Ernie Eick

"I can't believe that human beings can kill other human beings."

Name at birth
Ernst Eick
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Shanghai, China
Name of father, occupation
Max Eick, Factory worker
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Edith Bloch, Seamstress, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and me, I was an only child
How many in entire extended family?
Who survived the Holocaust?
Those who went to Shanghai: me, my mother, my father, aunt, uncle and cousin
In 1939 my parents fled with me to Shanghai, China when I was 2 years old. We lived amongst the people in Shanghai for approximately two years before we were put into the Wayside Camp in 1941.  It appeared to be a large former school.  We lived with four other families in a tiny room.  The conditions were unbearable.  There was little food.  The Japanese allowed the children to leave.  I was placed with a Russian Jewish family who took care of me for six months. I was then reunited with my parents. I lived in Shanghai until I was 11.  I was taught a British form of English toward the end of the war from my German school teachers. 

My father couldn’t adjust to life in the ghetto.  My father just “lost it”. He also contracted tuberculosis.  My parents got divorced and in 1946 my mother remarried Albert Rosenberg in Shanghai.  Albert’s wife had passed away in the Shanghai ghetto from cancer.  They had one son together who was ten years older than me.  In 1945 we learned what was happening in Germany when lists of people who had perished were posted in Shanghai.  My mother saw her sister and mother on the list.  She couldn’t believe that a G-d would ever allow this to happen.  She didn’t believe in G-d and I, to this day, do not either.  

My last memory of my father took place in Shanghai where he gave me a bible.  My father went to Israel because that was the only place that would take a person with tuberculosis.  My father died in Israel four years later.
Name of Ghetto(s)
Where did you go after being liberated?
First to San Francisco for two months and then to Detroit
When did you come to the United States?
How is it that you came to Michigan?
My step-father’s cousin from Michigan sponsored me, my mother, step-father, and step-brother
Occupation after the war
When and where were you married?
In 1959 in Detroit to Joanne Atlas. I had four children with her. In 1972 I married Rochelle Hall in Detroit. Rochelle had daughter at the time. Rochelle and I had one son together.
Rochelle, School Teacher
Michelle Tandowsky, homemaker; Stephanie Eick, coordinator; Suzanne Schwartz, nurse; Joshua Eick, teacher; Amy Gottliffe, works at Oakland Zoo; Gordon Eick, film industry
Six grandchildren: Ethan, Jordan, Noah, Cynthia, Lexy, and Jessie
What do you think helped you to survive?
In 1939. I was 2 years old. My parents fled with me to Shanghai. MY MOTHER. She was a very strong woman. I was very close with her.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
I can't believe that human beings can kill other human beings.
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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