Starting Out in Atlanta

Hebrew Immigration Aide Society

"As a good European male chauvinist, I’m not going to start my life in America having a woman pay for my food."

"H-I-A-S, which is the Hebrew Immigration Aide Society, used to help immigrants that come to the United States to acclimate themselves. [They] provided the bonding for us to come to America to guarantee that we will not become charge of the American government... And they start to speak to us in Yiddish, which is the language of the Jews, you know, the jargon. They assumed that because they knew the others that came in, they didn’t speak English. So they start speaking to us in Yiddish, and we said to them, “Don’t bother yourself. We both speak English. It’s okay.” So they were so elated that they could converse with us in English, they took us for lunch. And I remember what I had for lunch. I had date nut bread, you know, bread with raisins in it, cream cheese, tea and milk. And when the check came in--. I came to the United States with $15.00 in my pocket that a friend of mine gave me. I spent one dollar over at the Birmingham, Alabama when we were on the train that I brought breakfast for the other girl and myself. So I had $14.00 left, but I grabbed the check. Okay. But I said, 'No, no. We have funds for it.' I says, 'As a good European male chauvinist,' I says, 'I’m not going to start my life in America having a woman pay for my food.' [Laughs] And I paid for the breakfast.

And they told me I was going to live in a house where there are four other families of newcomers. And they took me to the house on the corner of 11th, corner of 11th and Peachtree. And I went up to the second floor, and the woman, the housewife opened the door. When she saw me she fainted [pause]. She was from my hometown. She was a friend of mine. After the war they lived in the same displaced person camp that my father did. Her husband was a close friend of my father. So when she-. She knew somebody was coming, but she didn’t know the name. So I lived with them. She took good care of me. I gained twenty pounds in four weeks."