Repatriation, they called it. Yet in truth we were not really going home to Poland, the country in which we had lived before 1939. Quite the contrary, we were leaving Skala, the only home we had ever known and heading west into the unknown. None of us knew where we would end up and what future awaited us..
Quotes from this chapter
We were the surviving remnant of a once-great Jewish civilization—thousands out of millions—rolling into an unknown Poland and an uncertain future.
At this time in my young working life, I knew a lot about tin. But now I was about to get an education in a more valuable metal, gold.
Repatriation, they called it. But we were not going home to Poland, the country in which we had once lived. To the contrary, we were leaving the only home we had ever known.
A Yiddish-speaking U.S. Army officer interviewed us about our origin and migration. He put us at ease that we were eligible for entry to the camps.
In the Rynek you could get almost anything—for a price. I saw people buying and selling everything from sacks of flour and sugar to gold and jewelry to packs and cartons of American cigarettes.
We were taken by Brichah from the Polish city of Szczecin into the Soviet zone of occupation and then to Berlin, which was by then a divided city with separate U.S., British, Soviet and French sectors of control.
Bytom’s old Jewish cemetery was in tidy order, as if a local shames like my grandfather were still tending to the dates and names of every resident. Would that it were so!
I was sickened but struggled to keep a straight face. I told her I did not have the tools to extract the gold fillings, and preferred to deal only in jewelry.
Book excerpts about the people, places and events mentioned in the book
Black market customer who hoarded Jewish relics
Some catchy teaser text for this featured person.
Market square in the war-ravaged town in Silesia where the Edelsteins were resettled
Author migrated to Germany via Brichah's northern route through Szczecin (Stettin)
Transit camp for Polish Jews bound for DP camps in the American Zone.
Michael entered into the American zone of occupation
Polish border town where Michael was born and experienced his ordeal
Surviving Jews from annexed Ukraine were resettled in western Poland
Admission to DP camps was made possible for Polish Jews
Antisemitic actions in postwar Poland reached their climax at Kielce
Smuggled by Brichah on the northern route through Szczecin