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Washington

By Moishe M.
Grade 6, Washington
Country of Origin: Austria

We did an oral history of Dr. Kurt Steinbrecher about his immigration from Austria to the United States just before World War Two. In an oral history you record the interview you have with him. We thought of questions to ask him. Dr. Steinbrecher is a chemist.
Dr. Steinbrecher lived in Austria and called it a "paradise" until Hitler came. He had an older brother. He was closer to his nanny than his mother. His father worked with wood. Real trouble started for the Jews with Kristalnacht.
A Jewish boy in Paris killed a German ambassador. Hitler wanted to punish the Jews for this. He told the people to break everything that was glass that belonged to Jews in Germany and Austria. They also beat up Jewish men. After Kristalnacht, Dr. SteinbrecherĘs family got scared. Hitler made a law that Jew could raise their hands and say, "Heil Hitler." This way everyone would know they were Jews. His mother signed him up to go to America, sponsored by B'nai Brith.
Dr. Steinbrecher left for America on may 27, 1939 on the President Harding ship. On the ship he got very seasick. He also saw movies in English and fought about what they meant.
Dr. Steinbrecher landed in New York. He had his Bar Mitzvah there. He lived in a foster home that was shaped like a "u." The legs of the u were rooms and the back part was the kitchen. Later, his mother and father left through Russia and then out of Japan to Seattle. They worked for a while and then brought him to Seattle.
I learned that when Hitler came to Austria, he seemed to be a good leader. He wrote books saying how he was going to kill Jews. Everyone thought this could not be true. They were wrong.



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