b. Kassel, Germany, 1930
The day of departure from Germany for me and my family had finally arrived. It was August 30;, 1939. For months, my father had been planning for our leaving, hoping that our quota number would be among those listed for emigration to America. Actually, he would have taken us to Palestine or South America or Shanghai just to get us out of Germany, but my mother only wanted to go to America because some of our family had already emigrated there.
When the notification from the American consul finally came, there was much jubilation in our house. Arrangements were quickly made for packing our furniture, linens, and china for shipments to America. The Germans did not permit Jews to take any valuables or money out of the country, but we were allowed to take any amount of household goods and clothing. I remember that my mother bought clothing for me in several sizes so that I would have it to wear once we arrived in our new home.
We traveled from Berlin to Bremen, where we were to meet my brother and together board the ship which would take us across the Channel to Liverpool. My father had made arrangements to take my brother shopping for clothes prior to boarding the ship. However, my brother was late and arrived just in time for all of us to go through German customs for a final examination before boarding.
My father was the first to be called by the uniformed SS men. They told him to take everything out of his pockets. When they opened his wallet, they discovered that it contained 300 marks instead of the 40 marks (10 marks per person) that he was allowed to take out of the country.
Without another word they grabbed him and took him away. My mother screamed and started to sob and, of course, I cried too.
My brother was too scared to move because he realized that it was all his fault. If he had arrived on time, Papa would have shopped with him and spent the extra money. Instead, Papa was so upset that he completely forgot about the extra marks in his wallet.
We waited. My mother's tears stained the lapels of the pale gray suit that she was wearing.
Meanwhile, my father was being stripped and searched. They even cut the soles off his shoes to check whether he had hidden any money there. My father