about the people, places and events mentioned in the book
Beitar squad leader at Eschwege advised Munye not to join Irgun brigade
Yiddish scholar who introduced Michael and Florence
German sportsman who developed Munye's pugilism
Displaced Persons camp where the author first resided
The second of three displaced persons camp where the author was housed
Third displaced persons camp where the author was housed
The author finally departed Europe from here in January 1951
Twelve days on board with American movies and Coca Cola
Michael was stirred to hear Ben-Gurion speak at Eschwege
Against staggering odds, a Jewish state was born in 1948