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Oral history interview with Walter Schnell

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1989.A.0323 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0206

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    Oral history interview with Walter Schnell


    Interview Summary
    Walter Schnell, born on April 16, 1904 in Strehlen, Germany (Strzelin, Poland), describes his family and childhood; going to study crystal and porcelain in Berlin, Germany in the early 1920s; having to sell his family’s porcelain and glass business in 1937 because anti-Jewish business laws were becoming too strict; moving to Wrocław after the business sold with his sister and parents; working for a family friend in a wholesale business in Wrocław; his arrest during Kristallnacht and being sent by train through Weimar and on to Buchenwald; being forced to watch the hangings of those prisoners who had escaped from the camp and been caught; being called into the camp’s main office on the second day of Hanukkah and told that his parents had booked him a passage for Panama; finally securing a passage on a ship from Wrocław to Genoa, Italy after jumping through much red tape with Gestapo officials in Wrocław; staying in Genoa for a short time until he traveled on a boat to Shanghai because he did not need official papers to get in; settling in Hongkou, the Jewish suburb of Shanghai; Allied planes accidentally bombing the Jewish quarter of Shanghai; the creation of a Jewish community with its own traditions in Shanghai, including establishing nine hundred yeshivas, keeping kosher, and maintaining a synagogue; discovering that his mother and two cousins had made it to New York; and joining his family in New York after the war.
    Mr. Walter Schnell
    Linda G. Kuzmack
    interview:  1989 June 28
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

    Physical Details

    Oral histories.
    2 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Schnell, Walter, 1904-

    Administrative Notes

    Linda Kuzmack, on behalf of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History Branch, conducted the oral history interview with Walter Schnell on June 28, 1989.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:01:21
    This page:

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