Publish
Washington

By Shmulie K.
Grade 6, Washington
Country of Origin: Austria

When you ask the person you are interviewing some questions about a topic and tape it, this is an oral history. We asked Dr. Steinbrecher questions about his immigration to the United States from Austria in 1939. He is a member of our community. We wrote the questions and practiced asking them.
Dr. Steinbrecher has an older brother that is four and one half years older than him. His family was middle class. He had a nanny because his mother worked in her grocery store. His father was a wood worker. They had a good life until Hitler took over Austria.
Life got worse after a Jewish boy killed a German ambassador in Pads. All the non-Jews in Germany and Austria broke everything that was glass belonging to Jews. They also beat up Jewish men. The Steinbrecher family thought they must leave. When the Steinbrecher family to try to cross the border to emigrate, the German boarder guard said, "We don't give a damn where Jews croak." The family returned to their home in Vienna and did not think they would ever get out of Austria.
Dr. Steinbrecher's mother signed him up for a trip that B'nai Brith was sponsoring. They would take 25 boys and 25 girls to the U.S. Dr. Steinbrecher went through all the tests and was accepted. He sailed on the President Harding ship. He went third class. Sometimes on the ship they went up to second class and watched movies in English. They argued about what they meant. He left on May 27, 1939 and arrived June 6, 1939 one day before his birthday. His parents came later in 1940 through Russia and Japan and on to America.

Dr. Steinbrecher landed in New York City. There is a picture of the children facing the Statue of Liberty. He was so smart that he skipped a grade in school. His family was in Seattle and he was in New York. His parents asked B'nai Brith to wait to send him until they were settled.
I learned that the Nazis made Jewish children go to separate schools. I also never heard of B'nai Brith. I never knew they did what they did, save Jewish people from Hitler.



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