Avrum Fleish

"The importance of dedication to family and allegiance to the State of Israel."

Name at birth
Avrum Fleish
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Rovno, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Yosef Fleish
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Rachel Prishkulnik, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents, Yosef and Rachel; my two older brothers, Pinchas (pharmacist) and Yakov (assistant store manager), myself Avrum (student and apprentice electrician) and my younger brother, Eliezer (student)
How many in entire extended family?
Large extended family
Who survived the Holocaust?
Avrum (myself) and two cousins
In June 1941, when the Germans invaded Rovno, the whole family fled eastward to Zalenka (about 3-4 km from Tuchin, Ukraine) towards the Russian border. After spending a night at a relative’s farmhouse, Pinchas, Yakov and Avrum departed from their parents and youngest brother to continue eastward heading deeper into the Soviet Union territory through the forest. The rest of the family remained together in the farm village of Zalenka.  
Heading east, together the three brothers crossed the Volga River. They arrived in Kokand, Uzbekistan in September 1941. They lived and worked in the Komsolovsky Dormitory Cotton Factory. Here the eldest brother Pinchas, became ill, was hospitalized and passed away the day after Passover, 1942.  
In August, 1942, the second eldest brother, Yakov was drafted into the Russian Red Army. One month later, in September 1942, Avrum was drafted into the Russian Red Army and was sent to Stalingrad. Here he was wounded during the battle for Stalingrad as he grabbed the rifle bayonet from a German soldier attempting to kill him.
In 1943, Avrum was incarcerated as a political prisoner and sentenced to the Chkalov (now Orenburg) Prison located along the Ural River. In prison, he did electrical work; he was injured and needed to be hospitalized to treat a serious electrical wound.  
In October 1945, at age 20, Avrum was granted an early prison release to leave the Soviet Union as a Polish citizen to return to his homeland in Rovno. For several months he worked and lived on a farm helping a local priest until he regained his strength and weight. He remained in Tashkent from December 1945 until June 1946 when he returned home to Western Ukraine. In Rovno he found that no one from his family had survived after the war.  
Avrum left Rovno and made his way across Europe to a DP camp in Innsbruck, Austria with the intent to immigrate to Israel. There he met his future wife, Fryda Bester. Both Avrum and Fryda belonged to Betar, the Revisionist Zionist organization. They left Austria for Rivioli, Italy and then to the Betar organization in Arona, Italy in preparation to leave for Israel. In Arona, Italy, they were married on Chanukah, 1947 at the Villa Faraggiana located on Lake Maggiore.  
On June 20, 1948, they arrived in Israel abroad the “Altalena” that sailed from Port-de-Bouc, France to Israel. Avrum went directly into the Israeli Army and joined a fighting platoon in the northern Galilee, near the borders of Lebanon and Syria. After he left the army, he worked as a Tel AvivYafo police officer and then as an electrician at Etz Lavud in Petach Tikva .  
Avrum never gave up looking for family and eventually located his father’s brother and sister who were living in Detroit from before WWII.  In 1959, Avrum, his wife and now two children, Joseph and Esther, ages 9 and 3½ respectively, left Israel and moved to Detroit, Michigan.  
Where were you in hiding?
Escaped to Russia
Where were you in the Former Soviet Union?
Kokand, Uzbekistan (Komsolovsky Dormitory Cotton Factory); Chkalov (now Orenburg) Prison located along the Ural River; Tashkent
What DP Camp were you after the war?
Yes in Innsbruck, Austria
When did you come to the United States?
Where did you settle?
Detroit, Michigan.
How is it that you came to Michigan?
My father's brother (Julius Fleish) and sister (Goldie Gold), along with their respective families were living in Detroit from before WWII.
Occupation after the war
In Israel: Tel Aviv-Yafo Police Officer and then an Electrician at Etz Lavud in Petach Tikva. In the United States: Kasle Steel in Dearborn.
When and where were you married?
December 7, 1947 in Arona, Italy
Fryda Fleish (maiden name Bester), Sales Associate at J.L. Hudson
Joseph Fleish and Esther Gold (maiden name Fleish)
Rachel Fleish Asher, David Fleish (children of Joseph); Dayna Gold Elrom, and Allison Gold Klein (children of Esther). Great grandchildren: Ezra Abe Elrom, Eli Gold Elrom, Alexis Izzy Klein.
What do you think helped you to survive?
Faith, strong family upbringing and lots of luck.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
The importance of dedication to family and allegiance to the State of Israel.
Interview place:
Biography given by Fryda Fleish (wife of Avrum Fleish)
Interview date:

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