(3) America

I traveled on the S.S.Gerolstein of the Holland-American Line for the ten-day journey—directly past the welcoming Statue of Liberty…My father found a job in a toothbrush factory…He loved America. Like many other immigrants, he often referred to it as the goldene Medina, the land of gold that promised Jews safety and democracy. In Vienna he had read the novels of Karl May, which mythologized the conquest of the American West and the bravery of American Indians…

I attended a Hebrew parochial school. By the time I graduated in 1944, I spoke Hebrew almost as well as English…I went to Erasmus Hall High School, a local public school…There, I became interested in history, in writing, and in girls. I worked on the school newspaper, The Dutchman, and became sports editor. I also played soccer and was one of the captains of the track team…[No science???] I was apprehensive about leaving Erasmus Hall, convinced that I would never again feel the sheer joy of social acceptance and academic and athletic achievement….At Harvard, I majored in modern European history and literature. (p.34-38)

For many Viennese émigrés of my generation, the solid education we obtained in Vienna, combined with the sense of liberation we experience on arriving in America, released boundless energy and inspired us to think in new ways. (p.33)

I am reminded of a story about Sigmund Freud when he arrived in England…On seeing the tranquility and civility that his forced emigration had brought him to, he was moved to whisper with typical Viennese irony, “Heil Hitler!” (p.42)