Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Leo Liffman - May 15, 1985

The Nuremberg Laws, 1935

What was the reaction to the Nuremberg Laws?

Well actually, the reaction to the Nuremberg Laws, even though they weren't there yet, I started to react already in nineteen hundred and thirty-three when I lost a job. But, in nineteen hundred and thirty-five in the September days, our group, and when I say our group, I mean the Komaraden I mentioned to you before, still was a small group there, we listened to these laws, which were enumerated and explained or not too much explanation either over the radio. And this, we realized, all of us, we were uh, oh, twenty, twenty-one years at the time, that this was a death knell, economically speaking at this point, for the Jewish people, for us. We had to get out, I mean, come hell or high water, which unfortunately, was not that simple. Matter of fact uh, I said my, my reaction started already in nineteen hundred and thirty-three, that I tried to make contact somewhere along the line with people who could help me to leave Germany. And it took me, to go a little bit ahead of myself, from about nineteen hundred and thirty-four until nineteen hundred and thirty-eight to be able to leave Germany. It was not that simple. Nobody wanted us. Whether it was latent anti-Semitism or self-preservations of the other countries, at this point in time, I don't know. One can you have a good guess reading David Wyman that nobody give a care about the Jewish people really. But um, it was not that simple. I find the...After these laws were printed big in the papers, the protection of the German Blood and Honor or the German Citizenship Law, I found some cousins in New York who were finally willing to give me an affidavit. That wasn't that easy either because you, the person that had to give you an affidavit had to make sure to make that they had money in the bank, that they could support you, that you are not going to be a public charge in the United States. All these had, had to be uh, uh, worked out and it wasn't all that simple. So, it took four years finally to get uh, this show on the road.

Was there ever a point you where you um, felt that you weren't going to leave?

Oh, I tell you, there was a point where I was a little bit, how should I say uh, unnerved.

Tell me about that.

Well, before...There was a time I would say...I'll put it in a time frame around nineteen hundred and thirty-six...In the meantime, I had gotten another job. After Leonard Tietz, a small business that I, I worked in, this company had to close also. Until nineteen hundred and thirty-seven. There I had a time where I had just felt, man I can't get out of here. What am I going to do? You know, I went that far as to inquiring if I could join the French Legion, the Foreign Legion? Just inquiring. That's how, how nervous one could get but after thinking about it, I kept my cool. I never followed up on that one. Then my cousin then wrote in early nineteen hundred and thirty-eight that she had the papers for me and she would send them to me. But it's a different story. But, I was unnerved, yes. Because I lost a job and I could hardly... I had a hard time finding another job. There were about four or five months where I was almost a nervous wreck, yes.

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