Tag Archives: American styles

May 21, 1934 New York, New York

May 21, 1934 New York, New York

[Editor’s Note: This letter was begun on May 21, 1934, written over several days and finished May 24, 1934. ]

May 21, 1934 315 W. 106th St., N.Y. Noon.

My dear Goldchildren:

Don’t be too happy that I am writing so much now, in the beginning but I am experiencing and see so much now that I like to keep a record of it before I forget some of it.

Thursday evening I went with both girls for a walk on Broadway. We very shortly visited that man from the ship and were pretty early back home. Broadway at night looks exactly like you see in the movies and on pictures. When we came home some michpocha, who send their regards, were there.

Friday I woke up at 9:00. I did not hear the girls leave. At 11:00 Mrs. Heinsheimer and Margot picked Gustl and me up and took us to the enormously large Radio City Music Hall, pretty new holding 5-6000 people. The whole show lasted from 11:30 to 3:00 p.m.

First a movie, to which I have to get used to. They are so different from what they show in Germany, but the photography is wonderful. Next the ballet. You can’t imagine. About 100 girls all about the same nice figure, same color hair, not one wrong step. Excellent. And then a shortened version of Madame Butterfly all with beautiful scenery.

The admission in the morning is not too much and the house is always full. You really got your money’s worth.

Radio City post card

Radio City Circa 1934

The whole building is really beautiful. A very big foyer. On every floor restrooms for women and men. Big restrooms with everywhere running hot and cold water as much as you want all the time plus soap and paper towels. And the newest thing — an electric blower to dry your hands. And all that for free.

After we had nourished our ears and eyes we went to eat in an automatic restaurant. For little money you get the best food there. Everything is very clean, orderly and appetizing. We then went by subway to their business to get a few things out of my trunk which I am storing there while in N.Y. Mr. H. showed me the place before we went home.

At 5:30 Rudy picked me up with his car. He drove by the oldest Jewish cemetery here, through some of Chinatown which is very interesting. After diner I dressed up and Bertl pinned some white flowers, a pearl necklace, on my red dress.

Women are wearing a lot of flowers even real ones. The styles here are very different. Much more elegant and chic. You all, especially Liss, should see how much I have Americanized already with powder and lipstick. The ladies have beautiful hairstyles — too fancy for me. A little longer over the ears and a roll away from the head and curls in the back. Also they use bright red nail polish. I will have to learn that too.

window shopping

Saks Style

That reminds me that it would be a great idea for Doddo [one of Trudel’s sisters] to learn beauty make-up and hairstyling. It is used so very much here. Also , it would be a good idea to learn to make good chocolate candies. Here they are lousy. But much better here is the ice cream.

Maybe you could earn some money with the dessert we had at the gala dinner on the boat: good vanilla ice cream in an oblong square about 1 inch high. 2 inches wide and 3 inches long, covered with a very thin layer of chocolate and put on a wooden stick and wrapped in cellophane to eat out of the hand. It is called a Good Humor.

I am enjoying the food here very much but would like a real salad like I am used to sometime since somehow it is very different here.

Friday night we had lots of company, all young people here. Saturday we all slept late since the girls did not have school. After breakfast Bernice went with me to the harbor to mail the previous letter on the Aquitania and waited ‘til the ship left. That boat ran into a fireboat when it came in and wrecked it. We walked far around that.

We went again in an automatic restaurant for lunch. There we met Marion the other Hamburg girl. Then the three of us went to the most elegant shopping area 5th Ave. We went into the two finest stores, Macy’s and Sax 5th Ave. You cannot imagine such elegant beautiful stores.

Just image the best and biggest store in Frankfurt, one department is that size but much more beautiful. The windows are decorated fantastic. Then we went to Woolworth where I bought this pad of writing paper. The then big public library. We took a little rest at the gorgeous hotel Waldorf Astoria. That you cannot compare with anything in Germany. The size of the decorations’ everything.

And everywhere free restroom toilets and washrooms — separate, men’s and women’s. Since the women use so much makeup they really need those places to refresh and repaint themselves.

Then we looked at the Rockefeller Ctr. That is a big plaza with beautiful flowers and a gold statue and the big building. On the other side is the Empire State Building. The tallest building in the world. If it does not cost too much I hope to go to the top one day. We went through Radio City home and arrived very tired with sore feet about 6:00 p.m.

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

After dinner Bernice and I went to visit an old friend from Germany around the corner from here. His room is on the 15th floor. We had a very nice visit and he walked us almost home but it started to rain and he ran home. We stopped at 9:30 at night to buy some hosiery.

Before retiring I wrote a few very important postal cards and just as I went to bed a real big thunderstorm came up the Hudson. I have a great view of the river from my bed which stands right by the window. I always liked to watch thunderstorms but this was the biggest most beautiful I have ever seen and of course I thought of my sister Doddo which I do anyhow often.

While I am writing now Bernice is playing the piano for me. This 5-room apartment with 3 bathrooms and a big kitchen is very comfortable and nice.

That evening I had a letter from Aunt Henny. She thought I would only stay a few days in N.Y. and get through her son a free pass for the bus for me only good until today. That is impossible. So Ludwig went with me to the bus company. That pass is good until June 1st. On May 30 is a big holiday here and I do not want to be in the road that day. The 31st is too late, so I will leave here on Monday the 28th at 9:00 a.m. and will arrive in Chicago on Tuesday the 29th at 4:00 p.m. The trip takes 32 hours and costs only $4 including my baggage.

I am so lucky with everything. I am really glad if I can relax when I get to Chicago. Sure hope everything keeps going o.k. Today it is very hot here but they say this is nothing. How is the weather there? Have you found a new apartment yet? Please show this letter to anyone interested, I can write it all once only. Did Liss get her birthday present. Now I have to think of every birthday two weeks in advance.

Yesterday morning we went to services at the oldest synagogue here. 108 years old and very beautiful with wood carvings and beautiful painting. The girls all looked like birds. All white long dresses with short sleeves very elegant. All the same flower bouquet in their hands. The service was very good but it was very hard for me to understand much of it. I was introduced to the very much liked and very good nice Rabbi and we talked a little together. You can imagine how I felt.

Continued May 22nd at Noon.

Ernst Cahn just said to me now it is 5:00 p.m. in Frankfurt and Lotte is probably yawning and anxious to get home. Right?

In the meantime had some more things happen to me. I got an invitation for dinner and will buy an American style dress tomorrow. I really need it.

May 24th, 1934 10:00 a.m.

Finally I get back to this letter.

We went shopping yesterday morning and I bought a very pretty dress for only $3.50 and a pair of dressy white shoes for $3.98. More than the dress which is red with some little colored trim, short sleeves and 3/4 sleeves. It looks very good on me and makes me appear more like a U.S.A. girl.

Last night I was for dinner at a very nice lady. Her sister and husband were there too. They all were real nice to me. They urged me to go to Chicago now and if I do not like it and cannot find work come back to N.Y. at any time. If the traveling costs are so little, I may be able to do that. After excellent dinner and pleasant conversation I went home at 10:30.

What did you do on Shavuos? [Pentecost]. Nothing is noticed here. How were the confirmations on Shavuos?
Did Alex get safely to Munich and back? Please send me the address of Adele. Is she still in the hospital? I really should write her once.

I am closing this letter now so it won’t get too heavy and start a new one. Everybody here sends best regards. Greetings and kisses, yours …..


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May 26-28, 1934 Weekday nights going out and Saturday night early to bed!

May 26-28, 1934 Weekday nights going out and Saturday night early to bed!

Written over several days

May 26, 1934 at noon
Picking up where I left off this morning. . .

6 yrs. ago today I had my confirmation.

In order that my laziness would not get too bad I dressed up nicely and went downtown with Gertl. We looked again at some of the skyscrapers.

1930s Escalator

One has stairs that go up and down automatically on a ribbon. You can get on the bottom step and it goes electrical up. If you are in a hurry you walk up or down the steps while they automatically go up or down slowly. Walking goes almost twice as fast. Then we went to the railroad station where they have doors that open automatically when you are 2 steps before it and close when you are 2 steps through it.

Anyhow I noticed that the women here worry much too much about clothes. In Germany we would say they have no other worries.

On the way home we stopped again for a soda. Supper I had with a friend who lives with a very nice lady since he is here. He then went with me to one of the worst neighborhoods here to do an errand for Aunt Henny and then we visited some relatives of his who could talk German but made me talk English. Very nice folks.

I hope my letters are detailed enough. Now comes a special part for Pappa. Yesterday morning Ludwig met me at the subway station near his business and took me to Wall Street. Unfortunately it was raining. That neighborhood is very interesting. One big bank next to the other. We could not get inside the stock exchange since we would have had to have a member to take us inside and it would have taken too long to find somebody Ludwig knows. Instead we visited 2 stockbrokers.

Broker's office

The stocks and their prices are sent directly from the exchange sent there by wire and immediately displayed on a film strip on a wall. One can see and watch what is going on at the exchange continuously. In one of those places they had on a big wall a special part for the most common stocks in alphabetical order and changed them all the time. It was fascinating. Hope you can understand my description. After stopping at a beautiful aquarium we ate lunch at an automatic restaurant again.

Then I went with him to his business to pack my trunk ready. He had already all my belongings from their apartment downtown. As he emptied an old trunk to put my things in some old photos fell out and the one on top was of Pappa, Mother, and Lotte in Niederhausen in 1909. Funny.

When I came home I was really exhausted and slept for 2 hrs then Rudy picked me up. We went on the roof garden of a beautiful big hotel. The first thing I noticed was the fact that in such a fancy, elegant place people come in any kind of dress. Beautiful evening dresses and black tie, also tailored suits, casual clothes even slacks. Since it was raining we could not sit outside. It was too cold. But just as in old times we did a lot of dancing. He has gotten even heavier than he used to be but we still can dance very well together. I laughed very much at the other couples the way they danced. The females holding on tight to their partners as if they were afraid they might run away. Besides the dancing was really more hopping and jumping.

The day before yesterday we got home at 2:00 a.m. Yesterday I was really lazy. No appointments or dates. At noon I went with Marion to lunch at an automat and then to see “Catherine the Great” with Elizabeth Bergner at the movie. I know this movie is forbidden in Germany. I liked it very much.

Catherine The Great

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In the evening I talked to several people from the boat on the phone and some family members came by and we looked at old snapshots. Last night we 3 girls slept for the first time in 2 beds. It worked fine.

Isn’t that the right way — weekday nights going out and Saturday night early to bed!

This morning we took it easy and I packed my trunk and the girls went with me to say goodbye to some people. We met a few walking down Broadway. Just like Goethe Strasse in Frankfort. At 3:00 p.m. I have a date with Kurt D. I hope you received 3 postal cards in the meantime.

Monday early a.m.

I will leave here in 5 min. so goodbye for now.

Love & Kisses Trudel.

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October 12, 1934 “He claimed I did not iron his underwear properly and burnt his breakfast bacon on purpose.”

October 12, 1934 “He claimed I did not iron his underwear properly and burnt his breakfast bacon on purpose.”

Oct 12, 1934 9:00 p.m.

My dear, dear ones.

I am in such a good happy mood that I want to share it with you and try to write as sensible a letter as possible.

I have been very concerned why Papa did not thank me personally for his birthday letter. He has written otherwise. Is something wrong? I sure hope every thing is o.k.

Yesterday I received Ernale’s letter with newspaper clipping and a postcard from Alex. In the evening I was at Weils. It is always very nice and relaxing there.

How do you like the picture of my newest and hopefully last friend on his stationery. Two weeks ago after we met in his office, we went for dinner as I told you on the postal card. Then I had a date with him one week later. And now we see each other almost every day.*

A week ago Monday I appeared as a witness in the divorce case between Aunt Henny and Uncle Julius. It was really fun for me. It seemed to me like a movie. I did not testify against either one since after all they both were instrumental in bringing me here. He claimed I did not iron his underwear properly, and burnt his breakfast bacon on purpose. After all I told them I did not know how to iron and had never seen bacon especially those thin slices they eat here for breakfast.

Next Monday is another hearing in Court.**



After court Aunt and I went to Chinatown. First a big dept. store and then chop suey dinner. It was very interesting. The day before Mr. Grossberg, aunt’s lawyer took me to an Italian restaurant.

On Sunday I was for the first time in a really Reform temple. Gigantic big, wonderful Rabbi, excellent choir and quite crowded. Tuesday I had a real German dinner at Rose’s and afterwards went to Samuels, they are a very nice family. The next night a real American dinner at Grossbergs. As you see I can get everything here.

temple sholom

Temple Sholom

On Saturday I did something for the first and probably the last time. I went to a Beauty Parlor school where I got for only 35¢ my hair set. But it took almost 2 hrs. It looked very nice once I was done but after 2 days it was all gone. And I was 3/4 hrs late for my date with Leonard.

I think I [will] have my hair cut as I used to have it tomorrow. The last time I had it cut was May 5th!

In the meantime I have been to the movies a few times. With Mr. Grossberg, I saw “Notorious Sophie Lang” a very exciting diamond smugglers story and with Opa “Of Human Bondage,” excellent and “The Love of Ariane” with Elisabeth Bergner. Very nice.

Of Human BondageMany people claim that I resemble Elisabeth Bergner, anyway the story could almost be my story. And then there were second movies [double features]. Some with Charlie Chaplin, extremely funny. But “Death on the Diamond” which I saw with Leonard was awfully upsetting.

The reason I tell you all this is to let you know what you should or should not see when it comes to you.Ariane

At work things are slowing down already. We don’t start until 1:00 p.m. every day and naturally earn much less money. But I manage o.k.

Glad to hear you found a new milliner. Tomorrow I have a date with Louise Hamburger to fit some hats. I had dinner with Alfred [Hamburger] one night last week. He is as nice and goodhearted as ever, but he is very stubborn and in business very hard to get along with.

You must have found a lot of junk when you cleaned out the old apt. I got $10 for that figurine and will buy a dress and pair of shoes with it. It is very easy to spend money here.

Ernale’s last letter came via San Francisco but still took only 13 days.

Elizabeth Bergner

Elizabeth Bergner

I would love to have a snapshot of Beethoven Str 5B so I can get an idea which building it is and I would also like to know how you have your furniture arranged so I can get an idea.

The weather is here now beautiful –like May or June in Ffm [Frankfurt]. In the evening it gets nice and cool.

Did you know that we have here 2 different times. One is called Standard Time – the same always for railroads and buses, etc., and then they change the clock 1 hr in the summer for Daylight Savings Time. Very confusing.

Since I meet Leonard often, I talk a lot of English. Sometimes he tries to talk German to me and it really sounds very funny.

By the way my boss Gus Bing will get married next week. Our forelady Marie told me and she is very happy. Die Fledermaus Poster

Today I received postal cards from Gaby and and heard from Richard Bloch. In the meantime I did hear from [Kurt?] Stevenhagen.

Shame on you Ernale for getting drunk. And flirting with 10 men at the same time!!

Regards as usual from Aunt Henny who calls me her sister now. I doubt that I will go with her to Florida. It is expensive and I do not feel like it. She plans to leave Nov. 1.

CarmenIt is already 11:30 and I should retire. Tonight I was all alone at home. Henny left me a note that she is visiting with some friends for a few days. It was delightful to be alone for a change.

Civic Opera Building

Civic Opera House

Tomorrow I hope to see Carmen in the opera house and in 2 weeks hope to hear the Fledermaus in German, also in the opera house.

Somebody on the radio just said “Good Night” and so do I.


*[A “comment” at this point in Trudel’s handwritten translation of this letter reads, “When Aunt Henny heard that he was divorced over one year, she urged me to date him. She even would have liked to join us because she thought he had a lot of money. When she found out that he lost everything in his attempt to be re-elected as alderman of his ward, she tried very hard to talk me out of meeting him again.” It is not clear whether this comment was in her original letter or whether she added it when doing her translation. ]

** [ A comment here says, “My new friend did not take the case but certainly took the supposedly witness.” My father had been asked to represent one of the parties, but he refused. Again, It is not clear that this sentence was part of the original letter, but the line, in one variant or another was part of family lore. ]


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January 1, 1935 “Happy New Year! It was the most beautiful New Year’s Eve I ever had.”

January 1, 1935 “Happy New Year! It was the most beautiful New Year’s Eve I ever had.”

Jan 1, 1935

Happy New Year!

In my last letter I forgot to put a number, so today with the New Year I shall start with #1 again.

LaSalle Hotel New Year's Eve Menu

Menu Cover from LaSalle Hotel (a decade later)

Between midnight and 1 a.m. this morning I wanted to write a postal card to you but no matter how hard he tried, my sweetheart could not find a postal card in the whole La Salle Hotel. So now you know already where we started the New Year with good friends.

But now I want to tell things in chronological order.

I had a very enjoyable Xmas. We played Santa Klaus for darling Flora Mae. We spent the afternoon with her with a lot of presents. In the evening we went to a movie and then had a cognac at one of Leonard’s friends and we came home very late.

LaSalle Hotel

LaSalle Hotel

I told you already about the stockings I filled for my darling. Well, I never had more fun than when I watched him take out each little package and carefully unwrap it. And I got an extra kiss for each of the 32 packages* and I also received a beautiful Xmas card with a saying just perfect for both of us, and a gorgeous evening dress, made to order this week especially for last night. Enclosed samples.

The dress was made from the white and silver brocade and the short jacket is red velvet with a matching coat, silver shoes, and a small white pearl evening bag. From the left over materials I made myself a pretty turban. I really looked beautiful. I felt like the prettiest and most elegant woman there. I even went to a beauty parlor to have my hair and fingernails (not bright red) done.

We were together with Gwen and Ed Bishop. She is the one we tried to see horseback riding on my birthday. It was a great beginning for the New Year. We drank quite a bit and several times to your good health and well being and a good 1935.

Walkathon Ending

Near the End of a Walk-a-Thon (Life)

After supper we went to a walk-a-thon. You probably remember the marathon dancing. Here instead of dancing these poor people are walking or dragging themselves around for 22 days continuously now.

Leonard knows the manager and he announced us when we arrived over the microphone. I felt very funny having to stand up and get applause. We stayed only a very short time. By the way, at the La Salle Hotel we were followed by a newspaper photographer. If they print a picture I will of course send you a copy. We went to several other places and came home at 7:15 a.m. It was the most beautiful New Year’s Eve I ever had.

I better go to bed now to sleep out my hang-over.


(On the edge of the letter, In German)

Greetings to you all. We celebrated the most beautiful New Year’s eve in our lives, with my beautiful sweetheart the prettiest young woman in the world. I wish you all as much happiness as Trudelchen is bringing me.


* In her handwritten corrections to the typescript of her translation, she inserted the Yiddish word chalomes before “packages.” But that doesn’t seem to make sense. It seems to mean “dreams.”



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January 25, 1935 “….setting my hair with curlers and pins as it is proper for a real American lady.”

January 25, 1935 “….setting my hair with curlers and pins as it is proper for a real American lady.”

Friday Eve 1/25/35

My Dear Good Daddy:

As you can see this was only an empty threat to my sisters that I would not write unless they wrote to me. I would never think of not writing to you regularly. I was very happy to receive your nice letter of Jan. 10th yesterday.

Please excuse my writing with pencil tonight. I am already undressed after giving myself my weekly, very necessary manicure, a shampoo and setting my hair with curlers and pins as it is proper for a real American lady. Now I am wondering how my hair is going to look tomorrow. Who knows what kind of wild look I will have when I am planning to go to Weils tomorrow.

Tonight I went downtown and the stores were trying to close right before my nose. I managed to get in one, so they closed behind my back.

Yes, you are right. My letters are written just as I happen to think of it. But I am trying to answer your letters as well as possible. I always read them over a few times but in the future will have them at hand when I write to make sure I answer everything.

Trudel with flowers

Not so wild

Did Liss receive my Xmas letter? I wrote about 10 of them. I picked the nicest one for her and at the same time thanked her for the sweet greeting she sent me. Hope she got it.

Have not heard from Aunt Henny again all week. I suppose I have to send her a postal card again to remind her that I still walk among the living. (And hopefully for a very long time as well and happy as now.)

I have not talked again to Mrs. Greenfelder-Stein’s sister in law. I will probably call her next week since we are starting work later.

Thanks G’d. I have now found a way so I do not have to eat alone every night in a basement restaurant (for about 35¢). Wednesday nights I usually eat at Gwen Bishop’s and stay overnight. Sat. and Sunday of course I am with Leonard.

The other evenings I shall sometimes eat with a very nice Jewish couple here in the building. I made her a hat out of some fur she had and I got the bright idea to ask them. I asked her if she would mind very much to cook for 3 instead of 2. I pay the same as I would in the restaurant but get good home cooked food and nice company. Tonight I had my 1st meal with then and I enjoyed it so very much.

Also I am very glad if I can go home directly after work in this lousy weather. It was bitter cold all week–12 degrees Fahrenheit. You have to figure out yourself what that would be Celsius. Today it was melting and the streets are awful slippery.

If you should talk to Rabbi Salzberger please give him my regards. I am concerned that he never answered my letter from Sept.

How do you like Leonard’s German writing? In the future I will write a translation of what he writes in English.

Now I am tired I want to go to sleep.

My loving greetings to everybody.

Your ever loving Trudel


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