Ben Fisk

"Never Forget!"

Name at birth
Berek Fiszlinkski
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Sosnowiec, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Shalom, Dairy farmer
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Yentl Sheinfeld, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and seven children: Dovid, Moishe, Leah, Karl, Reizel, Ruchela and myself.
How many in entire extended family?
Who survived the Holocaust?
Dovid, Ruchela and myself
All the Jews of Sosnowiec were ordered to go to a stadium.  The Germans threatened that if anyone stayed behind, they would be shot.  A large selection took place.  My sister Ruchela, my brother Dovid (former foreman for a German factory in Sosnowiec) with his wife and two children, and myself were spared.
The Germans took everybody else to the train station to be transported to Auschwitz.  My sister Ruchel and I went back to our home.  Six months later Ruchel, Dovid with his family, and I were ordered to move into the Shrodulah Ghetto.  
At Seckenheim, I worked cutting down trees in the forest and later did carpentry work. I had been my brother Dovid’s apprentice.
Karl ran away to Russia.  Moishe with his wife and two children went into hiding with a Polish family.  When their money ran out, the Polish woman said she was going to turn them in to the Gestapo.  Moishe went into the woods to get away, his wife Sonia went the other way with one child, and one of children had died in the meanwhile.  She went over to the Russians who saved her.
My sister and I were hiding in the attic of a bombed out house in the ghetto.  My sister-in-law came, and said, “They’re going to send your brother, Dovid (her husband) to Germany.”  I went in Dovid’s place; I decided to sacrifice my life for my brother’s life.  My brother had a family, I did not.
Dovid survived and moved to Israel after the war.  His wife was sent to a concentration camp where she perished.  Their two children died in the ghetto. 
I was sick with a very badly swollen leg.  I was sent to Buna where there was a hospital.  At Bismarkit, a Gestapo asked me, “Tischler, was ist los? (Carpenter, what’s wrong?) What can I do for you?”  I told him, we knew Russians were coming.  He took a very sick boy off of a transport that was going to Buna and sent me instead.  I asked if he would write a letter that would allow me to come back to Bismarkit after Buna.  The German gave it to the driver.
After the war ended, I went back to Sosnowiec.  I lived in a room with five or six boys in a room.  I had no regular clothes and walked around with my striped uniform. I later met my wife in Sosnowiec.
I wanted to move to Israel but my wife had two brothers in New York. HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society said that New York was overpopulated but were settling immigrants in Oklahoma City.  I asked, “Is it America?”
Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Where were you in hiding?
Attic in Shrodulah ghetto
What DP Camp were you after the war?
Yes, near Landsberg, Germany
Where did you go after being liberated?
Returned to Poland, found no help and no surviving family and left
When did you come to the United States?
Where did you settle?
Oklahoma City for eight months, then to Detroit
How is it that you came to Michigan?
I couldn’t make a living as I worked at a job making 60 cents an hour. I knew some guys who were living in Detroit working in a car factory making two or three dollars an hour. We moved to 12th Street in Detroit where most of the Jewish refugees lived.
Occupation after the war
Union Carpenter
When and where were you married?
1946, Landsberg, Germany
Anna Fisk, Homemaker
Milton, storeowner, aquariums; Alan, editor for Detroit News; Judy, special education teacher
What do you think helped you to survive?
Youth, and carpentry skills useful to Germans
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Never Forget!
Biography given by Eldest son, Alan Fisk
Interview date:

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