Monday, March 4, 2013

The Hermann Pressman Diary: From Berlin to Antwerp and the Bronx: A Life in Pre-War Europe...

In the decade of the 1930s, the years that led to the Holocaust, many Jewish families fled Nazi-led Germany for other lands. One such family was that of Zysia and Hinda Pressman , and their two children Hermann and Sonia. They had originally come from Poland, but they had moved to Berlin where Zysia had a thriving clothing business.
When Hitler came to power, son Hermann made the decision to leave Berlin, and in the Spring of 1933 he immigrated to Antwerp, Belgium. It was not easy, but he convinced his parents to do the same, and they and Sonia joined him.
So they began their lives in Antwerp, though it was not easy -- Zysia could neither find success in setting up a new business, nor could he gain residence permits for he and his family. Finally, the family decided to seek a better life with more opportunities, and they decided to immigrate to the United States in April 1934, traveling on a Red Star Line ship for New York, where they began their new life.
Hermann's diary tells of his day-to-day activities in Berlin, then Antwerp, and finally as a resident of the United States (the Bronx). His diary tells of his friends and their times together, his relationship with other members of his family, his attempts to gain a residence permit.  At times he also gives his impressions of the tragedy that was occurring in Nazi Germany during this time. 
He then writes about his life in the Bronx, about the family clothing business, the courtship of his future wife and more.
You can visit the exhibition here.

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