Survivor STORY

Barry (Berek) grew up in Pabianice, Poland. He and his family were forced first into the ghetto in his hometown, and his mother was deported when the Pabianice ghetto was liquidated. Barry never saw her again. Barry, his father and sister were forced to move into the Lodz ghetto after the Nazi occupation of Poland. His sister was taken to a forced labor camp and did not survive the war. From Lodz, where Barry was a fireman, he and his father were deported, to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where his father was murdered. From there, he was taken Germany, where he was worked as a slave laborer. Barry was liberated from the Neungamme labor camp.

After the war, Barry was taken to Sweden to recuperate, where he married his wife, Magda. In 1955, Barry and his wife decided to emigrate to America, where Barry had relatives and where they believed they would be able to raise their daughter in a more Jewish environment. The Joint assisted Barry in finding employment in the textile industry in New Jersey, where their second daughter was born.

After his wife's death, Barry moved to Atlanta to be near his elder daughter, Esther, and her family. Barry is an accomplished artist.

Life and Survival in Europe

I have good memories from Sweden, because they helped me a lot in Sweden. When we came to Sweden, you know, we came with nothing, actually. Sweden took us to the store and dressed us from top to bottom; we got everything. And that's, and after that, I was in, like, a recovery home. I got better, so I signed up I want to work. So, they sent me to work in my field. I was in textiles. So, they got me a job and I worked there. I stayed there nine years. I married there in Sweden too. And one daughter was born in Sweden. And then, I had a family in United States, so I just wanted to see my family. So I said to my wife, "Well, let's try to go to family." My wife didn't want to go. She wanted to stay there, but I said, "No, we have family there, I want to see my family." So we signed up to go to United States, so we came to the United States.

Making a Living

Yeah, was a little hard from beginning, because really didn't know language, how to speak. But, I got a job. From beginning, we went to the, like, community center. Teaching us something, you know, with a room or something, where to live. We do the best that we can. So, little by little we got established. And I got work, got work in textiles, you know, and she was a dressmaker. She took in, like, some alterations and things like this that people needed. So, we built us up here, little by little. So, we made enough money, bought a house in New Jersey, …We raised our children, and that's it.

Talking About the Holocaust

I don't know, I never had it, to ask. I mean, nobody asked me about it. But when we, I used to live in New Jersey, so I had a, like, friends. We all were survivors, so we came together, like a Saturday or Sunday. Sometimes we play cards, sometimes we just talking, what happened. That's the only place, I used to... got my friends, to talk about it, the Holocaust. Here no, I never had it here, somebody, because most of the people Americans here. I don't know if I met somebody, is Holocaust survivor here. If I met, we never talk about it.

Barry Kamelgarn