Wednesday, September 21, 2005


7 days until departure: Yesterday I went to see Oma in Canton and say goodbye. Knowing that I will go to Nuremberg while in Europe, I wanted to hear her retell the story of leaving, here is my retelling as best as I remember.

The family applied for papers to leave Germany in 1933. They went to Italy for one year and returned to Nuremberg shortly afterwards, They eventually received their papers in November 1938 to take an ocean liner across the Atlantic. There was a “legal” 420% tax rate on every material possession that they wanted to take with them, They crated a lot of things and brought them. They left in early November on the Chrystal Nacht, a night in which the Nazi’s stormed the homes of jews in Nuremberg. Many relatives were killed.

When they arrived, it was veteran’s day, so the ship had to stay at sea. If they had arrived there wouldn’t have been any immigration officers working and they could not be processed. Opa had a cousin living in California, and the original plan was to go on another ship to California (via the Panama Canal), but the authorities said that they could not go, and so they stayed for a few days in Woodside Queens. Opa went to find another cousin (who was living in Scranton) and got a job pumping gas. Oma and Eric were still in New York and had to take a train to Scranton via Hoboken. She went to Grand Central with her little screaming boy and a big fat suitcase. She managed to get down the stairs, and on to the correct train, and as they traveled she kept listening to the train stations, thinking they were hers (stratsbourg) but finally got off the train in Scranton. She stepped onto the platform and looked for Opa, but instead found a little jewish man, who spoke Yiddish, who brought her back to a house. When they arrived, it was about 5 o clock and the help instructed oma to go shopping for food, and prepare opa dinner. She went to the little grocery across the street and picked up milk, eggs and bacon. She did not realize that the house in which she was staying was kept kosher. Eric put his head on the pillow of the bed they slept on, he said it wasn’t soft, unlike the linen he was used to sleeping on, this was muslin cloth.

They bounced around various apartments in Scranton and were joined by various relatives at different points.

Opa’s family were in the stove business in Germany, but he had to pump gas, and sell auto parts before becoming a book seller. Oma’s family were in the hops business.

When I go to Nuremberg, Oma wants me to go to the Rodin museum and the regular museum. If I go to the “new” cemetery, I should look for Rao (Ebs’s first husband who was killed at Aushwitz) and some weilheimers. One woman, Hildgaard Behn still lives there; she was 1/4 jewish and took care of Eric as a baby. Oma said that I should look for her at the Red Cross building. Dad said that she is Senile.


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