BERNSTEIN: – underground around the area where you were living?
BRAITBERG: There is a very difficult answer to give. This was not spontaneous, it was slow. I had to find out – talk with people and see who is against, who is in work with the Nazis, slowly, slowly you get involved with young people. They – slowly, for example, I had a teacher and he was teaching me – a very good man, a Protestant. He was head of the school, the public school, a small school on the farm. Not on the farm, but in the –
BRAITBERG: In the area. He did not know that I am a Jew, but he liked Jews. Protestants always liked Jews. So, I was with him and we always were talking – instead to take the lesson. He was teaching me French for free. And I gave lessons, music lessons to his son. So very often, we talk about politics and this. And slowly, slowly, I find out that he is in underground because he has contact, because he asked people for information about young people, what they do, because I knew them. And finally, I find out that he took information to see if they can accept them in the underground army and give them a machine gun, because this was very important. They couldn’t give “anybody” a machine gun. So, I had several that I gave information, and finally I find out he was in the underground. He didn’t tell me that, but this was enough for me. And I ask him, very often, information about other people, and he put me in contact with the mayor of the village where I used to live in the castle. What’s his name? I think a lot about him every time I go to France. Big, big, an old man. He was maybe 70 years old. He was against the system. He was a Catholic, very Catholic, but he was against the Nazis and he was talking everywhere – in the street. He said, “Jacques, what if they arrest me? I am 70. They kill me? I will not die young,” he said. So I told him very often, “You don’t talk so much, but you’re gonna do good things.” And he told me that for years, he worked for the underground army, he makes papers, whatever they need. So, once when I became very friendly, he invited me to his house and we became very friendly. We were talking about the organization and he was real involved. And he said to me, “Jacques, I give you all my office. You do what you want.” So he gave me the –
BERNSTEIN: And he gave you all the supplies you needed to make identity.
BRAITBERG: To make identities – his office.
BERNSTEIN: And he showed you how to do it?
BRAITBERG: Right, he showed me.
BERNSTEIN: Now, what kind of identities?
BRAITBERG: I make identity. It was a kind of – you put a picture, the name – you put the name, where you born, how old you are, the date – you copy the picture and this is it. It’s all the French identity.
BERNSTEIN: So you made one for –
BRAITBERG: So first, I take one for me – I had several. I made – I give this boy, Alambic. His father got killed.
BERNSTEIN: Who was Alambic?
BRAITBERG: Alambic, I will tell you. And I gave whoever asked me.
BERNSTEIN: Jews and non-Jews needed identity?
BRAITBERG: Yeah, Jews and non-Jews, I did that. Because, it was a lot of French people, young people, who didn’t want to go. They send them to Germany, so they were hiding also. They didn’t want to go. They forced them to go to work for Germany but they were hiding and they needed also identities, so I give them. So this (NAME OF MAYOR), he helped me a lot and he gave me – I have his office and I have the papers what I needed to make identities. And this was the (NAME OF MAYOR). So, talking about Alambic, was a family not far, about where I used to go. Farther on was a bigger city, about 5,000 people. The name was Ste. Foy la Grande. It was on the crossroads between two departments, la Gironde and la Dordogne. It was separated by a beautiful river. In this city, there were living maybe about 10 Jewish families, coming from during the war because before the war, was only one Jew, from Algeria. He was French, but all the people that were origin from Poland, and they were hiding, living in the city. They were registered in the mairie as Jews.
BERNSTEIN: Registered as Jews?
BRAITBERG: Registered, they registered. And I – very often, I went to them and I said, “You shouldn’t do this because if the German comes here and the collaborators want to arrest you, they know who are, they know where you live, and it would be very easy for them to come take you.” This man, Alambic, was a tailor. He make –
BRAITBERG: Pants. And I went to him often. And he was not very old, a very good man, and I told him, “Don’t do this, don’t do this. Go away.” He said, “What can I do to work, to make a living? I have kids, I have my wife.” So once, was almost in the end – this was 19 – no, this was in about 1943. I don’t know. I think I give him his son, I give him before the identity. I told him to hide. So this was in 1944 and it was a group of French – not Germans at all. Nazis, they went from one village to the other and they looked for Jews, and killed them immediately or tortured them and hang them on the trees and cut them their hands, their nose, their this, terrible. So, Alambic was there. They come in his city and they took eight Jews. Some of them, they were 80 years old, old French people, and some of them younger, and they put them in a school, closed them, tortured them and finally one day, they took them in a meadow and hanged them on the trees alive and tortured them until they died. So, this was Alambic. And the son, I saved him. I gave him the identity. So I didn’t know what to do, so I went to the man that I know. I was in contact with him and he was the president of the collaborators in the whole area, Prudhomme. He said, “If you have a young man who doesn’t have any papers.” So, I didn’t say who is the man. I didn’t say to Alambic. I just told him where is a good place to work. “Don’t talk, be kind, you are smart, and they will good take care of you.”
BERNSTEIN: Did he look Jewish?
BRAITBERG: No. He was a blond, tall boy. If he looked like a Jew, I would have troubles with this. So, I give him the I.D. and I went often over there to ask how he is. He told me he can not be better in there and he said, “Jacques, you give me the best advice. It’s the best work I have, the best work.”
BERNSTEIN: How did you become friends with the head of the Nazi collaborators?
BRAITBERG: How I become friends? Because everybody knew that I am a Pollack and that I was in the French army. This was very good for me, so they respected me more in this little neighborhood, not everybody. If I wasn’t a friend, I was in the French army because I was in the Foreign Legion they knew that I was not a Jew. This is the most important. I didn’t say. They didn’t ask me, but they didn’t –
BRAITBERG: Suspect me at all. So, they were friendly and I was playing music. Very often, with my wife, she was singing and I was playing for public. A lot of people knew me in this neighborhood and I contact this man because I was playing for free for prisoners and for people who they send to Germany, the front. So, they were impressed with me. I contact him – I had so many invitations everywhere, I was invited to the president, to the judge, to everybody, and I knew everybody. So, this man suggested to me once to become a member and I said, “Yes” – why not? I had an I.D., a special I.D., and he gave me a card that saved my life and saved the life of this Alambic. So this Alambic, I lost him. It was the end of 1944, it was a big battle, an underground battle, very active because it was the end of the war. It was – they were hunting for collaborators, the Nazis. Hundreds of thousands of underground army came out, a big army, to chase the Germans out of France. So he became a chief. He was at that time – I don’t know, maybe 18 years old, and he had about 40,000 people under his command in Limoges. And I knew it because after the war, I met somebody, a Jewish corpsman – he was a corpsman in the underground army. And we were talking. We were good friends. We were talking and he tell me what he did, and I tell what we did. And suddenly I talk about Alambic. I told the story like I tell you. “Alambic, Alambic was under my orders!” He said, “He had maybe 40,000 people sent to me to form the armies in Limoges.” So, I find him. And he said, “Yeah, he’s here in Paris.” And I met him in Paris.
BERNSTEIN: He was? And you met him again?
BRAITBERG: Yeah, and this was 1950 – I don’t know. He was a lunk…he was a big boy. We didn’t talk about this, but he knew what I did for him.
BERNSTEIN: I’m sure he did.
BRAITBERG: Yeah. So, I find the mother. The mother was alive, and the sister also. They didn’t kill the mother and the sister. They kill only the father. So now, talking about this reminds me of something. When they killed the eight Jews in this city, Ste. Foy la Grande, so I always was thinking that this was – I wanted to put a monument in the place where they were killed, as a historical monument about what happened in this place. So I, as a former combatant, when France was free already – as a former combatant, I belonged to a group of French combatants. And we had meetings and we had this and this and all kinds of problems. So, once I told them, but I didn’t mention that they were Jews – see, I said, “There is a place here, it’s a shame, that a kind of holocaust,” I said, “eight people were killed – they killed them, the underground army, the Nazis, they killed them.” And everybody applauds. The president and everybody said, “Jacques, you are right, we are going to – how do you say it? – take care of this. We will give the money for this place, and this place will allow us to put a big monument, and we’ll invite the officials of the government.” Okay, and they give me one who was a member also and who cooperate with me. They did not know even that I’m a Jew. They don’t ask me.
BERNSTEIN: You didn’t tell them that these were Jews that were killed, you just said that they were Frenchmen?
BRAITBERG: No, no, I didn’t say. I say that civilian people were killed. The Nazis killed so many people, and this should go into history of this area, because I knew in other places, they had other Jews also, and they put the monuments. Perigord and Bergerac – all the way where we passed until almost into Paris. In the last minute, they killed all the Jews they find on the way. So, I thought maybe they know. I thought they’d ask. If they ask, I would say, but they didn’t ask me. And I thought maybe they know this was for Jewish people. So, I said, “French people.” Why I have to say – they were French. French people, civilian people, they got killed. So they gave me a man to cooperate with me. He was the head of the socialist party in the whole area. And he was a man, educated, he was retired and he was willing to achieve the goal to put this monument, to prepare everything. Instead, one day when we talked, and they find out that all of them were Jews, and I say slowly everybody start to lose interest. They lost interest and they told me, officially, “You can continue, but nobody want to help you, nobody was interested.” I was so mad that I abandoned the project. I said, “Why do we need a monument for Jewish people in such an anti-Semitic area?” This is what I was thinking. I abandoned it, and I went out from this. And then I decided to go to the United States because I couldn’t support this.
BERNSTEIN: When was this?
BRAITBERG: This happened – oh, I tried a long time in – this happened – I came to ’70. I tried to do this in ’60. In ’65 I abandoned and I could never forget all these people, former combatants, and they were so happy to do this. Once they knew that they were Jews, everybody was – there was no money anymore, there was no this. They told me, “You can do this if you like,” but nobody want to help me. So, I tell you that French people were anti-Semitic. I don’t know, maybe not some Protestants, but this I had as the best example that as soon as they knew – because we talk, we start to describe each of them because when we were ready to make the monument, we had the names. I said, “We are going to invite the rabbi, from Bordeaux.” They are Jews. And when they find out they were Jews, everybody run away. It happens a lot. I was so mad…It was a shame that I – then I decided, “I cannot live in this country. As long as they don’t know I’m a Jew, it’s okay. But as soon as they know I’m a Jew, I am nothing.” So then I decided to come to the United States ‘cause I couldn’t support it.
BERNSTEIN: This friend that was head of the resistance underground, that showed you how to make the identities – you mentioned that he gathered information. What kind of information did he supply to the underground?
BRAITBERG: What I supplied information – I was specially designed for – to gather information about members they wanted to accept in the underground army. So I went and asked all kind of information because we can give a gun to somebody and he can kill, he can rob. What he’s doing, how his behavior, this was mostly – not for some information about the movement of Germans on the roads and contacted the underground army. Because I was more free – I circulate more often than other people. So I knew how to ask in certain places I knew in underground army. “They’re here, they’re here, they must be in other places over there.”
BERNSTEIN: In German? Did you understand German?
BRAITBERG: German I understand, yeah, always. Also, I didn’t have a contact with the Germans, but I could, when they were on the way and they were walking, I heard what they are talking.
BERNSTEIN: You could understand what they were talking about?
BRAITBERG: Yeah. I knew where they go, and once I went, for example, when they had to come to St. ______. Oh, once they came – because in the city where the Jewish people were living, where they killed Alambic, the underground army revolted. They said this city was in 1944, not on the end, but not far from the liberation. They decided to put the flag, French flag and finish there. In the camp, they put machine guns in the street and they went to the mayor, occupied the mayor’s place and throw out Pétain, a picture of Pétain, through the window and put DeGaulle, the symbol of the liberation, and they arrested the collaborators who ran away. You know, for a few days. Then the Germans, they knew. They came about 30 miles, about a thousand people. And I saw them. I was walking with them. They came and there was a bridge they had to go. And the underground army, they destroyed the bridge. They came with boats and put on the other side machine guns and they went to the city and start to fight against the underground army. They killed about – 10 Germans got killed. They occupied – they went to the hospital, through the river. They put the headquarters in the hospital and start to shoot on the streets to the underground army. They were fighting, maybe 10 or 15 underground people got killed in the streets. And this was after the revenge. They came and killed all the Jewish people remaining there after the camp. So, I was, the same day that they were walking to Ste. Foie, they walked maybe eight miles, and I was on the road and I was pretty fast with my bicycle to give them the message that they are coming. To the underground army, and I told them, “Be careful, the Germans are coming – maybe five, six miles they’ve got yet.” I thought maybe they knew already, but I did it. And I was with my bicycle, I was riding maybe one mile and they were walking, singing. I see they go to St. _____. They knew already, not that they knew exactly what they are going to do, but we knew that it’s not very good. So, sometimes I get such information and I took a risk. I don’t know if it’s useful for them, but I told them, “They are coming.” I described the ammunition, I told them how many people. That was the information. But the French people, they run away. Nobody was on the road but the Germans. I was alone with my bicycle and always I had my violin.
BERNSTEIN: Were you able to follow the progress of the war, what was going on in Russia, in Italy?
BRAITBERG: Sure! Sure! We were listening and we had the radio.
BERNSTEIN: What kind of broadcasts were you listening to? Were they German broadcasts?
BRAITBERG: No, we had London all the time.
BERNSTEIN: You could hear – ?
BRAITBERG: Yeah, all the time London. All the underground army, we had London.
BERNSTEIN: Did you understand English?
BRAITBERG: They talk in French. We had the emission all the time in French from London – DeGaulle and the liberation army – they are talking. We had all the information. I forget to tell you once what happened. It was, I think, also in 1942. I was mobilized because very often they send us with planes – documents, ammunitions, money – to the parachutists. And I was mobilized and I organized a group and we knew at what time and at what place that plane will come, and we had to take the parachutists and organized places where to go. With bicycles or with horses or with cows – very quick.
BERNSTEIN: The plane was going to drop parachutes?
BRAITBERG: Yes – no – for the underground army. This was organized and our chief, over there was – I see him. I forgot to tell you he was my chief and he told me, “Jacques,” he told me, “the risk could be torture and the risk could be killed.” So, he told us that day we have to start about 10 o’clock and be out ‘til two o’clock in the night, make the camp, and we have to put – there was a special place where there was no wires, no too much trees, close to the big place that the plane come. (INAUDIBLE) So, I overcome at that time. It was a mistake. And the plane came and parachuted just on the middle of the road in front of the mayor. This mayor was a doctor and he was a collaborator.
BERNSTEIN: And the parachutes dropped on the street?
BRAITBERG: On the street, on the road.
BERNSTEIN: On the road.
BRAITBERG: And they made a mistake. They caught everything, and he called the police. And the police the German police, and they came. They took everything. The place where we were, not the camp. The camp was over there maybe two, three miles from the place. And the man who was the head of our group, he got caught the next day. They came to his house and another one. Two. One was a former officer and they arrested him, the collaborators. He was arrested the next day, and they sent him to Auschwitz. And he survived and I was there when he came back after the liberation in 1945, something like this. Beausoleil, his name was Beausoleil. And we were so happy because he initiated me in the underground, he told me how we would work and everything; very soon I lost him because a few days after, he got caught. And the other was origin from Corsica. He never came back. He was outspoken. He probably got killed because he was very proud. Beausoleil was no diplomat. They put him in Auschwitz, and he said many times he wanted to put all the Jewish people – he was lucky. He came back. He was only once – he must have weighed maybe 60 pounds, maybe more – 80 pounds, and he survived. After he became a normal person, he described, how he was in Auschwitz camp. I cannot go in details now. The same thing with Jewish people. In Auschwitz, they didn’t have only Jewish people. They had all kinds, the resistance, the Russians, Pollacks, all kind of nationalities. We talk always about the destruction of six million Jewish people. Don’t forget Hitler destroyed 30 million people, not six million people. He destroyed 30 million people and 80 ____ 80 million people are injured, without leg, for all the life. He, in his war, six million Germans got killed, destroyed. They got killed by the Russians. The war killed six million Germans, as many as Jewish people. He killed three million Pollacks, non-Jewish people. He killed 15 million Russian people, between 15 and 20 million. So, it’s more than 30 million people in it. I think that we always talked of the war that Hitler killed only Jewish people. It’s not true. The Jewish people that he killed, Hitler, was 1/5 of the – and they got killed in the same conditions as Jewish people in the camps everywhere, the same thing. He was, maybe with the Jewish people was more kids and ladies, females – not as much as other people. But, he killed the same thing. There is books now they describe. There is American – look in the documents – describe a book about how they treated the Pollacks, the Germans. They killed kids, they killed whole families, especially in the farms. They went to the farms and killed everybody because they are worried that they are resistance in Poland. It was terrible. They burned them alive, they – I would like when we talk about history – the impression of the world is that Hitler killed only Jews – I do not like this impression because he killed other nationalities.
BERNSTEIN: 30 million people were killed, but the Jews were killed just because they were Jews. I think that’s the difference.
BRAITBERG: Yeah, this is true.
BERNSTEIN: So the collaborators were killed because they were underground. A lot of soldiers were killed. (OVERTALK)
BRAITBERG: They were only killed because they were in the resistance – yeah, only because they were Jews. (OVERTALK) So a lot of people were killed because they didn’t like Pollacks, they didn’t like Russians, they didn’t like them. The same way as the Jews, they killed them because they didn’t like. They killed all of them because they don’t like Pollacks, they killed all the Russians. Okay.
BERNSTEIN: Did you anticipate the Allies landing? Did everybody know that there would be D-Day invasion forces?
BRAITBERG: Yeah. We knew because – because we always were listening to London, I told you. We knew a lot of things because we had clandestine radio that came straight from London, and from the resistance in France. We have communications so we knew a lot what’s going on before the Germans did. There always was a contact. We had all kinds of messages. Her father, my father-in-law, he had special post in his bed, and he could have communications direct with London. I didn’t have this, but I knew a lot he heard. Hillaret, my chief in the underground.
Oh, I didn’t tell you another story, a very funny story (LAUGHTER) – I forget. This was in 19 – I married in 1945. I married my wife, and when the war was just finished, I find out I was not French, I asked to be freed from the underground army because I say, now, especially in my neighborhood , was so many groups – the general resistance, the Catholic resistance, the Protestant resistance, and they start to fight between them. (LAUGHTER) So, I said, “I don’t know. I will not fight against the French. I was fighting against the Germans. Let me go.” When I married my wife, we went for a honeymoon. We couldn’t go very far because there was shooting sometimes in the underground army when they find Germans and the Germans were resisting. So we went about five, six miles in the woods, a big woods with tent. And we put the tent in and we were circulating all around to find food. And when I came in the villages, for example, to buy chicken, they thought that I am a German. I was dressed like you, with hair and muscles and suntan. I wanted to pay them. They didn’t want money. They were afraid. They give me the chicken and they thought I was a German. (LAUGHTER) So, once I came out from the woods and what I see is an underground army with a machine gun on the road. And I was just in small pants and had no papers – nothing. And he asked me who I am, and he was listening to my accent and he thought that I am a German. And he put his machine gun into my shoulder and pushed me and said, “You have to go on the hill where the headquarters is from the resistance.” I told him, “I myself am from the underground army. Now I am a Pollack.” I said, “I am not going to fight against you.” But he was tired and he was in soft shoes and exhausted and he was worrying and ready to shoot because he was sure I am a German. So I came over on the hill. My wife was following. She was explaining it also and he didn’t want to listen. And we came up there. There was a group, maybe 10. They were in uniform, the French, and they were always looking all the time, so they could kill anybody by mistake. And there were some old cars and machine guns in each car. And I went over there and he presented me to the chief. And I told him the same thing, that I am a member from the underground army and only now I married my wife and I am going to organize my life since the war finished. So, he asked me who was my chief and I told him it was the famous Hillaret who arrested the Catholic. He said, “Hillaret, he is my best friend.” (LAUGHTER) So he shake hands with me and he said, “You are lucky.” Because they would have killed me. This was also the second most dangerous place that I would be killed by the French underground army because it was very easy to kill at that time. They kill very quick. A lot of people they perish like this – innocent. And he told me, this lieutenant, he said, “I have to go and see your compatriot, your Polish people is fighting like hell,” he said, “And you have to go and join them.” (LAUGHTER) And what could I say? I said, “Okay.” I didn’t want to. And I came back and they run away because they – because they thought the Germans came back. Anarchy at that time. And this was also a time when I could get killed by the French. I was arrested by the French. (LAUGHTER) I was never arrested by the Germans. (MORE LAUGHTER) This time I was arrested by the French underground army.
BERNSTEIN: How were the collaborators treated after the liberation? – The gendarmes, the police that were gathering up Jews?
BRAITBERG: The gendarmes, after the war, they all – some of them, they get medals. I know a lot of them because they thought they were working for the underground army. They protect the Jews. It was the circumstances, and DeGaulle give them all medals. How could you say, how could I go and say it’s not true? I was in the place where the (INAUDIBLE). Who knows where he was, the man? I could go and assist but they would arrest me. I would say, “This man didn’t.” The police, the same police, you know, they – when the Germans went away, they became the police for the French government, the same police who – how can you change the whole police? They were police for the government. And they did not accept them very well the collaborators. They were hanged and killed and shot, a lot of them. The first thing, mostly, for example the men who organized who killed this Alambic, and they killed maybe 200 Jews. He was – they find him and put him on trial and he got – they hanged him and shoot the chief. And others, they did find him after one year because he was young. He did not know what he does. I know a lot of these young partisans. But the chief, they killed. So, a lot of collaborators, they went in prison. You know, like Laval – he got killed also. He was a collaborator. Many, many, especially the first day, because the first day the underground army, they had the machine guns and they could kill. After, it was very difficult – justice, trial.
BERNSTEIN: The war ends. You are married.
BRAITBERG: The war ends. I am married. I don’t know what to do. I didn’t have a job. I had nothing. My wife has not a job. The father has a farm. I’m not a farmer. I don’t know what to do – go to Paris, go to…So, I went to Paris and I tried maybe to find a job. I don’t know what. I didn’t finish my studies. I didn’t finish my music. I didn’t finish my agronomy. I was in the middle, and to start again, I didn’t have money. It was not a good time. My wife was pregnant. I find an old friend from the university, he’s now doctor in chemistry, from Hanover. And he say, “Jacques, how are you? I am a diplomat.” I don’t know how he made it. He made it mostly in the underground army. He come through, and he was in Paris all the time. He got the diploma. He had a doctorate in chemistry – not a doctor, but a chemist. And he organized a small factory, not very far from where I used to live and he said, “I have a job for you. You’ll become my chemist.” (LAUGHTER) And I said, “I am not a chemist. How can I?” And he said, “Don’t worry. I’ll give you books and you can study a little. You can read. It’s not difficult,” he said. “I have eight people over there. Everything is good now. We need soap, we need washing machine – does nothing. We have to make it from nothing.” So (LAUGHTER) I start to work and become a chemist. I was the chief. I had to work with people. We make paint from grease, from fish. (LAUGHTER) All ersatzes, ersatzes, like the Germans. We made things. We didn’t have the raw materials. We have to make it – find out how to make oil, to make good paint. We got oil from fish. It was stinking like hell, but we could make a kind of paint. We make glue, all kinds of glue, anything with fat. And so I worked with these people and I learned. One year he gave me a lot of books and gave me a small pension and I could survive. And then I had my daughter, the oldest was born.
BERNSTEIN: Where were you living? In what city?
BRAITBERG: I was living in my wife’s house on the farm, and I was working in Perrier. It was about 20 miles. So, I went with a train. I had a bicycle, went about three, four miles with the bicycle and I had a train. It took me to Perrier. It was a city of about 70,000 people and I was working in this small company about one year. And then I decided to do myself a small company where I used to live. So, I went over there. I came and built a small company and I produced Chlorox.
BRAITBERG: Chlorox, yeah. Chlorox in big quantities. I had to work very quick. I had four trucks, big trucks. And I had about six, seven people there working. And I start in my garage, in my wife’s garage. Then I rented in the city, a small city. And then I rented a big factory in Bordeaux where we made about 50,000 pounds a day, products to wash in wash machine and about 50,000 buckets of Chlorox. And I had five big trucks, chauffeurs, in a big factory. The train come in. It was very big. And I had to stop working. My wife was sick, and I had two kids already at that time.
BERNSTEIN: Your kids were born in what year?
BRAITBERG: My kids – one was born in ’45, the other in ’46. And I didn’t like. We lived in a place where it was stinking very much. The air was polluted from chemistry. So finally, I sold – no – finally I sold it. It was very difficult to sell it at that time because the business did not work. In the beginning we had lots of work, but afterwards, it was very difficult. And I start to make research and I find a product, another product for buildings. And I went to Paris and I made a small business with a man.
BERNSTEIN: What kind of business?
BRAITBERG: He made a product for buildings.
BERNSTEIN: For buildings?
BRAITBERG: Yeah, self-leveling for floors. He put ceramics on all floors.
BERNSTEIN: Helped level floors?
BRAITBERG: Helped level floors, yeah. And we sold about 500,000 pounds a month of this powders, and I get all this until I come to the United States.
BERNSTEIN: Were you –
BRAITBERG: And I sold it, and I sold it.
BERNSTEIN: When was this?
BRAITBERG: Well, it was in the beginning of ’58 until ’71, and I came to France and I sold it. And with the money I came here. We bought a house and –
BERNSTEIN: You came here in ’71?
BRAITBERG: Yeah. Came here with this money. We were here for three years without working and spent all my money and start working again. (LAUGHTER) Okay. But, in the meantime, immediately after the war, I find a contact with some members of my family.
BRAITBERG: And they were in the camps. We start to correspond and I send them money and everything. First of all, I find my oldest brother. He was in Auschwitz and he, it took him about one year to come to France. And he was in my house for about eight years. And I was not organized yet, and my father-in-law, the father of my wife, he came in this house where I used to live. The house was not very big, but he has his room. He helped in the business, but he was very sick – his heart.
BERNSTEIN: Is this your older brother?
BRAITBERG: Yeah. He died already. He passed away three years ago. He was walking and rushing to university; he was a technician. He was eight years with me and then he came to the United States. And I find another brother who was in Auschwitz with two kids. And he came also. He still live with me. He’s living here in this city. He came straight to the United States. And then I find my sister. My sister with her daughter. She lost her husband. She lost her son in the camps, and I brought her also to France. I brought her to France and came also to my house. I had all – my father-in-law was such a good man and she came. She was in a camp in Bordeaux. We didn’t have a car yet. He find a car and went with me to go and get her. He offered her a house and everything and nourished her to health. I had my brother, I had my sister and her daughter. I was smashed immediately because I didn’t start myself. I had to help all this family and I have my brother we found in Russia. And he worked very – he would like to go out, but he cannot go out and it was difficult to live over there. For example, how did I know that he’s not very good, very well over there? He wrote me a letter and said, “This is the best country in the world.” This was the time of Stalin. And he persecuted the Jews. And everyday he was thinking that they would come and destroy him with his family. So he said, “Everything is – this is the best country in the world,” he says. “You should come to it. We have everything done. Ask if you need something, we have everything in this country. There is no such country in the world,” he said. In the middle of this, he say to me, “You know, I see very often our good friend, Tetlock.” And I said, “Who is this Tetlock?” And do you know who Tetlock was?
BRAITBERG: Tetlock was – he said, “I see him very often, everyday, almost, our good friend. He’s young, he has a good situation.” The undertaker from our city. So he communicate – told me that he’s seeing death everyday because he said, “I see Tetlock everyday.”