We left Berlin when I was 9 months old and went to Shanghai, China. That was the only place that would let us in. I remember poverty, war, filth, hunger, and disease. The allies bombed Shanghai. We covered ourselves with blankets in the house, and put our fingers in our ears to block the sounds of the bombs. Food was always a problem. Doctors were not familiar with European diseases and sickness. We did not have a toilet; we had to use a bucket. We had one small room and my dad tailored clothes to make money. A Jewish philanthropist, Horace Kadoori, donated the school I went to. It was called the Kadoori School.
In May, 1941 the Japanese invaded Shanghai. We were placed in the Honghew ghetto. The ghetto was two square miles and held 20,000 Jews and 60,000 Chinese people. We couldn’t leave except to work. We needed a pass from the Japanese. The Japanese administrator (Goya) was very sadistic. He slapped people for no reason and demeaned others. He was extremely cruel to the Chinese. The Germans tried to influence the Japanese to kill Jews but they did not follow their advice.
After the war (1948) we had three choices of where to go; Europe, Palestine, or the United States. Most people went to the United States because it had the most opportunities. The quotas were liberalized. Jewish agencies like JDC (Joint Distribution Committee) and HIAS helped us to apply for visas. We came on the ship General Gordon that carried soldiers but was converted for refugees. We landed in San Francisco. We couldn’t even imagine supermarkets with so much food. It was hard to believe we were now free, it was beautiful. We had enough food to eat.