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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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Sept. 10 1934 I did a very big laundry. “I did not want to take any dirt with me into the New Year.”

Sept. 10 1934 I did a very big laundry. “I did not want to take any dirt with me into the New Year.”

Sept. 10, 1934

Dear Papa:

Since the ladies do not find time to write to me I am sending my letters to you now.*

Today you have the 2nd day of Rosh HaShana (Jewish New Year). Here we celebrated only one day so I am going to take it easy and write to you.

Your letter, dear Papa, arrived today at the same time with one from Trums and Alice.

Do not worry about my request for information about Grandfather Stern. During one of the arguments between Aunt and Uncle I heard something which I could not understand well and would have liked to know what Julius was referring to. Actually I have already forgotten about it. Bismarck Bier Stube

I hope that you received stockings, playing cards etc. o.k.

Saturday Hans K. took me to a beautiful film. “Dames,” and afterwards to the Bierstube in the Bismark Hotel. I sent you a folder for more explanation. Friday night I went to another movie, “Fog Over Frisco,” terribly exciting junk.

Something unusual happened to me last week. I took a dress to the cleaners and when I wanted to pick it up I was informed that there was a strike. The dress is ready, hanging somewhere but will not be delivered to the shop until the strike is over. Have you ever heard of something like that? It is nothing unusual here. If anybody does not pay enough wages or there are other complaints the workers just go on strike and walk up and down in front of that business with big posters saying why they are on strike.
Dames PosterFog over Frisco Poster

Sorry if I did not mention anything about Liss’s letter. I received it and it made me very happy.

You must be awfully busy now. The jet black dress and anything else you want to get rid of, you can send me. It is nice that Papa will be a lot closer to Trums in the new apartment.

Yesterday, Sunday, I did a very big laundry. I did not want to take any dirt with me into the New Year.

I do like the Synagogue [but] I went swimming once instead of going to Services. It was really like a service in that horrible heat to which I don’t think I will ever get used.

Rosenwald Museum by Bertha E. Jaques

Rosenwald Museum - Now the Museum of Science and Industry

Opa picked me up and we went for a walk in gorgeous weather and ended up in the Rosenwald Museum just 2 min from here. It is the only building left from the 1893 Worlds Fair and built like the “Deutsche Haus” in Munich.

We went by elevator downstairs in a replica of a real coal mine. I had never seen anything like it and found it very interesting. There we had dinner together. Did you too have noodle soup and roast beef [brisket]?

And then we each went to our different Synagogues for services on the eve of the new year. As I mentioned before I got a free ticket and they even paid the postage to mail it to me. It seemed strange to sit in a very crowded temple and not see one familiar face. The gentlemen sitting next to me is here only 4 weeks from Hechingen.

I had no trouble following the service with my prayer book. And as much as I could understand the Rabbi gave a very good sermon but I would have preferred to hear Dr. Salzberger. After services I talked for ½ hr with Rose on the telephone.

September 11, 1934 – continued from September 10, 1934.

Yontiff [the new year holiday] is over for you too now, while I had to work [on the second day].

Jewish New Year. Htde Park Herald

Hyde Park Herald announces Jewish New Year

After talking to Rose, on my way home I passed the Lindheimers from the boat and their lights were still on so I visited with them for an hour. They were happy to have company and I was even happier to visit with them for a while. They invited me for anbeissen [to break the fast] after Yom Kippur.

On the way to the Synagogue yesterday morning I read your letter.

This time [at the synagogue] a lady changed seats with the gentleman next to me and it turned out she is here since January from Berlin and a cousin of Miss Wurzman.

A few minutes after the service started Erwin Grumbacher, a cousin of Halbreichs, came in. I doubt you know him but Ilse Neiderman had written to me that he was coming here. He came only three days ago.


Synagogue in Hyde Park

I do not care too much about him but he has nice young friends and mishpoche. He spoke already with Miss Samuel from Bad Hamburg who asked him to look for me. Although they live near Rose Seckbach, I have not had a chance to look them up.

The service was pretty much as we are used to. Except that instead of blowing the shofar they played the sounds on the organ — terrible. In my mind I was watching Scheurman and all of us holding our breath to make sure the tones came out o.k.

After Services I wanted to visit Mrs. Hess but talked to her only on the house phone. Then I wanted to visit Mrs. Joseph, but she is never home.


A German-Hebrew Machzor (High Holiday Prayer Book)

The reason I stopped this letter so suddenly is the fact that it had gotten late and I had promised to do a little shopping.

But since I had to iron the dress I wanted to wear, it got too late for the shopping anyhow.

For supper I went to Harry Ehrlich’s Restaurant. I like the meals there very much. From there I went across the street to his mother to try on some hats.

This is the time I like, when I can work on hats in the evenings for friends but none for my self. So for I have only worked for Aunt Henny and Rose, who was very sick for a few days.

Every year at this time she gets hay fever like 1/3 of the population. But she also has asthma and suffers very much.

She wanted to go away for a few weeks but bought a machine to put in front of the window to filter the air that comes in. Of course she will have to stay most of the time in that room.

At work I am cutting a little faster all the time. They worked on all the holidays. . .

Of course a year ago I would not have written a letter [or] taken a streetcar ride on Rosh HaShana. One adopts bad habits fast.



And now a question? Have you not noticed that I do not mention Julius at all anymore in my letters? And if I do only a nasty comment? I just took your card addressed to Mr. and Mrs. J. Seckbach out of the mailbox and I figure it is about time to tell you that Mr. Julius Seckbach removed himself and everything that is his from our apt on 8/22. Thank G’d. He moved to the opposite side of this city. Amen.

If I remember right I wrote you in the beginning that the two had been separated for a year and only got together so he could sign the papers for me. For which I am very grateful.

There is no sense in my describing what went on here in the last 12 weeks. I should have made a sound film… You would get stomach cramps watching and listening to it.

I guess Aunt Henny was not thinking clearly when she married this person who cannot get along with any person. It is well known that people who think everybody is wrong are really nuts themselves. Thank G’d I did not get affected by his nuttiness. I believe really he should be in Doctor’s care. I know he liked me and was always cordial to me but I too could not stand his unending speeches and complaints.

Anyhow, when I came home 3 weeks ago my bed and several pieces of furniture were gone. And the apt looked like a gypsy camp. A few days later we re-arranged the whole place again. Aunt Henny and her bed into the kitchen. She likes that better because it is more quiet. My bed, covered with a big blanket in the living room to look like a couch.

It looks like a real so-called Parlor now and I do not have to be ashamed if somebody wants to visit us. A young man who works at the fair wants to move into the other room, but it is already 10:15 p.m. and he is not here yet. I guess he will come with Aunt Henny.

Now that the old nut is out of the house we two women get along excellently.

We are thinking of going to Florida for the winter. She just can’t stand the cold here. She would sell jewelry and I can make hats there since it is the big season then.

We have not made any definite plans but I will go only if I can be taken by car. I do not think I could earn enough money there to pay the railroad fare. Then I would rather stay here and do some work at home besides my job. It is really wonderful to be so independent.

I pay Aunt Henny something weekly and prepare breakfast for us both, the only meal we eat at home. I live decently, eat only in good restaurants and have about $1 left every week, which I try to save for the time business gets bad.

Trudel I think I have very much grown up and gotten prettier since I am here [and] I am feeling well.

I am constantly trying to learn more English, read good books and am trying with some help to read the daily newspaper. Also I am attending regularly our “Chai-50” club and will probably take a drama course under Edith Grossberg starting next week. I do that only for her sake but am sure it will improve my English.

The weather changes all the time. I can hear it rain now, after we had beautiful sunshine. Anyway I am happy that the terrible heat is hopefully over for this year. Now I think I wrote enough today. If I am not asleep before Aunt H. comes home we will talk for a few more hours. Last night I fell asleep during our conversation.

Love and kisses for you dear Papa.

*[Trudel is referring to her sisters who don’t write as often as she would like.]

[Trudel does not mention the names of the synagogues she attended. Photos of former synagogues can be found at this Flicker site.]

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