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Oral history interview with Walter Silberstein

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.69 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0069

Walter Silberstein, born November 9, 1902 in Stargard, Germany (Poland), describes being the son of the only rabbi serving around Stargard; studying engineering and economics in Berlin and Leipzig; nearly completed his doctorate when his University of Leipzig professors were fired for their political views in 1933; returning to Berlin in 1934 after a brief business venture in Prague, Czech Republic; living with his parents until July 1939 when he left for Shanghai, China without a visa; his voyage on a German luxury liner and the shock of arriving in the Hongkew district of Shanghai during a cholera epidemic; the character of the native and newcomer Jewish communities and the political subdivisions of Shanghai; his parents arriving in 1940 with Japanese visas; his father serving as rabbi to the refugee community; their life after the December 1941 occupation by the Japanese; serving with other Jews, Russians, and Chinese in the Pao Chia as air-raid wardens and ghetto guards in the summer of 1945; leading a contented life between the American liberation on September 6, 1945 and the Communist takeover in 1949; leaving in 1950 with his mother and returning to Germany; living in displaced persons camps at Rhön and Föhrenwald; and arriving in the United States on October 29, 1951.

Interviewee
Walter Silberstein
Date
1981 November 09  (interview)
1981 November 17  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
5 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, gift of the Holocaust Oral History Archive of Gratz College
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:55:04
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508693