Oral History

Felix Horn describes postwar emigration with the Brihah movement and adjustment to life after the war

Felix was born to an assimilated Jewish family in Lublin, Poland. His father was a locksmith and his mother was a singer. Following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Felix fled east to Rovno and then to Soviet-occupied Lvov, where he was accepted at a medical school. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Felix was taken to a labor camp. He escaped and returned to Lublin, and found that his family had been forced into the ghetto established there. After the liquidation of the Lublin ghetto, Felix, his sister, and his future wife Lucine were sent to the Majdan Tatarski ghetto. Felix, Lucine, and her brother escaped and hid, eventually fleeing to the Warsaw ghetto, where Felix and Lucine were married. They escaped to the "Aryan" side of Warsaw and obtained false papers. Felix worked for the underground during the Warsaw Polish uprising in 1944. He and Lucine were liberated by Soviet forces in January 1945. They immigrated to the United States in October 1950.


And one day the whole group, with the help of Brihah--I don't know if you know what Brihah is. Brihah is the Palestinian underground agency which was helping the Jews who escaped from Soviet Russia coming to Poland, want to go to Palestine. They were smuggling those people, young people, to Palestine. With their assistance, we crossed the border one cold night in November 1946. The only thing I took with me is my student papers, my books and so on, in case I ever go back to school, want to save my papers. And on their advice they took us to Vienna, where we met a lot of Jewish students already, Americans, first time I'd seen Americans, life full of music, and laughter. I didn't know what it was, I didn't know how to behave. I was afraid of this thing, I thought it's sacreligious, to laugh and to smile and go to nightclubs and to coffeehouses, I, I couldn't, couldn't cope with it, you know, I was not ready for it. But we stayed together, whole group, for about two years. Everybody went his own way, they graduate, one architect, one electric engineer, a few medical student, one boy couldn't cope with his situation, went back to Poland, Jewish boy. Don't know what happened to him. And then each one went his own way.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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