Melanie Wallis

"Do today what you can, you never know what tomorrow brings."

Name at birth
Melania Weinberger
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Michalany, Czechoslovakia
Name of father, occupation
Eugene Weinberger, Lumber yard owner
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Etta Kreiss, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and my older brother Eugene, me, and my younger sister Eva
How many in entire extended family?
Seven additional members, my maternal aunt and uncle, my maternal grandparents, my paternal uncle and two paternal aunts
Who survived the Holocaust?
My brother Eugene and I - no one else
The Hungarians, the Nazi sympathizers, came and took over Czechoslovakia in 1938.  Life became restricted but was still fairly normal until the Germans came in just after Passover in 1944.  
We were rounded up and put in the Satoraljaujhely ghetto for five to six weeks and then we were sent to Auschwitz.  I arrived in Auschwitz and we were lined up five to a group.  I stayed with my mother and my aunt, but my younger sister was sent to the gas chamber.  
I stayed in Auschwitz until August when sixty women, including my aunt, my mother and I, were sent to Landsberg, a part of Dachau.  Food and conditions were decent there; I considered it heaven compared to the previous hell of Auschwitz.  I worked in the forest labor camp.  There were always air raids as we heard the British were fighting close by.  
Hell returned in the fall of 1944 when we were transported to Bergen-Belsen.  Other camps had already been liberated.  Conditions were hell there.
My mother died one week before liberation on April 8, 1945 from illness due to the horrible living conditions.  I was liberated on April 15, 1945.  My aunt stayed alive for two weeks after liberation and then died from illness.  
I got on a train to Budapest and there I found out that my brother Eugene was still alive!  We reunited and decided to go to Palestine.  A wealthy great-uncle from New York wanted us to come live in the United States.  
We lived in Paris at a French orphanage funded by our uncle until our VISAS for the United States were ready.  When we reached New York in February of 1947, our uncle was in Palm Springs for the winter so we contacted a paternal uncle in Detroit and came to live here.
Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Where did you go after being liberated?
My brother and I joined a Zionist organization to go to Palestine but we ended up in America
When did you come to the United States?
February 2, 1947
Where did you settle?
Detroit, Michigan
How is it that you came to Michigan?
I had an aunt and uncle here
Occupation after the war
When and where were you married?
November 1948 at Adat Shalom
Aaron Wallis , Supermarket owner and then stockbroker
Debra Wallis Landau, journalist; Julie Landau, lives in New Jersey
David Landau
What do you think helped you to survive?
My positive attitude. Today I don’t dwell on things. I have a very high tolerance for pain. My mottos: “This too shall pass” and “I’m fine, I can’t complain because then I’ll have to explain.”
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Do today what you can, you never know what tomorrow brings.
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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