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Welcome to the World of Trudel Adler

Welcome to the World of Trudel Adler

Trudel Adler, my mother, came to the United States 1934 when she was 21 years old. She frequently wrote long letters home to her family in Germany and asked them to save her letters and they did — over two hundred handwritten pages.

Trudel was an amazing young woman who grew into a fascinating warm wonderful woman, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was funny, serious, forthright, and considerate. She worked hard all of her life and gave to the world more than she ever got. The tale of the rest of her life was full of challenge,sadness and joy. These early years are more than that. They reveal the strength of character, the chutspa, the love, that helped her through all those years. Preparing her letters for this blog has been like entering a conversation with her and getting to know the young woman I never met.

Trudel as in Strudel

When asked how to pronounce or spell her name, Trudel, would reply, “Trudel, as in strudel.” She always said the “s” in strudel was for sugar and she was sweet enough without it. But all was not sweetness and light. In 1933, Trudel wrote in her diary, “There is no future for Jewish youth in Germany. I think I shall go to Palestine.”

Now in Chronological Order

On May 8, 1934 she sailed for the United States. What happened next is told in her letters which are now posted in chronological order. If you are on the home page just scroll down. Otherwise, start here.

(Note: Because the usual order of posts in a blog is latest first, the navigation links at the bottom of each screen are reversed – “older posts” will take you to the next set. “Newer posts” will take you to the previous set. I’ll find a way to fix that later. An alternative method would be to use the month by month archived posts.)


Here is a link to the most recent post:

  • September 7, 1937 – The Last Letter.
  • Trudel on the ship

    Trudel on the S.S. Manhattan, May 1934

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    May 9, 1934 On board SS Manhattan.

    May 9, 1934  On board SS Manhattan.

    On board SS Manhattan. Wednesday, May 9, 1934.

    My Dear Goldkinder,

    To start with I want to apologize for my handwriting. It is now 4:00 p.m. and I am sitting on deck in a lightweight sweater in bright sunshine in a beach chair. The boat is shaking slightly from one side to the other on a rather quiet and beautiful ocean.

    I found already nice company. We found each other even before the ship left Hamburg yesterday. Doddo can tell you much about it.

    It is really wonderful here. After departure we visited for a little while, had a glass of beer and sandwiches until we retired about 11:30 p.m. I slept wonderful until 5:00 a.m. when the sun shone one me so invitingly that I first looked out the porthole for a little while, went back to sleep until 7:30 a.m.

    We all met before breakfast until we were seated. The nice guy who tried to flirt with me last night and I are sitting at a table together. He is from Budapest and already fifteen years in New York. He reminds me of some other friends. Two girls sit alone because they eat kosher. The others are spread around. After a very large breakfast we went for a walk, then we rented chairs and are resting from doing nothing.

    We are always in groups of four or six or more. This morning I also played ping pong to improve my appetite! In between they served consomme and crackers. After dinner we played catch, etc. before resting in our chairs again, three hours except for taking a few snapshots. It is good that my table mate is American. He can read the menu And tell me what it is. Just now we got tea and cookies.

    I am getting lazier by the minute. Your know what corns on a certain place are? Well I think I am getting them.

    On Deck

    On the Deck of the SS Manhattan May 9, 1934

    There are several people on board who have given me regards from friends but I am not very interested in most of them.

    Tomorrow, weather permitting, a few of us want to walk a bit around LeHavre. Now I want to take a nap before dinner. Hope you can read this o.k.

    Love, Trudel



    The next letter is May 17. I will try to post more photos from the ship before then.

    Shortlink to this page: http://wp.me/p1yA95-c

     
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    Posted by on May 9, 1934 in diary, family, Letters, Memoir

     

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    May 10,1934 On Board the SS Manhattan

    May 10,1934  On Board the SS Manhattan

    May 10, 1934

    My very dear ones,

    It is really too beautiful to be true. But it is true thank God and I am enjoying it as much as possible. We are now in the Channel and on my handwriting you can see our boat is shaking quite a bit.

    After I closed my letter yesterday we had to change clothes and after supper we danced on a slippery dance floor. At midnight two girls and five males went to the cabin of two of the men and had a drink, cookies and chocolate. At 2:00 a.m. we all finally went into our own cabins.

    At 8:15 a.m. this morning Eugene Hollander with whom I sit at the tables, picked me up for breakfast. At 9:30 a.m. twelve of us went like a little caravan through Le Havre. Since all twelve of us are non-Aryan I heard more Hebrew and Yiddish than I used to hear in a year. I mailed the letter to you there.

    We all stopped for a cognac And were back on board at 12:30 for dinner. Ernst Calin, who used to work with Ernst Cahn who used to work with you, Doddo? He would like to join our group but we do not care for his company. Especially my table partner, who is very intelligent guy–that’s why we are friends, ha, ha, ha. He talks many languages and was all over the world in all big cities.

    Trudel and her group on deck.

    on deck

    On deck with Trudel


    After dinner I rested and then I jumped into the very salty Channel pool and swam for about ½ hour, then a shower and now laying on deck to make my light rose cheeks darker.
    By the way all immigrants were thoroughly searched for money etc. Not only I.

    This morning before breakfast we ran around the deck about 15x to get a good appetite. We have to take advantage of this excellent food. I am too lazy to write others but you but received a few letters.

    This afternoon in Le Havre about 100 more people came on board. I hope I do not get a roommate. It is so nice to be alone in my cabin.

    Hopefully the weather stays as nice so I can come to the USA looking like a Negro.

    Sorry I am writing so mixed up but I tell you things as they come in my mind. Last night I noticed that our ship can shake much more. The dance floor seemed to slip away under our feet but we all stayed upright. I hope we will dance again tonight, although I am now so tired that my eyes can hardly stay open. Greetings to everybody.

    Loads of love and kisses your much to be envied,

    Trudel.

    P.S. We are all so happy and healthy together and feel so free!

     
     

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    May 17, 1934 Social Butterfly – on ship and on land.

    May 17, 1934 Social Butterfly – on ship and on land.

    New York. May 17, 1934.

    Well, here goes my very dear ones. I do not know where to begin this today. Please save my letters and if possible get them to me some day since I am to busy to keep a diary.

    I am sitting here in my new room, which is actually the room of the two Hamburg girls. They do not come home from school until 5:30 p.m. and I am looking forward to meeting them.

    It is only 1:00 p.m. here–7:00 for you. I do not think I have to tell you how very wonderful the trip was on the Manhattan and you are probably not interest to hear that passengers were trying to marry me to three different men. One of three was on the ship too and we both thought it was very funny. The others were willing to spend $2.00 to have a wedding on the ship!

    My table partner, who was definitely the nicest man on board is married and has a five-year-old darling boy, wanted me to meet a cousin etc. He was friendly with everybody especially a very pretty midget woman who was with a group of midgets as entertainers.

    A partner for the smallest man


    Actually the trip so far went much too fast and as Doddo and Lu can verify, the food was plenty and excellent. Breakfast about 8:30 a.m. Fruit or juice, cooked cereal and either two soft boiled eggs or lox and coffee, rolls or sweet rolls. At 10:30 they served us consomme and crackers (I called it matzos) and at 1:00 p.m. we went for lunch–at least five courses. Then again at 5:00 p.m. tea and cookies and 7:30 dinner.

    I was the only girl who was in slacks almost all the time. I have to admit that I was very popular and friendly with every lady almost. Of course I am the first on the passenger list and the two kosher Zimmerman girls the last. We have gotten very friendly. The older of those two and I were the only females in tourist class who did not get seasick at all.

    Friends on Deck


    At first we had beautiful weather but at the end of the week it got pretty rough and we did have to get used to it. After a couple of days it got very nice again. One afternoon we had games on deck. It was hilarious. First, for ladies they string up crackers to reach without hands. Second, for men a sack race. Third, transferring a bean with a straw from one plate to another. There I was number two. Fourth, for men only. Fifth, girls had their eyes covered and had to make a mark on a special place with chalk. I was best there–my prize was a little Manhattan sailor. I gave that to the nice midget lady because she was sick. Then two guys bought one for me.

    Unfortunately I went swimming only 2x. But that was great. At 5:00 p.m. every day they showed movies. I only went for three shows of that garbage. I suppose I have to get used to it. At 9:00 p.m. there always was “horse racing” and afterwards dancing. I wore my evening dress three times. During the day, even for lunch in slacks and then dress up for dinner. In the time between on deck, sleeping or playing or walking or standing on my hands to prove how well I felt.

    Our little group entertained the whole tourist class. We also went to inspect the kitchen. The chef is from Frankfurt. Anyhow there are many German employees on that boat.

    We also took a lot of photos. When I have all the pictures together I will send them to you.

    Now to what I really wanted to write today. After a pretty bad storm yesterday morning the sea got calm again but it was much colder. At 9:00 p.m. we saw the first lights of the U.S.A. Then we came slowly closer. The lights along the coast looked like a string of pearls. Slowly we could see more and more. At 12:30 the ship stopped a few miles from the harbor.

    We visited for a while with the kitchen chef from [?] We stood on deck for quite some time and it was funny to hear the Americans argue when they could see. We went very late to sleep. I woke up at 6:30 and was supposed to be at breakfast at 6:30. I never heard my alarm. After breakfast we got ready and up on deck since we started at 7:00 to get closer to shore. Unfortunately it was getting very foggy and we could not see very much. It was just like we see on our photos, postal cards and movies.

    Smallest Man

    The Smallest Man on the Boat and our Chief Steward


    I had a letter from Aunt Henny that she turned me over to HIAS [the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society?]

    At 9:00 we dropped anchor. I had a hard time finding the folks who were going to pick me up but fortunately one of the passengers on board knew my mischpoche and also the Heinzenheimers. Since he was a U.S.A. citizen he got off the boat very quickly and he sent his wife to get me and my family together. I had no trouble going through passport checks and customs. Just made a little intermission to write to Aunt Henny and to take a breath.

    Can you imagine all the hot water and as much as you want. I changed clothes and went along to do some shopping. Now it is about 5:00 p.m. I am not sure of the exact time since I broke my wristwatch.

    Now back to the entry into U.S.A. As we were leaving the customs check Willy Bloeser, father’s employee, greeted me. He had been at the port since early in the morning. When he saw my trunk he sat on it and waited for me. Has had not changed but said he had a hard time recognizing me.* We will try to get together one day while I am here.

    Rudy Heinsheimer drove us all here in his nice car. Bertl received me here right away with something to eat. After all it was now noon and I did not eat since 7:00 a.m. and had a big appetite. This apartment is on the 11th floor and from every window you can look over the Hudson. I have already visitors here so I have to hurry up. It is beautiful sunshine now. The company is gone now and I want to hurry to finish this letter. The Hamburgs and Bertl and the two girls are just wonderful to me and I feel already at home here. Their maid is a black beauty. I will try and take a picture of her. Please tell everyone how happy I am.

    Heartiest greeting and kisses,

    Trudel


    *[Trudel wrote this comment on her translation: “Years later, Willy Bloeser, who learned the business from Dad, worked in the U.S. for Merrill, Lynch and gave all credit to my Dad.”]

    Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1yA95-t

     
     

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    December, 1935 – Happy New Year

    December, 1935 – Happy New Year

    Although it was an exciting time, Trudel’s notes from December 1935 have only two dated entries. Remember to click on the images. Most will expand to a larger or more complete image or a YouTube.


    LJG Trudel Wooster

    Leonard and Trudel in Wooster

    12/8/1935

    Belated thanks for the very pretty napkin rings and birthday letters.

    Our trip to Wooster [to visit with my sister’s fiance’] was my birthday present. It cost a lot of money and took Leonard away from his work. He has to finish a brief, have it printed, and it has to be in the state Supreme Court on Monday.

    LJG DESK

    LJG at his Desk



    Thursday we had Thanksgiving turkey dinner at Bishops.

    Ed and Gwen Bishop's Home

    Ed and Gwen Bishop’s Home

    12/22/1935

    Saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a wonderful movie. We saw the live play a year ago.

    Midsummer Night's Dream

    Click on image for YouTube


    Aunt Henny

    Aunt Henny

    Undated notes
    Aunt Henny stayed with me for a few days before going to Florida.

    I am still working on two jobs and like both very much.

    Happy New Year
    Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!
    Love,
    Trudelchen

     
     

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