A German/American Story

My mother once went to the principal and the principal more or less told her, "Why does your child come to this school?" But he couldn't really do anything about it at that point. At that time, my mother felt I was getting a good education. But then I went to a Reform Gemeinde school in Berlin. She sent me to this school for a year and a half. I think my mother stayed there, arid I went to Berlin for a while. My mother had a lot of friends in Dresden. And one of her friends said to her one day, "How long are we come to live? You know what's going on. Why do you have your son go to a school in Berlin arid you don't have him home?'' So my mother took me out of the school in Berlin and I came to Dresden. In Dresden there was a time, then, for a year and a half that I didn't go to school at all. Then I think in 1940 or '41 they opened a school in Dresden again. But for a year and a half I was home twelve months a year, no studies, nothing. As for friends, only one guy would show up. He didn't come every day, but he was the only one.

In '38. 1 had my Bar Mitzvah. I had the last Bar Mitzvah in Dresden, in the Reformed Temple. It was at the end of October. Two weeks later, in November. it was Kristallnacht. It was an awful name to give this thing. They destroyed all the windows and they put the Jews out, made them walk through the town. I remember seeing pictures in the local newspaper of Kristallnacht. My Bar Mitzvah was in October; I went home and then the Kristallnacht was November 10. It did not affect me directly then, but at Halloween it did. Every Halloween in Germany, in small towns they would all dress up and they would take walks and come in front of our house. I'm talking about 1939 and '40), maybe even 41. They would come in front of our house, maybe one hundred, 150 young people. And they would all yell out, "Juden, Juden. Get the Jews, kill the Jews!'' And my mother and I would sit in this little apartment, shivering, completely petrified.

We had German policemen coming up to our apartment. One day they would collect our radios. One day they would collect something else; they were constantly around. We had the ration stamps: we had a ''J'' on each one. And then one day they gave us some things; they made a mistake, they gave us some candy. So they had to send a policeman over to our house to cut out the candy part of the ration book because we were not entitled to candy. Theoretically, when we went to a butcher and he saw the "J" he would not give us the better cut. Bread was the same. There was not much to eat for the Germans; for the Jews it was a little bit less.

But. I will say one thing, in 1940 when the Germans took Holland and Belgium, in the house where we lived at that time, a two-family house, there was a German soldier and he would send packages home to the family and they would give us butter, and other things for barter. We lived there till the day we left and these people were very extremely nice. I don't say they hid us, but they gave us extra food. They were Germans. There was even a young lady there; she used to come upstairs. I was 14 in those days, she must have been 15. She would come the stairs and talk in the hallway or outside. I lived there till June '41, till I left Germany. We were sponsored by people in the United States, by my mother's sisters and brothers who left in 1905, 1920. The last one left in the '20s and they lived in New York. We came right to New York, in July '41. I was 15.

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5