Simon Kalmas (Shimon Yosef Kalmus) Interview
The University of Michigan-Dearborn Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive
Jewish HolocaustWorld War IIWorld War TwoWorld War 2WWIIJewish GhettoForced LaborConcentration Camp InmatesShoahWW2Nazi Holocaust of the Jews
An interview with Simon J. Kalmas (Shimon Yosef Kalmus), a Holocaust survivor, conducted by Arthur Kirsch. Simon Kalmas was born in Drobin, Poland in 1915. As a boy he learned the trade of tinsmithing. After the German invasion of Poland, Simon and the men of his town were taken and held in another city for five days before being returned home and told to move into the Drobin ghetto; later moving to the Neustadt Oberschlesien ghetto. Simon had the chance to escape to Russia but chose to stay with his family in Poland. The family remained together until 1942 when they were deported to Auschwitz. Simon was chosen for work in the coal mines of IG Farben Industry before being selected for his tinsmithing skills to repair the roofs of bombarded barracks from 1944 until 1945. After that, Simon was forced to march to Gleiwitz in a snowstorm to catch a transport train to Buchenwald where he was liberated. Simon moved to Nashville, Tennessee in April 1949 but moved permanently to Detroit in January 1950 because of the racism he saw happening against African Americans in the South.
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