Oral History Interview with Willie Nowak
Willei Nowak, born August 1, 1908 in Berlin, Germany, describes his family of liberal, Austrian Jews; his father, who owned a tobacco factory in Berlin; graduating from a gymnasium in Berlin; selling pharmaceuticals in Brunn, Czechoslovakia (Brno, Czech Republic) from 1935 to 1937; returning to Berlin and finding he had lost his German citizenship; Kristallnacht in 1938 and witnessing the burning of the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue, where he had celebrated his bar mitzvah; immigrating to Shanghai, China in 1938 with his fiancée and the two children of his first marriage; the refugee camp in the Japanese district; the support from the Joint Distribution Committee and the Russian Jewish community for a hospital; the kosher soup kitchen and the services of a rabbi; working as a musician in bars and night clubs; being in charge of Jewish guards in the refugee camp; interactions between Chinese and Japanese individuals and himself; his wife, Elsa, working in an underwear factory owned by Austrian Jews who sold to Japanese buyers; and his family immigrating to the United States in January 1948 on a collective affidavit for Shanghai refugees.
|Interviewer:||Josey G. Fisher|
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Germany--Personal narratives.
Jewish youth--Germany--Societies and clubs.
Jews--Legal status, laws, etc.--Germany.
Synagogues--Destruction and pillage.
World War, 1939-1945--Jews--China--Shanghai.