Visit us At 5th and Market Streets on Independence Mall



It's Your Story

Admission

Members Free
Adults $12
Seniors (ages 65 & up) $11
Youth (ages 13-21) $11
Children (ages 12 & under) Free
Active military (with ID) Free*
 

Discounted admission rates are available to groups of 15 or more people. Group visits must be booked in advance through Group Sales to receive these discounts and other group options.  

 

*As a Blue Star Museum, we additionally offer free admission to up to 5 immediate family members (spouse or children) of active military personnel from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  

My Survival

I am Jewish and was born in Germany in 1934 in a small village at the southern end of the black forest about 35 miles southwest of Stuttgart. I was very fortunate to have been able to leave Germany in March 1941. My sister I traveled alone from Germany to the US; we went by train from Stuttgart to Paris, where we changed trains. We stayed overnight at a hotel in Spain. We arrived in Lisbon where we stayed in a rooming house till our ship was ready, I was 6 years old and my sister was 9. We arrived at pier 3 in Brooklyn on April 3rd 1941.

 

Our village in Germany is Rexingen; the population has always been a bit below 1000 persons. Due to the Chelmnitsky pogrom Jews left Austro Hungary (the capital was Pressburg, today it is known as Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia). They traveled along the Danube river and arrived in Rexingen in 1650. By 1850 there were 400 Jews in Rexingen. They lived separate but integrated lives and got along well with their neigbors. Many served in the German Army in WW I. After that some of the young men moved to the cities. By 1933 there were 262 Jews in Rexingen.

 

In 1935 the young married persons realized that they needed to get out of Germany. They came up with a plan to relocate as a group to Palestine. This was achieved in 1938 by a group of 41 persons. They founded a Moshav about 1 mile south of Naharia. They called it Shave Zion (return to Zion). It was the only occasion during the Holocaust that a group from a village in Europe relocated and founded a new settlement in Palestine.

 

A total of 128 persons were deported from Rexingen to concentration camps in 1942. Only 3 persons survived.

 

Several books have been written about Rexingen and there are several Web Sites. Today there is a relationship between the people of Rexingen and Shave Zion. Exhibits were held in 2008 on the 70th anniversary of the founding of Shave Zion: in Rexingen, Shave Zion, Jerusalem, Berlin and Stuttgart. I attended the one in Stuttgart and went on to Berlin to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

 

After arriving in the US, I attended New York City schools and graduated as an Electrical Engineer. I worked in the Aerospace defense industry. In my first job I worked on the guidance system of the Redstone missile. This was the follow-on of the German V2. It was headed by Dr. Werner von Braun. Ironically I worked with a German who served on a submarine. He was trying to sink ships in the Atlantic ocean such as the one that I was traveling on to get to the US.

 

Later I worked on the inertial guidance system for the Space Shuttle. I got married 1n 1961. My wife was Jewish; we were married in the Young Israel in Montreal. We lived in New Jersey and had two daughters. Tragically my wife died in an auto accident in 1984. I got married a second time in 1999. My second wife also has two daughters. All our children are married and we have 8 grandchildren aged 2 to 10 years old. My wife grew up on the lower east side of New York. She is a retired teacher. I had a good career as an engineer and program manager.

 

Presently I do online teaching for DeVry University and the University of Phoenix. There is of course more to my story. In summary I was very fortunate to escape Germany. My best friends were not as fortunate and were shot shortly after they arrived at the concentration camp. My mother's brother, her parents, my father's mother, my father’s sister and her husband all died in concentration camps. An aunt committed suicide in Rexingen to avoid being deported.

 

A relative fell off the wagon as she was being deported. They took her to a hospital and as a result she survived and died a natural death in 1952.

 

Most of my relatives who came to America have been successful. The Rexingen Jews in NYC formed a Rexingen Benevolent Association.  They met a few times a year for coffee, cake and to talk to each other. Dues were $10 per year. The money was not needed for operation of the association. The money from the dues was to be used if any Rexingen Jew was in financial need. These people were a hard working frugal group, some did very well and no one ever came to the Association to ask for money.

 

I am most grateful to America for the chance to come here and contribute. I have a good can do attitude and have achieved a successful life. Thank you America!