David P. Boder Interviews Malka Johles; August 28, 1946; Genève, Switzerland

var transcription = { interview: [ Herman Barnett

[In English] Spool 89, Spool 89, Spool 89, recording starts at about one minute. This is Herman Bernett.

David Boder

Geneva, August 28th. August 28th, 1946. The interviewee is Mrs. Malka Johles.

David Boder

[In German] Wie alt sind Sie, Frau Johles?

Malka Johles

Sechsundvierzig.

David Boder

[In English] Forty-six years old. Working in a shop for the training of knitting operations, knitting machine operations at the ORT in Geneva.

David Boder

[In German] Also, Frau Johles, ich wollt mich fÃr Sie bitten, dass Sie mir in..., mit allen Einzelheiten, wie weit es geht, erzÃhlen, was Ihnen passiert hat. Sie waren, haben in Wien gelebt, nicht wahr?

Malka Johles

Ja, im Wiener...

David Boder

Von der Zeit des Anschlusses.

Malka Johles

Von Wien nach Belgien?

David Boder

Ja. Also, Sie haben in Wien gelebt.

Malka Johles

Ja.

David Boder

Nun, erzÃhlen Sie mir, was haben Sie getan, wenn der Anschluss kam und was hat Ihnen passiert. Ganz langsam.

Malka Johles

[unverstÃndlich] alles, ja...

David Boder

Und alles so. Wann hat der Anschluss, der Anschluss vorgebracht.

Malka Johles

Am 11. MÃrz.

David Boder

Welchem Jahr?

Malka Johles

Â38.

David Boder

In Â38.

var english_translation = { interview: [ Herman Barnett

[In English] Spool 89, Spool 89, Spool 89, recording starts at about one minute. This is Herman Bernett.

David Boder

Geneva, August 28th. August 28th, 1946. The interviewee is Mrs Malka Johles.

David Boder

[In German] How old are you, Mrs. Johles?

Malka Johles

Forty-six.

David Boder

[In English] Forty-six years old. Working in a shop for the training of knitting operations, knitting machine operations at the ORT in Geneva.

David Boder

[In German] Well, Mrs. Johles, I wanted to ask me for you, that you... with all details, as far as possible, tell me, what happened to you. You were, you lived in Vienna, right?

Malka Johles

Yes, in Vienna...

David Boder

From the beginning of the annexation.

Malka Johles

From Vienna to Belgium?

David Boder

Yes, so, you were living in Vienna.

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

Well, tell me, what were you doing when the annexation happened and what happened to you. Very slowly.

Malka Johles

[unintelligible] everything, yes...

David Boder

And everything like this. When did the annexation, the annexation happen?

Malka Johles

On March 11th.

David Boder

Which year?

Malka Johles

Thirty-eight.

David Boder

In thirty-eight.

Malka Johles

This day my child was five months.

David Boder

Yes, and?

Malka Johles

To the very day. They closed our shop right away.

David Boder

How long? Already on the very first day?

Malka Johles

No, on Monday, on March 14th. Closed down the shop.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Eight days. Then they opened it again, of course.

David Boder

Opened it.

Malka Johles

Opened it. But business was then not anymore... from this moment on. Nobody came in anymore.

David Boder

Why?

Malka Johles

Because they were afraid.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Because there was a guard standing by the door.

David Boder

And?

Malka Johles

SA

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

That nobody, err, would go in, no Aryan customers.

David Boder

I see, err, Aryan customers. Did you have Aryan customers before...err?

Malka Johles

No, I didn't have Jewish customers.

David Boder

Oh, you had. What type of shop was it?

Malka Johles

Delicatessen. Everything.

David Boder

It was a Delicatessen shop. And you had, yes...

Malka Johles

Groceries, everything.

David Boder

And you mostly had Christian...

Malka Johles

Only Christian...

David Boder

Only Christian customers...

Malka Johles

Only Christian...

David Boder

So, a guard stood there, so that Christians could not come in.

Malka Johles

And, and nobody came...

David Boder

And how did the shop go then?

Malka Johles

It didn't.

David Boder

Talk a little louder. It didn't go...

Malka Johles

It didn't go anymore. From this very moment on...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

It didn't go anymore.

David Boder

And then?

Malka Johles

Then, I...

David Boder

What did you do then?

Malka Johles

I had interested, the whole time to go away, of course, so I stood in line, from one consulate to the next, then I got a [unintelligible] in May...

David Boder

From where?

Malka Johles

From my cousin, named KÃlsch, a pharmacist, in err...

David Boder

Br...

Malka Johles

Bronx.

David Boder

In the Bronx.

Malka Johles

Bronx, yes, that is my cousin. KÃlsch, Hary KÃlsch.

David Boder

And then?

Malka Johles

Then, we waited, and waited and on the tenth... on, err, October 27th, my husband was taken away to Bonj...to Bonjui.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Because he had, a, correct, a, err, a, err, valid passport as a Polish national and there he was until November 2nd. On November 2nd he came back.

David Boder

To Vienna.

Malka Johles

Yes, back to Vienna. Via Berlin.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

A notice of amnesty arrived and he will, err, come back.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

On November 10th, they invaded our... maybe twenty Gestapo-men , they took everything, all jewelry, all silverware, everything they took from me!

David Boder

Well?

Malka Johles

My husband was arrested on the way.

David Boder

What do you mean "on the way"?

Malka Johles

"On the way". Not from at ho-, not at home. He wasn't, err, at home at this time, on November 10th, Â38.

David Boder

Â38.

Malka Johles

Because, well, he had fled to a butcher, a Jewish butcher, called Gruber. Then they arrested him with his boy and my husband. My husband, they kept until the next morning...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Until November 11th, in the morning. Because he still had a valid passport...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

He could come back.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And then we were in Vienna until December 14th.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

On December 14th, we fled to Belgium.

David Boder

Wait a minute. They came to you...

Malka Johles

On November 10th, at 12 o' clock. They took....

David Boder

Nighttime or daytime?

Malka Johles

Daytime.

David Boder

Daytime.

Malka Johles

I was told to [unintelligible] for twenty-four people...I don't think this is important...

David Boder

Yes, it is very important.

Malka Johles

Yes. A [Kanteste?] from, for twenty-four person, people. [unintelligible]. And, jewelry from, from, err, from me and from my husband, of course. It was very, very valuable...

David Boder

Yes, and?

Malka Johles

Well, and clothes and...he didn't...

David Boder

And what did they say?

Malka Johles

They said that there will come, err, I showed them a note from the Foreign Currency Exchange Center, to show that I had deposited, that not to, err, but only had declared...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Because I had thought, I'll already come to America in, err, August!

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

I wanted to postpone, so I had at the treasury department, at the Foreign Currency Exchange Center declared...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

The value of three thousand shilling.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And that I showed, that I had declared it correct, correctly.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Yes and then they [interruption in wire]...the note is worthless, they take it away now...

David Boder

Fiche, the note, the paper that didn't...

Malka Johles

The note from the Foreign Currency Exchange Center is nothing, but, I had through a lawyer, a Doctor Scherlach...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Through a lawyer, Scherlach, I had done that, I had paid 150 Marks for the, for the, probably for his expenses. And then they said, that's nothing, is good for nothing. I also said that we are Polish nationals, and he said, that, err, when we go to America, we'll get it back. I asked everywhere, went straight to the Polish consulate and they said they can't do anything.

David Boder

Well? Then? What, what was on the Tenth?

Malka Johles

November 10th?

David Boder

And then?

Malka Johles

Well, then, I went, we went to Belgium.

David Boder

How...Why did you go to Belgium?

Malka Johles

Because we were told, we shouldn't, we shouldn't stay, but my husband had... needed a valid Polish passport until the year Â31. And then they said that he did not need it, after all, and...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

It would get worse and worse...

David Boder

Did they let you go?

Malka Johles

No, no, we left illegally with the children.

David Boder

So, you left with which, with, with the little one...

Malka Johles

With the little child, who was then only thirteen months....

David Boder

And where was the boy?

Malka Johles

He was also with us!

David Boder

I see.

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

So, tell me, how did you get from Vienna to Belgium?

Malka Johles

How we got there? We drove to Aachen...

David Boder

To Ger...in Germany.

Malka Johles

Yes, Cologne. Aachen.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Well, then we went to the Gestapo.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And, we were frisked.

David Boder

You were, you went to the Gestapo deliberately, or were you...led there?

Malka Johles

No, no, we went...we had to...pass through the control.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And that was with the Gestapo!

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

My husband was frisked. Of course, we said if, if...if he had anything sowed into there...Then my husband said that if they want to, they can cut the coat open...I have nothing in there. He only had a couple of diapers for the little, the little one, right? And then he searched everything. Even searched the baby, my boy. Me separately, my boy separately, my husband separately.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And then we left. And we asked everywhere. Then we were told, we should...there, and there we would have somebody, yes...Then we came in to a coffee house. We stayed there for several days.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

It was terribly cold then...and then the, the, the, the coffee house got us a car.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

The car came, of course. And then we drove, three hours by car to, to Brussels.

David Boder

And, you were travelling completely illegally?

Malka Johles

Yes, illegally.

David Boder

Did the Gestapo know that you were illegal...

Malka Johles

Yes, they knew!

David Boder

And they...

Malka Johles

The Gestapo did...

David Boder

You told them, that you were fleeing.

Malka Johles

We are leaving, yes. Yes. We are leaving.

David Boder

We are going to Belgium...

Malka Johles

To Belgium, yes.

David Boder

To Belgium, and they said, that doesn't concern them, you can go.

Malka Johles

They let us go and we continued.

David Boder

I see.

Malka Johles

Of course, in the middle of the night. We came to Brussels, it was so ferociously cold, a, a, the little one froze her cheek. I had to, three times a week, three times a week to Krish, err, to get radiation treatment, to heal it, err, until the child...we went so far. Through the...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Through this cold. Had nothing with us. Nothing at all. The child was freezing.

David Boder

[unintelligible]

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

What did you now...Is the child?

Malka Johles

Then the child, err, recovered.

David Boder

So, tell me, the woman who had gotten you a car, and with the car you were smuggled over.

Malka Johles

Smuggled over.

David Boder

Did you have to pay a lot?

Malka Johles

That, I can't remember. That...

David Boder

Did the Gestapo let you go with anything or did they...?

Malka Johles

We only had ten Marks, they have, we didn't rescue anything! No! We have nothing...no money.

David Boder

No jewelry, nothing.

Malka Johles

Jewelry, everything they took away, everything! On November 10th.

David Boder

How did that work? How was the car paid for?

Malka Johles

We probably had something, my husband did pay...we had each got.., gotten ten Marks.

David Boder

I see, each one of you...ten Marks.

Malka Johles

Each one ten Marks, yes.

David Boder

So you were four people...

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

So altogether forty Marks.

Malka Johles

Forty Marks.

David Boder

And where did you go to in Brussels?

Malka Johles

In Brussels, to the communautÃ.

David Boder

The Jewish Committee.

Malka Johles

Yes. And there we received help right away.

David Boder

And in Brussels, the government did not want to send you back?

Malka Johles

No, no, no.

David Boder

There was no...

Malka Johles

We had no trouble.

David Boder

No trouble?

Malka Johles

Never, no.

David Boder

So, and then? So, how long were you in Brussels?

Malka Johles

In Brussels, until, err, until, err May 12th, 1940.

David Boder

Until May 12th, 1940.

Malka Johles

Yes. '40, we fled to, err, to, err, France...

David Boder

Why?

Malka Johles

Why? Because the war began.

David Boder

And then? And the Germans came to, to Belgium...

Malka Johles

The Germans ... We weren't there yet, we were... we fled when, when, err, the Belgians, were still...

David Boder

Yes. And were you admitted into France?

Malka Johles

Yes, we got in, we bought tickets to Paris, and then, nobody could get off the train, we rode directly to Tou..., err, Toulouse. To...Toulouse.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

A big city.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

In the South of France.

David Boder

And why couldn't anyone get off in Paris?

Malka Johles

There, the train didn't at all, the train is not stop, didn't stop, nobody got out. From Brussels straight to Toulouse.

David Boder

To Toulouse.

Malka Johles

That was just how the train went...

David Boder

Were there a lot of refugees?

Malka Johles

Oh yes! Many!

David Boder

Speak louder.

Malka Johles

Very many!

David Boder

Very many.

Malka Johles

Flemish people, err, err, Walloon people, Jews, different, different people.

David Boder

And why (what?) were the Walloon people...?

Malka Johles

Walloon. French. Flemish people, also!

David Boder

Flemish people were there.

Malka Johles

Many Flemish people were there...

David Boder

Why did they, why [unintelligible] ..

Malka Johles

They also didn't want to...

David Boder

So, they simply didn't...

Malka Johles

They feared the war, again the war, maybe, no? Those that had experienced it and [unintelligible]...

David Boder

Yes, so you came to Toulouse. What happened then?

Malka Johles

Yes. In Toulouse we were accommodated in the villages.

David Boder

Because you...

Malka Johles

(Unintelligible, sounds like "Verona", possibly a place name.) In, err, accommodated. Each house, we...

David Boder

[unintelligible]

Malka Johles

...came in...the maire, the mayor...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And there we were until, err, err, eight days.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Eight days until we had to, err, come to Toulouse, the stadium.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

My husband. And I. And the, err, my two kids. Me, they sent back.

David Boder

To Toulouse?

Malka Johles

And my kids....err, back to the village. And my husband, err, was detained.

David Boder

Oh! Your husband was...

Malka Johles

Yes. My husband was, although he is a Polish citizen, detained.

David Boder

Yes. Then, where...?

Malka Johles

Didn't come back, my husband. Yes, he did come back, later! My husband then came to Cyprien.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Cyprien, that is near the, err, at the, err, at the, err, Spanish border.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Yes. Cyprien. And I was, was in the village there and was supported by the administration in the village. With my two kids...

David Boder

Not by the Jewish committee?

Malka Johles

No, no, from where everybody else was got it.

David Boder

What did the administration give you?

Malka Johles

I got, I could, I mean...

David Boder

You were able to get by...

Malka Johles

Yes, and err, err, for many things I didn't have to pay.

David Boder

Did you try to work?

Malka Johles

Well, how could I? The child wasn't even two years old. What could I have...?

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

My boy was already helping a little bit.

David Boder

Yes, and then?

Malka Johles

Then I went to Cyprien. On July 18th. And then, I was able to get my husband out right away, from Cyprien.

David Boder

How did you...?

Malka Johles

Because he was a Polish citizen.

David Boder

I see.

Malka Johles

They shouldn't have detained him in the first place!

David Boder

I see.

Malka Johles

My husband should not have had any [unintelligible] to go to Toulouse. But the gendarmes came from, err, from Toulouse and said to each they have to register. And because we were Polish nationals, send us back. But unfortunately, they didn't send back from the stadium/station, but only me and my two kids.

David Boder

Well? And then they let your...So, how long was your husband detained?

Malka Johles

My husband was detained until July 18th. From May 17th to July 18th.

David Boder

Yes, well? What happened then? We have...

Malka Johles

Then my husband, then we were there in the village until September. My husband had worked there for the farmer.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And, err, and, there was, then we came into a camp.

David Boder

Why?

Malka Johles

To Brens. In a family camp.

David Boder

Why did you get there?

Malka Johles

Because the village had, err, the [unintelligible] didn't want to support anymore.

David Boder

I see.

Malka Johles

Probably didn't want to give any help anymore.

David Boder

Why?

Malka Johles

And the, the Jewish committee allegedly had founded the camp.

David Boder

Oh, and that was...

Malka Johles

In Brens. Yes. Brens, that was near Albi, near Goier [Gaillac?]. I don't know, you probably know the area...

David Boder

Yes, yes. [unintelligible]

Malka Johles

Yes, you can see. Brens. And there, we were until February 4th, err, '41.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And then we fled. To [unintelligible].

David Boder

Why?

Malka Johles

Err, from the village, we fled to Lyon.

David Boder

Why did you have...?

Malka Johles

Why? Because, because we, they said, they send away, to [Rix?] and to Guille and right. We left on the fourth, and on the sixth, we came to Lyon, and on the eighteenth, err, of February the single people were sent away to Guille and those with family, with children to [unintelligible].

David Boder

And where were you?

Malka Johles

We were in Lyon.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

We came to Lyon...Mr. Pauler said, that was a [unintelligible], he said, err, to a man called Deutsch, who went to America in '41: Mr. Deutsch, take out the list, these four, the family Johles also comes from Brens. They have, err, we said, we don't come from Brens, we come from Brenteau.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

We had, err, err, wanted to deny. Because they, what came from Brens, they didn't want to give help. And then he said, well, you get one week until we get the list to show that you really didn't come from Brens, so you are not getting any aid. Then my husband said, do as you please. My child had, err, temperature, an inflammation of the middle ear and nevertheless, we fled. To, to Lyon. Because we, err, had learned that we would be sent away otherwise. Then we had to flee, with the child who was sick with the ear infection. And, then we came, had great difficulties. Not with the stay, but with the aid.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Yes. And how was this thing with Brens solved?

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

So they couldn't threaten us anymore, then they gave us financial aid like they should.

David Boder

So, they didn't want people to leave Brens?

Malka Johles

Leave Brens...., because we had the Toulouse Committee, probably, or...I don't know, or the Marseille, ha...had allegedly built or bought the camp. It is supposed to have cost a million francs.

David Boder

Well?

Malka Johles

And they didn't want the people there, they wanted us to go to Kiev. And they were supposed to die there, in Kiev.

David Boder

And then?

Malka Johles

And then, err, we were there, in Lyon, of course. There, we had to live from the aid. It was very, very little, naturally. But on March 16th, they recruited my husband, took him out of work.

David Boder

Who did?

Malka Johles

The administration.

David Boder

[unintelligible] the (possibly: Vichy-) administration.

Malka Johles

The prefectia.

David Boder

The prefectia.

Malka Johles

The prefectia helped my husband, in the morning, and arrested him, and then they sent him to a collection point, Chapeaulis. That was a suburb of Lyon. And [unintelligible] they held him from Monday to Saturday. And on Saturday he came to the Haute-Savoie...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

There he was detained...To Haut- [unintelligible] And there he didn't only have to work in the mines [unintelligible]...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

[unintelligible] very, very high...

David Boder

How old was he?

Malka Johles

My husband was then 41 years.

David Boder

I see. And then?

Malka Johles

And every once in a while he came home to Lyon on leave...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And when they came, the [unintelligible] in August...

David Boder

What are the [unintelligible]?

Malka Johles

Well, when they, err, the, the , the, well, the...deported people...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

In August '42.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

The camp was already...the people there, err, didn't...because of [unintelligible]....

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And then my husband telephoned my boy, on August 22, and told him to come right away.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

My boy came. My husband couldn't do anything, you see, because he already was...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Err, he was already scheduled to go to war. But my boy wasn't 15 years old yet and then he went to see the commander and started to plead with him and to cry and that already...my husband had wanted to have hernia surgery for a long time, but in Lyon. And the commander had said, no, he only wants St. Julien [hospital], to which the camp belongs.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

The admin...you know, the prefectia had there a...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

A hospital and the, err, the camp [unintelligible] ...the battle, laborers, err, my husband said, no, I won't have surgery done in St. Julien, I would like to go to Lyon, where my wife is and if something happens...Then he said, he can't do anything and he already asked the prefectia. Yes, and to Lyon, they came to me, a few times, those people from the prefectia, that is from the administration. I was to accept the financial aid. I said, I won't take any. They wanted to give me for my children and for me...assistance.

David Boder

Why?

Malka Johles

Because my husband worked there.

David Boder

I see.

Malka Johles

He did, after all, err, a [unintelligible]...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

He worked there legitimately?

David Boder

Yes. So they wanted to give you assistance.

Malka Johles

Yes, a worker, err, [unintelligible] "travailleur Ãtranger" it was called. I said no, because I was afraid to accept help from them. So, when, err, when they [unintelligible] my boy inside begins to cry and to plead with the commander, if my husband could, please, have surgery done.

David Boder

Hmm...

Malka Johles

So he, he called the doctor of St. Julien right away and the doctor came on Monday the 24th. And, err, he explained to my husband that he is sick and he took him with him, in his car to St. Julien. So the Gestapâ ..., no, not the Gestapo, but the [unintelligible] let him go. When the doctor from the hospital said that the man had high temperature and he had to be operated on. On the 24th, my husband was operated and he had to himself [unintelligible] lain in St. Julien. That is on the border, that's, when you...when you leave the Jewish cemetery, from Geneva, it borders right onto the hospital, on St. Julien.

David Boder

That's all in Switzerland?

Malka Johles

On the border to Switzerland, I think. Not far.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

When you leave the hospital and walk to its garden, you can already see, you're already on the border.

David Boder

And then?

Malka Johles

On the Swiss border. My husband was operated there, on the hernia. My boy, he speaks French perfectly...Of course I didn't know where my boy was! He had sent me a telegram that my husband was, thanks be to God, in the hospital.

David Boder

Hmm...

Malka Johles

And that he was not in battle. And that he had already been operated on. When he'll come back, he telegraphed, he didn't know â my boy. I didn't leave. I didn't hide. Err, I thought, maybe they are not searching for me. It was known that my husband is...working.

David Boder

Is working.

Malka Johles

Yes. And the little one was only four and a half years old. So I didn't leave. Because I thought if I do, my boy will come and then he might not know where I am.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And my hus...my boy was three days in St. Julien and not registered.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

In the hotel. She was very nice, the woman didn't register his card. And then she said, she can't do that, she has to register him because if a police patrol comes by...And as she registers him and as my boy leaves the hospital from visiting, as visiting hours were over, there stood three gendarmes and arrested the boy. On the [unintelligible] they said, you are registered, you are staying in the hotel, what are you doing there? So my boy says, as you can see, I was there for my Dad...Well, what are you doing there? Why does your Dad need you, when he's in the hospital? Then he says, my Dad doesn't speak a word of French and I just wanted to be there, so that my Dad understands things. Well, they say, what is going to happen with you now? So he says, I would like to go home to my Mum, back to Lyon. Then he says, I see! Your mum is long gone, like all Jews. They're all already caught and what are we going to do with you now? So my boy started to cry terribly. He was afraid, they would deport him. But one of them, one of them, err, he was older...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

A commissioner. He said, don't cry, he said, I have four [unintelligible] myself, that is kids, at home. I won't do you any harm. He says: I won't do you any harm at all. Boy, don't cry, calm down. If you think that your Mum is still in Lyon, send her a telegram and, err, go, and, err, go. So, I received a telegram, saying that my boy...

David Boder

Was coming.

Malka Johles

Was coming. I wa, wa, was afraid to go to the...

David Boder

Train station.

Malka Johles

Train station. It was so dangerous, you know. So I waited behind the bushes. I knew what time he would arrive, so now I waited. I whistled to him and he whistled back and so we identified each other. And that was in the middle of the night.

David Boder

He whistled?

Malka Johles

Yes, because I couldn't come....

David Boder

Did you have a certain melody?

Malka Johles

Yes, he already knew.

David Boder

What was it?

Malka Johles

Well, just something whistled and then he already knew. And then he came back and told me, that my husband had had surgery, and that they wanted to arrest him and so, from this hour on, of course, we didn't sleep at home anymore. And then we stayed with a neighbor. Then my boy went to see my husband another time. He was already doing a little better. And then my boy went yet another time to the battle. But that...that is not so important.

David Boder

What do you mean by "battle"?

Malka Johles

In, in [unintelligible], where my husband was, is...

David Boder

Yes, yes, that is all very important. Everything is important....

Malka Johles

Yes. And because the camp was still....

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And my husband didn't know what to do.... Yes. The, the nurse, the hospital nurse told my husband that when he in St. Mary [unintelligible] an stand up alright, she will see that he'll get across the border.

David Boder

To Switzerland.

Malka Johles

To Switzerland. Then he said, I can't go alone, I have two kids, and, and a wife. What should I do? And I didn't have the guts to go to St. Julien, because they take people off the "autopiste".

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

So my husband, err, my boy went to the commander of the camp and obtained a, a, a, a, err, sick leave for a month. And with the note, he went to the hospital.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

My boy, and he brought my husband home to Lyon. So, err, he was still very sick. And, so he came [unintelligible], not because of the surgery, but because of everything.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

He came home. And then we were there for a few days.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

My husband, after all, had the sick leave from the hospital and on top the one from the battle.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

So, this cost us extra [unintelligible], and...but we also hid. And then we...my husband said, he's strong enough now, he won't stay, despite the sick leave, he said, I won't stay. And so we decided to leave, in God's name.

David Boder

Where to?

Malka Johles

To the border.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And, err, luckily we crossed it.

David Boder

Crossed it.

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

Well, how did you get across, err?

Malka Johles

We were in [unintelligible] there,...

David Boder

So, who met you when you were...

Malka Johles

At a...the...

David Boder

Here in, in Ge..in Geneva?

Malka Johles

Yes, in Geneva, yes.

David Boder

Yes, well? Where were you?

Malka Johles

We were in a kind of reception camp, only one night.

David Boder

That was in the beginning...

Malka Johles

Yes, just one night.

David Boder

They didn't want to send you back?

Malka Johles

No, the child was still so...

David Boder

What?

Malka Johles

It was, the child was not even five years old.

David Boder

I see. So, did they [unintelligible]...

Malka Johles

Yes. Nobody gave us trouble. One other family they sent back.

David Boder

Why?

Malka Johles

Before us. Because, it was just... they said it was a deadline.

David Boder

What?

Malka Johles

It was, a, a, it was a, err, a day, where, err...

David Boder

Send back.

Malka Johles

Send back. They were, he was twenty-three years old, two older people.

David Boder

I see.

Malka Johles

They sent them back. But they, err, after four times they crossed over and then made it. Now they are in Chent (unclear).

David Boder

Where?

Malka Johles

In Chent. They work...

David Boder

Where is that?

Malka Johles

Chent, near Paris.

David Boder

Oh!

Malka Johles

Yes. They are doing very well. They didn't send us, err...

David Boder

Well? So you came over the Switzerland, which year?

Malka Johles

In which year? '42. December, 27th.

David Boder

â 42.

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

And then what did they do with you right after?

Malka Johles

What did they do with us?

David Boder

Yes, where were you....

Malka Johles

There we were one day.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

In the reception camp. Then we came to the "Territorial"...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

"Territorialkommando" [Territorial authorities]. And then they put us into a hotel. They gave us financial assistance.

David Boder

The Jewish Swiss group?

Malka Johles

First the communautÃ. Yes, I'm not quite sure. The communautà ...

David Boder

Is that a Jewish comm...

Malka Johles

A Jewish, yes. And then we received assistance from the Polish consulate, after a month or so, in October, err, we already received, err, directly from the Polish consulate.

David Boder

Why from the consulate?

Malka Johles

Because my husband was a Polish national.

David Boder

You were not from Poland?

Malka Johles

(Silent)

David Boder

You are not in Poland....

Malka Johles

I was born in Poland. Because was Polish. My husband, too.

David Boder

So, so you both were Polish nationals?

Malka Johles

Yes, yes. Only, my hus..., my passport was taken away in Vienna.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

When Hitler came and my husband still had his pass, he extended it before Hitler came, he still...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Could identify himself, that he, err, err...

David Boder

And the Polish supported you then?

Malka Johles

Supported us, yes. Until March '43.

David Boder

Yes. And then? What happened then?

Malka Johles

Then, err, in March '43, there was big trouble, my boy came into a Zionist home near Geneva. And for me, my child and for my husband, they did pay, but it was very, very difficult. One month.

David Boder

And you lived in a private house?

Malka Johles

Then I did, first I lived...until February '43, I lived in a hotel and then I was, I had to take a furnished apartment.

David Boder

Well?

Malka Johles

Not an empty apartment. We rented a furnished apartment...

David Boder

Unfurnished?

Malka Johles

Furnished.

David Boder

Furnished.

Malka Johles

Only furnished apartments. Yes.

David Boder

Were there any apartments to rent? There were so many people there!

Malka Johles

There were...were maybe, err... In each alley, there were maybe, err, fifty, sixty apartments to rent!

David Boder

Why were there...?

Malka Johles

In each alley!

David Boder

How is it possible that there were none...?

Malka Johles

Well, now there are none to rent. Now, unfortunately, I live in a furnished apartment. Also furnished.

David Boder

I see. And then?

Malka Johles

Then, in March they still paid. In April they said that only my husband....that my husband could no longer be supported. Just me, because I was diagnosed by the doctor that I was sick...by a Polish doctor.

David Boder

But your husband was also sick...

Malka Johles

My husband, they said, they could not pay anymore. The Zurich Committee did that for my husband. And me and my child were supported by the Polish Consulate. Until August, err, August '43.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

On August 20th '43 I received a note that I had to go to the camp, to [unintelligible]. That is high up in the mountains, on 1400 meter.

David Boder

Hmm....with the child.

Malka Johles

Near Montreux. With my child and my husband was in the labor camp. Here [unintelligible]. It is near St. Moritz.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Not that, the other St. Moritz.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Do you know the area? No?

David Boder

[unintelligible]

Malka Johles

My husband was there in a labor camp.

David Boder

And what did you do there?

Malka Johles

My husband had to...in the, at the, in the soil...take out, the, the, all these things....the, what do you call them, the....the roots....

David Boder

The trees?

Malka Johles

The trees...yes.

David Boder

The roots of the trees.

Malka Johles

Yes, yes. And I was there from August 21st until November twenty.....until November 17th. In [unintelligible].

David Boder

And then?

Malka Johles

Then I was admitted to the hospital.

David Boder

Why?

Malka Johles

Me? I was, err, three weeks in the gynecological....ward.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

MaternitÃ. And then I, I, err, also had surgery done. Just a small one, a female thing.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And then on December 18th, I had surgery done on the goiter and I was in the hospital until January 12th '44.

David Boder

Who did the goiter surgery?

Malka Johles

The goiter?

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Err, I don't know, how it, how he, err...

David Boder

Didn't you know...

Malka Johles

[unintelligible] he was called, I think Fischer something...not the professor. I had asked for a professor. They said they also had other doctors, not only....

David Boder

Yes, but they did a very good job, didn't they?

Malka Johles

Very good, yes.

David Boder

She is... was operated from a [unintelligible] And, err, there is hardly a scar to be noticed. Hardly. It is a wonderful suture. And, err, one absolutely must search for it, must search for the scar to identify it. (English in original) Well?, Err, and then where...go on.

Malka Johles

I was there for a month.

David Boder

And where was the boy?

Malka Johles

My boy was in Roberto, near Geneva in the Zionist home.

David Boder

In the Zionist home.

Malka Johles

Yes. Third year.

David Boder

And what did he do there?

Malka Johles

He studied and.. school...then...

David Boder

What?

Malka Johles

He was...err...

David Boder

Did he receive any training?

Malka Johles

Only later on.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

In, err, there in Geneva.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

In the ORT

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Yes. He started in March, err, '44. A year later.

David Boder

A year later. What did you stud.....

Malka Johles

[unintelligible]

David Boder

[unintelligible]

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

And, err, was he, where is the boy now?

Malka Johles

The boy is now in, err, near Tel Aviv.

David Boder

The boy is now near Tel Aviv. Did he go legal....

Malka Johles

Left last year.

David Boder

Did he get there legally....?

Malka Johles

Legally. And very happy about. With the Aliyah.

David Boder

From where? From [unintelligible, sounds like "Paschem"; a place name]?

Malka Johles

[Unintelligible, sounds like "Werzua"; a place name.]

David Boder

From Werzua [?], with the Youth Aliyah, did you...

Malka Johles

Yes, on May 28th...

David Boder

And what does he do in Palestine?

Malka Johles

Well, Kibbutz...

David Boder

Err, has he been working there for a long time?

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

Speak up.

Malka Johles

He works with flowers, he does.

David Boder

Yes, but tell me, what training did he get at the ORT?

Malka Johles

Training, err, locksmith.

David Boder

But he doesn't work as a locksmith in Palestine.

Malka Johles

Err, err, he was promised that he could now work in Opania. Maybe in a locksmith's shop.

David Boder

So, in, err, in a locksmith's shop.

Malka Johles

Yes, Opania near Tel Aviv.

David Boder

And, err, does he earn his own living?

Malka Johles

No, no. He is in a Kibbutz.

David Boder

A Kibbutz. What is that?

Malka Johles

He lives there, it is a kind of a , a, home, like...

David Boder

A cooperative.

Malka Johles

Like a cooperative. He's, err, provided for there.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

He eats there and sleeps there and has his meals and, and he studies...

David Boder

Yes. Well? What do you want to do?

Malka Johles

I want to go to America. Because...

David Boder

You don't want to go to Palestine?

Malka Johles

I have no chances now. Now there is no chance. I did want to go to Palestine.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

But unfortunately...

David Boder

And, and, what are you teaching yourself now?

Malka Johles

Also there, in the, in the ...ORT

David Boder

Here in the ORT and you are taking, learning knitting.

Malka Johles

Knitting, my husband, too.

David Boder

Your husband, too.

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

Learn knitting.

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

And how are you providing for yourself?

Malka Johles

We're now getting help from the committee.

David Boder

Which one? The Jewish one?

Malka Johles

From the Jewish Committee.

David Boder

Is it enough to live?

Malka Johles

Well...

David Boder

You have to make ends meet.

Malka Johles

It's better, than, than in the camp, right?

David Boder

Better than in the camp.

Malka Johles

In the camp...because I think, times are different now. Where people, at another place [unintelligible]...Now I would like something different, not that we are in the camp anymore...

David Boder

What do you mean, [unintelligible]?

Malka Johles

People see a, people see a different picture now. Not, not, not, err, life in a camp anymore.

David Boder

Yes. And people also want to...

Malka Johles

Not live in the camp.

David Boder

And people also want for themselves...what?

Malka Johles

They would like to learn a trade, something that they just have going for themselves, when they'll go to America or somewhere..

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

It's very handy, no?

David Boder

Well, err, tell me, how is your husband's health now?

Malka Johles

Thank you. He is alright.

David Boder

So, the surgery helped him.

Malka Johles

Yes, yes.

David Boder

Speak up, please.

Malka Johles

The surgery helped him.

David Boder

He had surgery done in France.

Malka Johles

France, in Saint-Julien, yes. On August 24th.

David Boder

And did he have to pay for the surgery?

Malka Johles

No, he was [unintelligible]. That is, he had, err...

David Boder

[unintelligible]

Malka Johles

He was in the labor camp, you see!

David Boder

He was in the labor camp.

Malka Johles

The insurance paid that. The prefectia.

David Boder

Well, is there anything, what you, err, what you want to say?

Malka Johles

(Silence)

David Boder

How, err, tell me, you've had your affidavit since how long?

Malka Johles

Already in Vienna we had an affidavit, in Lyon we ha...had a visa approval. In '42, in August. And now in October I also got from Washington, err...in October, err, '45, I got...from Washington, a visa approved.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

So my husband's sister writes. If we can't get preferred treatment. Because we already...in October...last years...got the, the, the...visa approved. If we couldn't be favored in any way. With the quota and all.

David Boder

Your sister wrote that?

Malka Johles

Yes, the sister of my husband.

David Boder

[unintelligible]

Malka Johles

It's because we have it, we...I have the approval in writing. From Washington.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And now we just received the visa approval from Zurich in May.

David Boder

And now?

Malka Johles

But that...My brother-in-law says, why...why, err, that we don't, err, care about it in Zurich. If we couldn't be favored. With the quota. Because we already got an approval last year from Washington.

David Boder

Where is your, err....

Malka Johles

My husband's sister?

David Boder

Yes, where is she?

Malka Johles

In New York. I'll give you...I don't know, I don't have...

David Boder

You will write down the address for me later.

Malka Johles

I have all addresses.

David Boder

And what does your Consul say about this?

Malka Johles

The Consul says that, that I got ...from Washington last year. I sent that in. And then he scream...he says that that was a mistake by the issuers of the affidavit. Instead of having it sent to Zurich last year, he sent it to Washington. It does not work like that.

David Boder

I see. And, err...

Malka Johles

They, err...they can't favor anybody.

David Boder

And now did he send it in to Zurich?

Malka Johles

Yes, we already did...

David Boder

And what did he say, the [unintelligible]...

Malka Johles

The visa approval, we already received it in May. Last week they wrote us, they confirmed that we had sent it in, err...in May. Pictures, documents and everything. Only last week, after four months, they confirm that they have received it, and if I was to come in, err...immediately, they would, err...we would be taken care of. The papers are all good.

David Boder

Yes, I think they might be a bit slow, because there aren't any ships out there yet.

Malka Johles

There are ships alright. If only the quota would...

David Boder

Well, that is why they keep...

Malka Johles

We would already look for...

David Boder

Well, they keep the quota small, because they don't have any ships yet, for example...

Malka Johles

I don't know about that, but in any case...

David Boder

You don't know that...Err, did the consul think...[unintelligible]...

Malka Johles

Last year we had prospect to go to Palestine and to America. And now, unfortunately, we, we cannot wait that long, until we get to Palestine.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Not in a lifetime. And so we would, would like to go to America...[unintelligible].

David Boder

Well, but maybe your, err, your people in Boston...

Malka Johles

Alas! They....[unintelligible]

David Boder

And from New York, if they would talk with their senator or with somebody or with the [unintelligible] in charge, who can give you an affidavit?

Malka Johles

He did and my husband's sister did...[unintelligible] give something, too. She wanted us to be ok. So she gave one, too. She is a refugee, herself. Just left Brussels.

David Boder

To go to America.

Malka Johles

To go to America. From Brussels [unintelligible]...

David Boder

Is she by herself or is she...

Malka Johles

She did....by the name ...[unintelligible]...Johles...[unintelligible]...No, and...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

She has two children, so...

David Boder

I see.

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

Well, I think...

Malka Johles

My husband complains that...that...

David Boder

With so many people who can do something for you, it'll happen really quickly. One morning you'll get it and then you will have to leave in, err, one week or two, go. When...

Malka Johles

Well one does...how do you say, when something takes that long, it's almost like cancer...[unintelligible]. That is like, still and still....and now one is pestered with this everyday...

David Boder

Err, do you have a furnished apartment now?

Malka Johles

Yes, unfortunately.

David Boder

Why, unfortunately?

Malka Johles

Unfortunately, because I don't know, she comes home on Saturday...the lady...if she couldn't bring me her kid...

David Boder

Oh, that's it. The Lady left and you have to....

Malka Johles

Left...No, she is, err, she works in some kitchens on the, on the countryside. Now she has told me already in advance that she will need it [the apartment] for a friend. She is coming from Germany and...well. So, I don't know if it is not...

David Boder

What are you paying for the apartment?

Malka Johles

I'm paying 75 francs.

David Boder

75 francs monthly?

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

But that is...

Malka Johles

It's a narrow, err, like that, maybe even more narrow and smaller.

David Boder

One room.

Malka Johles

With a window. With shared kitchen.

David Boder

I see and with [unintelligible]...

Malka Johles

Yes, yes.

David Boder

When do you have time to cook, when you are here...[unintelligible]...

Malka Johles

I only work in the afternoons. I have a child. I have a child, after all!

David Boder

Oh, you only work in the afternoons. Where is the little one?

Malka Johles

My little one will come back tomorrow. From...

David Boder

Where is she?

Malka Johles

Near Zurich, with my husband's sister. She lives on the countryside. Also [unintelligible]...but she lives near [unintelligible]...

David Boder

How did your husband's sister get to, err, Switzerland?

Malka Johles

Also, err, at the same time like we did, together with us.

David Boder

She crossed the border together with you...

Malka Johles

Yes, we had to endure a lot on the border. But, err, thanks be to God, it went, err...the main thing is we made it. But on the way here, we had a mishap.

David Boder

What happened?

Malka Johles

It happened...oh God! Err, long...[unintelligible].

David Boder

Well, what happened then...

Malka Johles

We rented an ambulance...car in Annecy...

David Boder

Who [unintelligible]?

Malka Johles

Yes. To, to the...guide.

David Boder

Wait a minute...

Malka Johles

To the guide.

David Boder

One moment please.

Malka Johles

So that we didn't have to ride the autobus.

David Boder

Wait a minute please.

Malka Johles

Yes. So that we didn't need the autobus...[unintelligible]. It was too dangerous to ride the public autobus.

David Boder

...Wait a minute.

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

(Silence)

Malka Johles

One can't possibly...much to tell, my good man.

David Boder

Why not?

Malka Johles

Alas, there is so much to tell.

David Boder

Yes, what do you want them to know?

Malka Johles

[unintelligible]

David Boder

Well, you see, if you don't tell that, then people think, yes, oh my God! People live there, they are supported, what do they...[unintelligible]

Malka Johles

There. [unintelligible] should they experience, [unintelligible] what it's like to sit on, on boxes...

David Boder

[In English] This is Spool 90, Mrs. Malka Johles continues.

David Boder

[In German] So tell me, I wanted to know, you said earlier...when you crossed the border...

Malka Johles

Yes. We came to Annecy.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

That is already close to the border. And we were told...we were very afraid to get on the public bus.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

They said that it was dangerous.

David Boder

And how did you get to, err, the, err...what was the town called, where you were?

Malka Johles

Annecy.

David Boder

And how did you get to Annecy?

Malka Johles

Annecy. My husband had the confirmation, after all.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

They...they [unintelligible] told him...he said, err, then, err, if somebody had asked him, he would have said, he's on his way to the hospital to change the bandages...

David Boder

Yes. And you were...

Malka Johles

[unintelligible]. Yes, and I would have... I went with my husband to accompany him.

David Boder

And the children.

Malka Johles

And the children. But...

David Boder

And who else? Whose sister?

Malka Johles

My husband's sister.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

With one child.

David Boder

And she is now in Switzerland.

Malka Johles

She is now in Switzerland, near Zurich.

David Boder

So you all drove, six people and one...

Malka Johles

The family that was sent back.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

No. And you drove...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And we had, err, that, err...the French paper.

David Boder

The other family?

Malka Johles

The other family.

David Boder

Yes, and then?

Malka Johles

I didn't have anything. Only my husband had the...

David Boder

His papers...

Malka Johles

Confirmation, papers, that he...that he had had surgery at the hospital and was now, err, on sick leave for a month...Had he...should he have ridden [unintelligible] public bus or something? He said, that he..err...

David Boder

And how did you go? By bus?

Malka Johles

No, we took the train.

David Boder

The train.

Malka Johles

To Annecy.

David Boder

How many hours did that take?

Malka Johles

It took, I think...four hours.

David Boder

Well?

Malka Johles

In Annecy my husband drove to the guide...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Got on the bus...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

With the little girl.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

To the guide. We had a guide who was our... [unintelligible] for a few days.

David Boder

Oh, you had a guide, who...

Malka Johles

My husband said...

David Boder

A "travel guide"...

Malka Johles

A...yes. Err, my husband said that he is not afraid, because it...where the guide is, is not far away from St. Julien.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

If they wanted to...had he been controlled, he says, he is going...

David Boder

To St. Julien.

Malka Johles

To St. Julien. To the hospital. We were afraid and for four days we were in Annecy. Hid in a hotel.

David Boder

In Annecy?

Malka Johles

Annecy.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

It's not far from Annemasse, from the border. And so we didn't know what to do. The family, that was sent back, had a relative in Annecy. And he sent us, err...somebody, and he recommended that they should give us an ambulance car.

David Boder

I see! An ambulance.

Malka Johles

That is, a doctor, an ambulance. And, first drove...the family that was sent back. With the son...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And the man.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Err, three people. I, with my sister-in-law...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And with the child, stayed behind.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

When, when, err, there in the hospital...And we waited âtil the car came...

David Boder

Back.

Malka Johles

Back. My boy...my boy...

David Boder

How much time did... [unintelligible]

Malka Johles

Got on the bus and also rode to the guide. He said, he...he won't stay in the hotel in Annecy, he is not afraid none. He speaks French perfectly and...right...so...he arrived at my husband's, at the guide's. There we...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Err...

David Boder

Did you meet each other...

Malka Johles

We had to wait there, after all...

David Boder

[unintelligible]

Malka Johles

And my boy got there and tells my husband: why didn't you, why didn't you bring Mama with you? And the aunt? Then he says: they were afraid. And by chance! They didn't check on the bus.

David Boder

Hmm.

Malka Johles

Well...good so. So, we paid for the ambu...for the ambulance...You understand?

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And, they went first. The, err...the family...

David Boder

The other family.

Malka Johles

The other family. And we are already waiting. Thank God! So, we...oh! With the first, ...err...first batch, the guide came to Annecy, too.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

To pick us up. And he went with this family.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

He sat on the passenger's seat, next to the driver. And we waited. The driver already knew...where he needs to...where he would drop the people.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

That they have to come to us. And when he came, right on time...back. And we got on and we also drove with the ambulance.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

To the guide.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And then [unintelligible]...he was supposed to lead us across. He was Swiss. And he lived in France. He knew the paths, the woods and everything. So, he, a poor guy with five or six children. All of a sudden, the car...the car, the ambulance stops. My husband gets off, says: kids, don't be scared. Something happened.

David Boder

What happened?

Malka Johles

(Pause) Don't be scared. We're going in. Get out. We're getting in... there are, err, fifteen...policemen. With the guide in his apartment.

David Boder

And then?

Malka Johles

It was like this...The bus, err...the policemen arrived earlier and wanted to go to St. Julien...this route...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And the bus was delayed. And the, the policemen ...the policemen noticed that we got off at the guide's house. Who are these people?

David Boder

Off the ambulance.

Malka Johles

Off the ambulance! So they came in. The boy runs outside, the, err...the twenty-three year old, runs outside, err... and hides on a tree. The woman went inside again, but couldn't get in anymore... My husband went outside with the [unintelligible]...with the boy on the roof. Then they said, if we're not coming out right away, they'll shoot. So, the woman...

David Boder

They were French policemen?

Malka Johles

French, yes. And the one policeman...that was a mishap! That just then the bus was late and they were waiting on the bus stop and noticed that something was going on there... So people started to cry. All six children of the passeur [sumuggler]...my husband cried, yes. And the guy had to come off the tree...

David Boder

Who? The... your son?

Malka Johles

The other boy. No, not, err...the, the, err. Boy.

David Boder

[unintelligible]...from the, from the other...

Malka Johles

From the other family. Yes. Who went first. He began to cry...The woman is, err...passed out. So we started to help her...But she had a son in Zurich, who knows... in Tunis...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

The, the one family...So she showed him, err...the Moroccan, a French soldier. She took out...showed...for the soldiers to see...my son is also a French soldier. And the man here, he' sick...with a ca...a car. Then she [unintelligible]...bought...They said...

David Boder

The policemen...

Malka Johles

The policemen...Took everything from us, everything we had.

David Boder

Everything one owned [unintelligible]...

Malka Johles

Yes. And tasteless...everything was given to them. Or else they would have...

David Boder

What did you give away?

Malka Johles

The watches, whatever we had. The, the, err [unintelligible]...had, err, a watch. And the woman. Whatever we had. So then they said...the guide said, there is another group coming...

David Boder

Yes, yes.

Malka Johles

Us! So they said, don't be scared and they, err...they wished us a good, good...

David Boder

Journey.

Malka Johles

Journey. And they saluted us. The, the one guy said, that it's hard for his mother. We thought, they would go away and report us...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

But they said, you needn't be afraid. You can stay here until night time, because you can't cross the border during the day.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And I was already afraid of staying with the guide.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

You understand, no? Maybe they'll go outside and, and, err, send another one, err, another policeman. But the one guy said, swore by his mother, that he wouldn't do that. He'd do nothing. We could sit in peace until night. Until it's midnight, then we could go. And the guide began also....Because he was, err, Swiss. And he lived in France. They...would have arrested him. Him, too.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

But the guy said: No, he won't do anything to us. And he left us. Do you understand me?

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And then we should cross over. On the way there, we saw nobody. So, we...

David Boder

How did [unintelligible]...Which way...How long did it take you?

Malka Johles

Which way...well, four hours....or five hours.

David Boder

It took four hours!

Malka Johles

Oh yes! With rain and...

David Boder

So, it was really on this one way...

Malka Johles

My husband after his surgery...of course...My husband after his surgery, yes...

David Boder

Your husband's hernia was operated on.

Malka Johles

After the surgery. That had been only, err...one month ago.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Not even one month. On the 22nd we left, it was....[unintelligible]...the same day, after ...[unintelligible].

David Boder

And he...as soon as you had crossed over...[unintelligible]...

Malka Johles

Yes. We had...we came secretly...didn't see anything.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Then...we didn't even know, if we were already on Swiss soil. My husband had a little lamp, a lamp. We were lost for a while. And then we finally....The guide wasn't allowed to cross the Swi..., err, French border. Or else they would arrest...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Would have....As a Swiss man, he can't go back to Switzerland, when he lives in France...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

He showed us...so we crossed over the water and he explained a little bit to us...filled us in a little bit...

David Boder

Hmmm.

Malka Johles

Of course, once we took a path that would have brought us straight to the Gestapo...We would have come straight to the French...

David Boder

Well and then? How did you...

Malka Johles

My husband said, we won't go down...we'll go up!

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

So we went up...and...indeed, we came...We could already see...a, a, a, French sign....

David Boder

A ....err, err, Swiss!

Malka Johles

Yes, a Swiss sign! Then we saw a lit apartment.

David Boder

Hmm...

Malka Johles

Light. We rang the doorbell. And out came a man...he says, come in, he says... you are already on the Swiss side. I leave my light on, on purpose, so that, when people come across the border, they can come in. We went in, he [unintelligible]...took out clothes, they were all wet, he prepared a hot bath, gave us coffee and everything. Of course, he dried the clothes a little bit on the stove but in the meantime, he also contacted the police. Some are caught....

David Boder

Why? Why did he do...?

Malka Johles

Err, err, he had to...Some, err..

David Boder

[unintelligible]... Why did he...?

Malka Johles

[unintelligible]...on the, on the way. We were not caught on the way. We had...could even get to Geneva.

David Boder

But, who was this man; that he took you in like that?

Malka Johles

He, a, err, a Swiss man.

David Boder

Just an individual?

Malka Johles

Just an individual. But he had to contact the police right away...

David Boder

Well, that's clear...

Malka Johles

The police came right away...the gentleman on a bike. And he said, we should warm up a little bit more and should calm down a bit more. And he would go with us. So we came to the commissariat. In total maybe twenty minutes. He took everything down that we had, papers and a few coins, everything we had. And...

David Boder

What do you mean by "took"? He wrote it down, no? They didn't take anything from you.

Malka Johles

Yes...and that they...gave it back to us.

David Boder

[unintelligible]

Malka Johles

But, to this one family they said, that they should give all the shaving things. And then, all of a sudden, he said, the family should take it back again.

David Boder

Hmm..

Malka Johles

He said, why, why do you want me to take it again. I'll give it to you, he says, I'm not afraid, no. But he says: no, take all of your money...and he, unfortunately,...

David Boder

Send them back.

Malka Johles

Send them back. Well, you can't imagine!

David Boder

With this family?

Malka Johles

Yes. That is [unintelligible]

David Boder

And then?

Malka Johles

Yes. And us...we were there...

David Boder

But afterwards they...afterwards they did get across.

Malka Johles

Yes. Four times. Four times.

David Boder

Did you meet them?

Malka Johles

Yes, they were with us in Geneva. Yes.

David Boder

I see. And finally they were let through.

Malka Johles

Yes, finally they did get across. So, we came...we were very lucky. Of course, many were caught right on the border. Didn't matter to us. And this...we registered. We went in there for the families...and the families were called...the police and...they picked us up from there, and then we were there and were there for one day...and then...

David Boder

Did you meet the people afterwards? Do you know where, who these people are, that took you in?

Malka Johles

Well, at the commissariat...

David Boder

No, no, the, no, no, the, err, family that, err, that took you in first...

Malka Johles

Yes, I think so. My boy says, he saw him once.

David Boder

Saw him once.

Malka Johles

Yes. I'm not sure, what their exact name is. We came to Geneva and...

David Boder

Well so far...so far you were lucky. So far you...[unintelligible] must have been lucky...

Malka Johles

We were lucky. Yes. [unintelligible]

David Boder

Now, you want your relatives in America to make sure that you...

Malka Johles

Yes, they should do something. I mean...

David Boder

Do you want to give me the name of your sister in Boston? Your sister-in-law?

Malka Johles

Sister-in-law...Rindler: But it's also [unintelligible]. I write down everything in my folder.

David Boder

[unintelligible] you can just give me the name.

Malka Johles

The name, err, Is.., err, Isaak Rindler. My husband's sister, the brother-in-law.

David Boder

The brother-in-law is Isaak Rindler?

Malka Johles

Yes. Rindler.

David Boder

Rindler. R, I, N, D...

Malka Johles

R, I, N, D...

David Boder

N, D.

Malka Johles

Do you want me to write it down?

David Boder

Err, Isaak Rindler.

Malka Johles

Isaak Rindler. He...

David Boder

He lives where? In Boston?

Malka Johles

Err, no, err, he is in New York. Bronx, I am thinking.

David Boder

Rindler.

Malka Johles

Yes, from now....

David Boder

Bronx.

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

New York. What kind of business does he have? Embroidery?

Malka Johles

He has a fur business.

David Boder

Oh! He has a fur business!

Malka Johles

Yes, or compagnon or something...

David Boder

He can be...[unintelligible]...

Malka Johles

[unintelligible]. Write also, the [unintelligible] Weiler.

David Boder

[unintelligible] Weiler.

Malka Johles

Weiler. He's called [unintelligible]. I would be...with [unintelligible]...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Give everything.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Everything.

David Boder

And so he is in New York.

Malka Johles

Yes. He didn't leave till February '40.

David Boder

And whom do you have in Boston?

Malka Johles

In Boston, I have my sister's two, err, two kids. One is called, err, oh yes, her name is Krauthammer...

David Boder

Hammert?

Malka Johles

Her maiden name, she was called Krauthammer. My brother-in-law was called...

David Boder

Krauthammert?

Malka Johles

Krauthammer.

David Boder

Yes, and?

Malka Johles

Two uncles of she live there. Two brothers of my brother-in-law.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

Gerschin and the other one was Krauthammer and the other [unintelligible] my brother-in-law, the brother.

David Boder

Yes, and err, they live well? They make a good living there?

Malka Johles

Who?

David Boder

Your relatives?

Malka Johles

My nieces? I told you, my brother-in-law wrote that my nephew was, err, with him. The whole conversation took only five minutes. And now he has a pattern-cutter, a robe-cutter.

David Boder

A shade...shop...I see, yes.

Malka Johles

Yes. The younger niece. The one, I wedded her in Vienna.

David Boder

I see. The one you wed...in Vienna...

Malka Johles

The one I wedded in Vienna...

David Boder

I see.

Malka Johles

Yes, sir.

David Boder

Well?

Malka Johles

It's all sacred. Her name is, err, Deutsch.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And the other one is called, err, Braun.

David Boder

Braun?

Malka Johles

Braun, yes.

David Boder

Both live in Boston.

Malka Johles

Both in Boston.

David Boder

Will you write down the addresses for me...

Malka Johles

Yes, yes.

David Boder

You see, I can't promise you anything, Mrs. Johles...

Malka Johles

Then there is a man called Greenberg.

David Boder

Who's that?

Malka Johles

He is from, err, of my sister-in-law....my brother's wife was deported...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

A sister. Of my sis...of my sister-in-law's sister.

David Boder

Your brothâ, your brother's wife was deported?

Malka Johles

[unintelligible] only two children, with two children and wife.

David Boder

Where? In the [unintelligible].

Malka Johles

But one sister was in Boston and her uncle. They were deported at, at, at, Toulouse.

David Boder

At Tou...

Malka Johles

They were there the whole time.

David Boder

From Toulouse they were deported?

Malka Johles

From...at Toulouse, at Toulouse. They were not in the camp and they were nowhere. [unintelligible] had a good village. So much bad luck. Didn't want to go to Lyon...they sat there and waited for America.

David Boder

Hmm.

Malka Johles

They have an uncle there, my sister-in-law. His name is Greenberg...

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

In, err, in, err, in Boston.

David Boder

Yes.

Malka Johles

And she also has a sister...My sister-in-law has another sister. In Boston. And she is also called Greenberg.

David Boder

[In English] This concludes, this concludes the interview with Miss Malka Johles...

Malka Johles

Yes.

David Boder

A case of a, err, err, refugee from Vienna to Belgium, from Belgium to, err, France, and finally, err, a refuge to Switzerland, where they have been taken, as, err, treated as victims of the war. And now they are awaiting their, err, umm, trip to the United States. We can say that they have [unintelligible] the Anschluss in 1938. It's now 1846 [1946]. And the story of their suffering and wandering is not yet over. Illinois Institute of Technology wire recording in Geneva, August, the 28, 1946.