Segment 2


The Nazis were on their march throughout Europe but his family kept their trip [Annotator’s Note: their immigration to the United States] moving forward. He ended up coming over in September [Annotator’s Note: 1938]. He was able to get Bar Mitzvah'd. It was so tense in Germany they wondered whether they could leave after his Bar Mitzvah on a Saturday; Jews were not supposed to travel on the Sabbath. The Rabbi granted them permission to travel on the 1 o'clock train because their situation was so dire. His father, a decorated soldier wounded in the German artillery in World War I, looked out on the main street and saw German soldiers walking around. He thought there were too many soldiers walking around for war to begin that day. They left the next morning. Two days later the famous meeting with the British Prime Minister Chamberlain and Hitler took place, in which Chamberlain agreed to give part of Czechoslovakia to Germany. He will always be remembered as "The Appeaser," but realistically he did not have any choice. Ettlinger states that this was because while the United States put people to work under Roosevelt through the WPA, Hitler put people to work by making weapons for war.Ettlinger landed on 9 October 1938 and on 9 November the real persecution of the German Jews began with Kristallnacht, which Ettlinger claims was the real beginning of the Holocaust.In school, Ettlinger was an A and B [Annotators Note: He uses 1 and 2's] student. When Hitler came on board his grades went to B's and C's. He was ignored by his fellow students who were not Jewish. He did not have any Christian friends anymore. They would have been condemned if they had been his friend. After Hitler came into power, Jews were no longer citizens in their own country and all the young people had to go to Jewish schools. His brothers started Jewish school is 1936, while he stayed one more year in the regular school. Ettlinger was allowed to stay because his father was a decorated World War I veteran in the German artillery, but that came to an end in 1937 so his last year in Germany he changed to a Jewish school.Interviewer asks questions about his arrival in the United States.The Ettlingers stayed in Manhattan, in Washington Heights. It was inhabited by German Jews. He entered public school just days after arriving. He learned English. There was no bilingual education, just American English. After about 3 months of living in a studio apartment, all 5 members of his family moved to the last street in Manhattan and lived there from January 1939 to April 1940 until they moved to Newark, New Jersey. His middle brother, Klaus, was a genius and had a high IQ. He wanted to become a chef when he was 11 years old. Later on when Ettlinger was drafted, Klaus enlisted in the Navy to be a cook at 17. His father was advised to establish a store in the west like Illinois or Indiana. So they moved west, all the way to Newark, New Jersey. [Annotators Note: Ettlinger chuckles at the irony of moving so far ‘west’.]


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