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Washington

By Yisrael H.
Grade 6, Washington
Country of Origin: Austria

Our class did an oral history interview with Dr. Steinbrecher about his immigration to the United States from Austria just before World War Two. During an oral history you ask questions about someone and they tell you what it was like. The interview is tape recorded. Our class made up the questions and Shmulie Kavka typed them. We practiced how to do the interview. Dr. Steinbrecher is a member of our congregation. He has a doctorate in chemistry.
Dr. Steinbrecher was born in Austria in June 6, 1928. He had a mother, father, and older brother. His family had a good life before Hitler took over Austria. He had lots of toys and a nanny who took him to the park. He had a toy boat that ran on alcohol. His father was a wood worker and his mother ran a store.
When Hitler came to Austria, people stopped saying hello. They said, "Heil Hitler." Jews could not say this, so everyone knew they were Jews. They felt like second class citizens. The Steinbrechers decided to leave because of Hitler. The family sold everything and got smugglers to help them escape. The smugglers took their belongings out of the country. The family had to try to cross the border by themselves. They tried six times and no one let them go. His father cried and asked the guard to let them go because they did not want Jews there. His parents finally escaped through Russia and Japan to the U.S. in 1940.
Dr. Steinbrecher left Austria May 27, 1939 on the ship, President Harding. He was chosen to go with other Jewish kids to America with the B'nai Brith. On the ship he watched movies in English. They couldn't understand the movies and fought about what it was about.
The Statue of Liberty. He lived with a foster family and then his aunt. Later Dr. Steinbrecher reunited with his family in Seattle. He did his Bar Mitzvah Parsha in Seattle.
I learned that immigrants go through a difficult life. It is better when they come to America. Dr. SteinbrecherĘs story was very interesting. It was emotional inside him and I feel it too.



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