Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Michel Margosis

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:07 - Fleeing from Brussels

Play segment

Partial Transcript: My name is Michel Margosis.

Segment Synopsis: Margosis explains that after the invasion of his hometown of Brussels, Belgium in May 1940, his family tried unsuccessfully to arrange an escape to England. Instead, he says, they took a train to the nearby Mons, France, but their arrival was delayed by frequent bombings. They experienced similar dangers on their subsequent train ride to Toulouse, France. He explains that his family had Persian citizenship, though his parents emigrated from Russia. He describes the four months they spent hiding on a farm near Toulouse.

[[Technical difficulties at 6:00 interrupt the interview for one minute.]]
[[Due to technical issues in recording, the audio after 7:00 frequently skips several seconds.]]

Keywords: England; Farms; Hiding; Lisbon (Portugal); Toulouse (France)

Subjects: Bombing, Aerial.; Brussels (Belgium); Jewish refugees.; Mons (France); Railroad trains.

GPS: Brussels (Belgium)
Map Coordinates: 50.850, 4.350
00:09:43 - Their move to Marseille

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I think about four months, and then my mother decided that we had to something, we had to get moving.

Segment Synopsis: Margosis explains that after four months on a farm near Toulouse, France, his mother decided that the family should keep moving. After their arrival in Marseille, France, he says, his family lived in the slums and tried once again unsuccessfully to arrange an escape to England. In 1942, he explains, the Germans took control of all of France, after which Margosis' family fled Marseille. He indicates that he picked up French easily, but his mother had to pretend to be mute. He describes their family's trip in November 1942 over the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain escorted by hired gendarmes (French national police).

[[Due to technical issues in recording, the audio in this segment frequently skips several seconds.]]

Keywords: Barcelona (Spain); Food; French; Gendarmes; Pyrenees Mountains

Subjects: Jewish refugees.; Languages.; Marseille (France); Slums.; Vichy (France)

GPS: Marseille (France)
Map Coordinates: 43.296, 5.370
00:20:17 - Attempts to leave Spain

Play segment

Partial Transcript: --cops had left us, and, uh, there was, there was another guide to take us, a Spanish guide, to take us to Barcelona.

Segment Synopsis: Margosis explains that after his family's arrival in Barcelona, they came under suspicion because of their papers, and were then arrested. He was sent to an orphanage, and his brother was sent to Miranda de Ebro concentration camp. He describes the clergy who ran the orphanage. His family was eventually reunited, and they stayed in Caldes de Malavella, Spain and then Barcelona, Spain supported by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). In June 1943, he was taken to the United States as part of the group of child refugees now known as the One Thousand Children (OTC). His brother and sister subsequently moved to Palestine, he explains, and his parents in 1946 got permission to enter the United States because of family connections in New York City, New York. He describes his sea voyage to the United States, during which the ship was once stopped by a German U-boat, and he describes where some of the other children he met on the trip ended up.

Keywords: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; Baths; Congo; Lisbon (Portugal); New York City; One Thousand Children; Palestine

Subjects: Barcelona (Spain); Caldes de Malavella (Spain); Jewish refugees.; Miranda de Ebro (Concentration camp)

GPS: Barcelona (Spain)
Map Coordinates: 41.383, 2.183
00:35:59 - His life in the United States

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Finally, I came here and I went to school. I went to high school. My parents came here in mid-1946.

Segment Synopsis: Margosis describes his sister's marriage to a Spanish man whom she met on the way to Palestine. He explains that she moved to the United States with her family in 1950, and his brother moved while Margosis was serving in the Korean War. He explains that he had another sister who died in infancy in Belgium.

[[Due to technical issues in recording, the audio skips several seconds at 41:54.]]

Keywords: Haganah; Kibbutz; Marriage; Palestine; Sisters

Subjects: Jewish refugees.; Korean War, 1950-1953.; United States.

00:41:55 - His most frightening experiences

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Like, were you--was it--what was it like for you? Was it like an adventure for you because you were young, or were you scared?

Segment Synopsis: Margosis describes the most frightening experience that he remembers: hiding from the German soldiers as a child while plotting against the Nazis with his companions. He describes another experience, swimming to the Chateau d'If off of the coast of Marseille, France. He indicates that his sister worked in Marseille.

[[Due to technical issues in recording, the interview ends abruptly at 47:44.]]

Keywords: Children; Château d'If; Fear; Nazis; Sisters

Subjects: Château d'If (France); Marseille (France); Work.