‘We practically built the school. It was ours and we loved it.'

Born in Poland, Joe Marcus was fourteen years old when the war threw him into the ghetto and later concentration camps. He was liberated by the American army in Germany and became one of the first pupils at the ORT school in Eggenfelden, a village with 500 inhabitants, of whom 100 were ORT students.

‘We practically built the school. It was ours and we loved it. It was not just an ORT school but a regular community. We lived together, worked together, shared both good and bad. But don’t think that we did not study hard. School hours for the eight different courses were from nine to midday and one to five. The engineers were our teachers and we were just school boys trying to get  as much out of our classes as possible. Outside school, all of us were one big family and whenever one needed assistance, we all pitched in. We once bought an old German motorcycle, repaired it in the ORT workshop after class, and then raffled it off. The proceeds from the 100 raffle tickets were used to help the needy. We did the same with a radio built in our radio course and dresses form from the needle trade classes. I started attending the electrical course and after a year received my diploma. I came to America in February 1949 with my wife whom I had married in Eggenfelden and a six-week-old baby. I was not afraid, because I had a trade and two weeks after my arrival here I found a job at a radio and television plant in Long Island. Before going to my interview, I bought a book entitled ‘Radio and Television’. So that I would be able to answer all those questions for which I did not know the English words by pointing at illustrations in the book. I got the job.’[1]


[1] Source:  World ORT Archive: ORT Bulletin vol. III no.5 (January 1950), p.2