Sonia Pressman Fuentes
- Museums Index
Hermann Pressman's Diary
Antwerp, Belgium from May 9, 1933, through April 12, 1934
photo: Hermann and his sister, Sonia, at the City Park in Antwerp, circa 1933-34.
Antwerp, Tuesday 6:20 p.m., May 9, 1933.
Saturday, I awoke at 6:30 a.m. and helped in the business until the afternoon. My mother gave me 200 marks pocket money for my trip. I bought my train ticket for 34 marks and 20 pfennige. On Thursday I had gathered my savings: 2,380 marks. This was put away in my mother's bank. Then my parents sewed 10,000 marks into my suits and toiletries. Friday evening they finished this work. One thousand marks was in the suitcase. Saturday evening my father gave me a spring suit as a present. In exchange, I left last year's top coat in the store to be sold.
Saturday at 9:45 p.m., I boarded the train and left. I traveled in third class. By 6:30 a.m., I was in Cologne, where we had to change trains. By 7:30 a.m., I was at the German border of Aix-la-Chapelle. I was nervous about the border patrol, but the board patrolman checked my passport and asked how much money I had without incident. In the small town of Habistown shortly thereafter, the Belgian border patrolman looked into only one valise. He never even bothered with the second. I sent a telegram to my parents: "Regards and Kisses." We changed trains again at 11:30 a.m. in Brussels. When I arrived in Antwerp, my cousin, David Mendelson, was waiting for me.
I conversed with people in English. The English was very helpful as many Belgians spoke English, but not German. I do not speak Flemish or French. For fifteen francs in Antwerp, I sent my parents a telegram saying: "Good. David."
David's wife had cleaned an extra room. After we had eaten on Sunday afternoon, I removed the money still hidden in my belongings. Monday I went to Wexelstuben, where there were small banks and exchange offices, to exchange currencies. Regular banks did not want to take German money. Max Fisher gave me 81,700 francs for the German marks.
I went to the Committee for German Immigrants. There, I learned that there may be a chance for me to remain in Belgium. My parents would have to apply for visas to join me. I rented a safe deposit box in the Diamond Club to place my 81,700 francs. I began to get acquainted with Antwerp. I bought some household items and went home.
Today I bought a picture postcard for my parents with the text: "Good. Happy." I sent another with the text: "Best Regards, Hermann" to Sonia Klein. I returned again to visit the Committee for German Immigrants because I am still unable to register with the local police in Antwerp. Today I received a letter from my parents, and I sent them in Hebrew a letter by airmail. I hope that will not be censored. I told them to leave Germany.
Antwerp, Wednesday 7:05 p.m., May 10, 1933
Last night I took a walk with Cousin David. David said he had many obligations, and I needed to lend him twelve hundred francs. [I do not remember if he paid any of it back.] Today I went with David's wife to buy food. I put my belongings away in the closet they let me use. Today I would like to go out a bit, but I don't know if my English is good enough. My English is coming in handy.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:50 p.m., May 11, 1933.
Today I went back to the Committee for German Immigrants. Now I am allowed to register at the local police station. I stated that l was a resident and had 100,000 francs so that I would not need a temporary permit. I also stated that I could prove that I had 100,000 francs. Today I wrote a letter to my parents asking them to send money to German companies and give me the money order stubs so I could collect Belgian francs for the amount they sent from Max Fisher. I have taken a job at a men's clothing store to work in the late afternoons.
Antwerp, Sunday 9:15 a.m., May 14, 1933.
Friday I registered my legal residence in Antwerp and started to decorate the display window at the Mendelson Shoe Store. The Mendelsons took me to the Century Hotel; since there was no dancing, we went to a dance club called Saturday. The crowd was small but mixed. We came home by 2 a.m. Yesterday I completed decorating my cousin's display windows. I sent my mother a postcard, saying, "I am thinking of you on Mother's Day." Last night, I telephoned my mother for thirty francs and explained the situation about the money. Yesterday afternoon I was at the business, but the business was closed; this is not good. Last night I received a long letter from my parents. I wrote a letter to David Mendelson's mother in Poland.
Antwerp, Monday 12 p.m., May 15, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon I napped. After 5 p.m., I went to the barber shop and then went out to dinner. By 5:30 p.m., David's son had run away, and we did not find him until 9 p.m., After 10 p.m., David and I went to a beer garden to dance; I spent twelve francs. This week, I spent a few extra francs for carfare, drinks, postage, etc. Today I went with David to the post office to pick up 1,600 francs and sixteen centimes. My parents sent that to David Mendelson for me. I sent a postcard to Sonia Klein, asking her to write to me. Now I am angry that I wasn't able to straighten out the financial situation for my parents because I did not get the money order stubs that I needed in order to exchange money for them.
Antwerp, Monday 8:30 p.m., May 15, 1933.
This afternoon I was at Max Fisher's exchange office. Then I went to the Committee regarding the application for a more permanent residency card. I bought five pairs of silk socks for 50 francs. For twenty-nine francs, I telephoned my parents and sister. My mother thanked me for the Mother's Day card. She then told me she was not interested in getting their German money exchanged so they could leave Germany.
Antwerp, Tuesday 1:00 p.m., May 16, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon I went to the Diamond Club and deposited 1,800 francs. After dinner, I relaxed. Today I received a letter from my parents repeating that they were not interested in getting money out of Germany. They told me not to worry. I hope they are right, and that all works out for the best for them. I had meant well, but meaning well and doing well is not always the same.
Antwerp, Tuesday 8:55 p.m., May 16, 1933.
After lunch I lay down and rested. I returned to the currency exchange office and gave their employee the information about my parents' plans. Tomorrow, I am going to the Yiddish theater.
Antwerp, Wednesday 1:10 p.m., May 17, 1933.
Yesterday I took the two prophylactics and blew them up like balloons. I gave one to each of David's children. I checked how strong they were. Today I bought a bottle of wine for seven-and-a-half francs. Today I returned to Max Fisher's office. I bought three pairs of socks for 21 francs. I wrote to Aunt Mendelson in Poland and to the Bank of France in Paris. The bank wrote that they were holding the money for my father awaiting his direction, and that they were unable to open an account or hold the money longer since my father was a foreigner. I contacted the Antwerp branch of Crédit Lyonnais for Paris. There I learned that without being an owner or tenant myself, I was unable to open a bank account. I also had to request a blank signed letter with my father's signature so I could get his money moved from Paris to Belgium. Meanwhile, that money remains at Crédit Lyonnais in Paris. Once again, I returned to the Committee and learned how my parents would be able to travel here with their furniture. I am sending this information in a letter to my parents now. I expect that it won't be long now before Germany will once again be at war with the world.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:30 a.m., May 18, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon, I rested, and then after dinner, I went into town to the Yiddish theater. I paid six francs to see a Yiddish movie, The Eternal Jew. Afterwards, I came home and went to sleep.
Antwerp, Friday 9:35 a.m., May 19, 1933.
Yesterday before noon I went with my cousin's sons to Rivierenhof, a beautiful park. I bought some small toys for the children. That afternoon, I ate lunch and received a letter from parents. I answered their letter that afternoon and told them the situation of the Parisian banks. After dinner, I shopped with my cousin for food. I was asleep by midnight.
I am very glad that my Flemish has improved enough so that I can understand people and get around.
Antwerp, Friday 3:30 p.m., May 19, 1933.
At about 10 a.m., I had photos taken of me in the street. Afterwards, I was in the Reverian House in the park to which I had taken my cousin's children. I drank underground spring water from a well in the park.
I sent a postcard to the Nachman family [a Jewish family] in Berlin. (The Voltsehleger family [which was not Jewish] in Berlin coveted the ring on Mr. Nachman's finger. They loaded him onto a truck, and because they couldn't take the ring off his finger, they broke his finger. He was detained in the barracks for Jews for several nights. Several nights after he was returned home, he was again picked up for "interrogation." A few nights later, his wife received a call to pick up the body of her deceased husband. She was told that if she wanted to get possession of her husband's body for burial, she had to sign a form testifying to the fact that he had died of natural causes.)
I gathered information on French language instruction. I came home and napped.
Antwerp, Friday 11:15 p.m., May 19, 1933.
I shaved and walked through town. After dinner, I made Kiddush and went out with my friend, Sam Fishel, the barber, for drinks.
Antwerp, Saturday 3:15 p.m., May 20, 1933.
This morning I took my cousin's two oldest children to Rivieren Park. We took photos and drank from the underground well. I drew a picture of a woman's head and sent it to my parents. I bought some strawberries. I picked up my recently-developed pictures for six francs. These photos are in my album under 93 and 93a. I had lunch and will now take a nap.
Antwerp, Sunday 12:00. May 21, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon, after a two-hour nap, I went for a walk with the barber. Then, after dinner, at 9 p.m., I walked into town to the dance palace called Chantilly in the Century Hotel. The crowd was pleasant, mostly foreigners. Many of the ladies I conversed with were English. It aided me greatly to practice my English. I stayed out until 1 a.m.; the evening cost thirteen-and-a-half francs. This was my first really enjoyable evening in Antwerp, even though I went home alone.
Today, after breakfast, I walked around town. Now I am waiting to have lunch. Yesterday I enjoyed the company of ladies, although everyone seemed to go home alone.
Antwerp, Sunday 11:50 p.m., May 21, 1933.
In the afternoon, I went out to the garden for drinks with David, his wife, and their children, and spent eight francs. After dinner, I took a walk with David and his wife.
Antwerp, Monday 5:00 p.m., May 22, 1933.
Today, after breakfast, I received a letter from my parents. In the letter, my parents asked me to send them my letter from the police in Berlin about my proper conduct, three photos, and a letter from the doctor certifying to my good health. My father also sent the blank signature letter so that I could get 50,000 Parisienne francs sent to Belgium. I went to the local branch of Crédit Lyonnais to receive assistance in preparing the letter that was to come from my father. Then, I did some chores for David. s I bought the three photos for five francs. I withdrew 300 francs for spending money from the Diamond Club. That day I also registered as a student with Berlitz to study French. The tuition was very expensive. In the beginning of the course, there will be private lessons. Later on, the lessons will be group lessons. The private lessons are 480 francs for a week; the group lessons are 245 francs for a month.
After my after-lunch nap, I went to a café and wrote my parents a letter enclosing the items they requested: the photos, the doctor's health certificate, and police papers attesting to my proper conduct. I spoke with the doctor in English. Incidentally, the doctor said my health was fine. The health certificate, written in French, cost twenty-five francs. For eight francs, the photography store developed the pictures I needed. I mailed everything at the post office, overnight service. At 3 p.m., I had an afternoon snack and nap. I bought myself a new hat for twenty-five francs. I took a nice bath for three francs at the local bathhouse.
Antwerp, Monday 11:30 p.m., May 22, 1933.
I picked up the pictures I had taken at Riveren park on Saturday. I made extra copies for my cousin and placed the originals in my album, #94. I listened to Mr. Kellerman's daily news report on the radio from Berlin.
Antwerp, Tuesday 1:15 p.m., May 23, 1933.
This morning I went to the tailor, Edward, and bought gray flannel trousers for 130 francs. I put down a twenty-franc deposit. For ten francs at the pharmacy, I bought sun block and powders. After breakfast, I went to Rivierenhopf. On my way there, for six francs, I bought strawberries and bananas. I rested in bed for an hour and looked at my photo album.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:15 p.m., May 23, 1933.
After lunch I stayed in bed for an hour. Between four and five p.m. I went for my first French lesson. I put down a deposit of 100 francs and paid 10 francs as a registration fee. My teacher is a Frenchmen who speaks only French. I think I will learn quickly from him. On Platz Du Mer, one of the nicest streets near the largest department store, I had cake and milk served by English-speaking waiters. I withdrew another 300 francs from the Diamond Club. I returned to the Committee for German Immigrants. After 9 p.m., I had dinner and am now going to bed.
Antwerp, Wednesday 4:55 p.m., May 24, 1933.
This morning I received a postcard from Sonia Klein. I bought myself a bottle of wine for 16 francs. A gogel-mogel (wine, teaspoon of sugar, and a raw egg) was a drink I enjoyed occasionally. For lunch I bought strawberries for five francs and then took a nap. I bought a postcard for Sonia, my sister, and wrote a poem on it for her: "Be good and brave and don't say anything that is foolish, and you will have a long, good life without any pain." On the back, I wrote: "Sonia, on all your paths of life, I wish you good luck. Best of luck and blessings from your sincere, loving brother Hermann." I sent that card to my sister in time for her fifth birthday, Tuesday, May 30th. I have not yet answered Sonia Klein, as I am still at a loss for words.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:20 p.m., May 24, 1933.
This afternoon I quietly sat in the backyard garden behind my cousin's business. Today Mr. Finkelstein from Hansport, Rapadaher, Co., the gentleman whose moving company could transport my family's belongings to Antwerp for 95,500 francs (approximately twelve thousand dollars at that time). I will send along this information to my parents in my next letter.
Antwerp, Thursday 6:30 p.m., May 25, 1933.
This morning the postcard I sent to the Nachman family was returned to me in the mail. I received a loving letter from my parents. Enclosed were photos of my mother and papers concerning our finances from the Paris bank. I went into town and had my watch repaired for three francs. At the Committee for German Immigrants, I learned of a more reliable moving company and made an appointment to meet with a representative. I was informed that I would have to go to the Brussels Consulate to establish permanent residence for my parents and myself. I wrote my parents a six-page letter and took a nap. I wrote Ruth Hamlet in Germany. I drew a flower and a kiss and wrote, "With a flower and a kiss, you stole my heart, you dear, little, sweet woman."
Antwerp, Friday 1:00 p.m., May 26, 1933.
Yesterday after dinner I went food shopping for Shabbes [the Sabbath] with my cousin. Yesterday was Himmelsfard [Ascension Day: the celebration of Jesus' ascension into heaven, 40 days after Easter.]
This morning I met with the moving company representative. He promised to mail me an estimate. Later, at the Crédit Lyonnais, I was unable to accomplish anything because the Paris bank still had not sent the necessary notification.
Antwerp, Friday 12:15 p.m., May 26, 1933.
This afternoon I rested and then went to French class. I returned to the Crédit Lyonnais to have them write a letter saying they would transfer 60,000 francs. Afterwards, I went out for hot chocolate and cake. I always needed nourishment after my French lessons because they were exhausting. After every class, I felt as though I had learned nothing, but the next morning I would awake to find that some of the words had stuck with me.
I shopped for some furniture. After lunch, I made minyan [a quorum of ten Jewish men who pray publicly] and davened [prayed].
Antwerp, Sunday 3:15 p.m., May 28, 1933.
During the day, I worked in my cousin's shop making window displays. After dinner, I paid ten francs to attend the Yiddish theater and saw Mazel Tov, Mama [Congratulations, Mother]. My seats were very good, and I enjoyed the musical. Afterwards, I went to the Chantilly Ballroom at the Century Hotel. I checked my coat for one franc. I met a nice Jewish lady close to my height. She was 24 years old and multilingual. She invited me to sit with her and her mother. She was a pleasant dancer. At 1 a.m., we left for home. They invited me for Shabbes next Friday, The young lady then gave me a visiting card. Her name is Felicia Rabinowich. She lives in Antwerp, Riedelaybalet #11. Her father is a diamond merchant. I arrived home by 2 a.m.
Today I went to the Committee for German Refugees and Immigrants. I learned that it was difficult for Polish citizens like me to gain entrance to Belgium because I was not a German refugee. The Ministry in Brussels would have the final word. I decided to go there and make a personal appearance. At the Committee, I met a twenty-two-year-old student. I received an estimate from Arthur Pierre today, the moving company. I received a letter from Paris, which I had translated at the Crédit Lyonnais. It stated that they did not yet have the money from my father, which I had wanted him to wire to Antwerp. I bought my cousin's daughter a ball to play with for four francs.
Antwerp, Monday 1:00 p.m., May 29, 1933.
Yesterday, I napped from the afternoon until 7 p.m. Then, I walked around before and after dinner. At midnight, I went to bed.
This morning, I went to the Crédit Lyonnais, where I was told to return later in the evening. I went to the post office and the Diamond Club to withdraw 200 francs spending money. I paid four francs for items for cousin David. I enjoyed a lemonade, and then I sent a birthday card to my sister. I went to the railroad station to get information about getting to the Ministry in Brussels.
Antwerp, Tuesday 6:50 a.m., May 30, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon, I bought a ball for three francs for David's young son. Then, I spent an hour resting. For three-and-a-half francs, I went to the bathhouse. In the evening, I returned to the home of the man from the Crédit Lyonnais. He wrote a letter in French to Paris on my behalf. I wrote to my parents because my father's money had not arrived in Paris as I had expected it to. I began to look for rooms to rent.
After dinner, I met Sam Fishel, my friend, the barber. He convinced me to go with him to a show at the Yiddish theater, The Street Singer. After the show, Fishel didn't want to go home, so he took me to a brothel. I danced for a while. Then, since neither of us was interested in being with any of the women there, we went home. I was in bed by 1:45 a.m.
I was up early today to go to the Ministry in Brussels. I hope to G-d that the Minister will allow us to stay. Today is my sister's birthday. I hope that she is healthy, fine and has peace, luck, and blessings. I wish the same to my parents. I hope they will enjoy my sister's growing up. Yesterday, I brought my dirty laundry to the cleaners. I spent a total of twenty francs on last night's entertainment. Tonight, I will share David's bed. It was nice of him and his wife to let me stay However, they needed the help and some money.
Antwerp, Tuesday 8:15 p.m., May 30, 1933.
After breakfast today, I went to the train station. The round-trip cost twenty-two francs. I took a taxi to see the minister, who was very nice to me. For five francs, I bought food; and, for six francs, I bought five good cigars. The minister told me I had to see the minister of justice. I waited a long time until they told me to return to Antwerp and that they would let me know the decision later. I caught a one o'clock train and was back in Antwerp by 2 p.m. I went to the Committee and then to my French lesson. Afterwards, I went home to find a letter from Crédit Lyonnais in Paris, stating that they still had not received the money from my father. There was also a letter from my parents. They informed me that I needed to go to the Antwerp police station about my temporary status. I paid an additional 140 francs for French classes for the rest of the month and five francs for a study book in French. Afterwards, I responded to my parents' letter.
Then, I went to the tailor and paid him 110 francs for the gray flannel pants. Then, I went to dinner.
Antwerp, Wednesday 8:45 p.m., May 31, 1933.
Today is Shavuos, a Jewish holiday, a harvest festival that occurs in the spring. It also commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai.
I am displeased that the gray trousers are too tight. At the store earlier today, they had not felt tight, but now they do.
Today, after breakfast, I went to the temple to daven [pray].
After lunch, I stayed in bed for 1 1/2 hours. Then, my cousin took me to the polizei [police] to get a letter to take to the governor in Antwerp. I would then get a permit from the governor to remain in Belgium an additional three months. But, there was no commitment that I would be able to stay longer.
I finished my homework from Berlitz and then ate dinner. I will wait to notify my parents about the three-month extension until I receive word from Brussels about permanent residency.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:45 p.m., June 1, 1933.
Today it is still Shavuos. Today, I went to temple with my cousin to daven. Then, after lunch, I rested. Before noon, I did my French homework. For eight francs, I bought a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white wine for 4 1/2 francs. David's daughter needed somewhere to sleep again, so I have to share David's bed again. This prompted me to look into purchasing a new bed. I spent 25 francs on food and then returned home for dinner. I hope I receive good news in the mail tomorrow.
Antwerp, Friday 1:20 p.m., June 2, 1933.
Yesterday after dinner, I walked for a while. At midnight, I went to bed. Early this morning, I brought my new gray trousers back to the tailor; he promised to have new trousers for me by next week. Then, I went to do chores in town before going to the governor. I paid 98 francs for a three-month extended visa that would be ready tomorrow. I went to the Jewish neighborhood to buy meat, fish, cake, fruit, and vegetables for Shabbes. It cost 50 francs. I also bought three nice shirts with stylish collars for 95 francs. I withdrew 700 francs from the Diamond Club. Afterwards, I ate lunch and now I am resting before my three o'clock French class.
Antwerp, Saturday 2:10 p.m., June 3, 1933.
After yesterday's French class, I went out for cake and hot chocolate and then strolled through the park. After dinner, I went to the Rabinowich house; on the way, I bought a bouquet of flowers for 10 francs. I was well-received and entertained in their home. I learned that Felicia was 25 years old and was employed by the Minerva Auto Factory. I am no longer interested in her; nevertheless, I promised to write a card and perhaps meet her again at the Chantilly for a dance. I left at 12:30 a.m. I went home by trolley, arriving at 1 a.m. after a short walk.
This morning, I received a card and a letter from my parents. The letter enclosed a receipt from the Polish bank. My parents inquired whether the financial transfer went through. After picking up my extension visa from the governor's office, I immediately r I went to the Crédit Lyonnais. Tomorrow and Monday, the Crédit Lyonnais will be closed for Shavuos. The man who had helped me write the letter was not there, but a receptionist made a note of the address of the Polish bank so he could send them another letter later. There was nothing more I could do at that time.
Antwerp, Sunday 9:45 a.m., June 4, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon I stayed in bed for an hour. I purchased another French study guide for 35 francs. Then, I wrote my family a letter. Yesterday evening I mentioned to a friend that I was looking for a room. He suggested that I not rent a room until I was employed. The room smells because my cousin sleeps with me since his daughter is sick. David said I could not have visitors over because he did not have a presentable house with furniture. After dinner, I walked with my cousin to deliver shoes to a customer. I went to the bathhouse and treated my cousin for 8 1/2 francs. Soon, I will go have breakfast and look for a room to rent.
Antwerp, Monday 10:35 a.m., June 5, 1933.
Yesterday I went into town, but I found no rooms for rent that interested me. I waited for two hours at the Committee, but the line was long and I did not get a meeting. I had lunch and sat in my cousin's garden. Afterwards, I went out with Sam Fishel to the park and we went to eat and to an amusement park. We went to the shooting gallery and also had our photos taken. We rode in bumper cars and took an airplane ride. We had a nice kosher dinner in a nearby restaurant. We visited dance places, looking to meet women. We met three people from Holland driving around. We all went to a nightclub to dance. There, we met two girls, but they ended up leaving with the three Dutch people. We went to another dance club before heading home at 2:30 a.m. The evening and afternoon had cost me 35 francs. I am now writing to my parents before beginning my homework.
Antwerp, Tuesday 1:00 p.m., June 6, 1933.
Yesterday after lunch, I went to a beer garden for a beer. I bought a ticket for a tambola, but I did not win. I went home for dinner and then out for the evening with Sam. The entire day cost me four francs.
Today after breakfast, I went to the Rivierenhof. I bought fruit for six francs and lemonade for two. David wanted to talk with me; he needed to borrow 3,000 francs. I promised that I would write my parents on his behalf. I went back to the park and darned my socks. I did my French homework and will now eat lunch. Living with my family is no bargain because David keeps asking me for money for his failing business. I cannot continue to give him money.
Antwerp, Tuesday 9:00 p.m., June 6, 1933.
The governor gave me a three-month extension, which I then brought to the police. I returned to the Crédit Lyonnais to request that someone write the bank in Poland. Then I went to the English Tearoom for three francs. From 4-5 p.m. I was at my French lesson. Afterwards, I spent six francs for my usual hot chocolate and cake. I began writing my letter home. I received a postcard from my mother and sister who were staying at a pension in Dresden for the Shavuos holidays. I wrote a postcard to Sonia Klein. Then, I went to have dinner. Afterwards, Sam Fishman and I listened to the daily radio news.
Antwerp, Wednesday 2:25 p.m., June 7, 1933.
This morning I had more problems because my cousin had to go to court. I was stuck in the bank waiting until 11 a.m. to pay seven hundred francs and an additional penalty for a note that my cousin had defaulted on. This left me with only two-and-a-half francs. I went for a walk to relax, and I withdrew two hundred francs from the Diamond Club to pay off my cousin's note. With one franc and fifteen centimes, I drank spring water. At the Committee, I picked a number to wait in line to meet with a counselor. I walked through town while I waited. For five-and-a-half francs I bought a small bottle of brandy. I returned home for lunch. I brought my dirty laundry to the cleaners. When I came home I wrote a postcard to Felicia Rabinowich.
Antwerp, Thursday 11:05 a.m., June 8, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon I slept an hour-and-a-half before going to the police for verification of my permit to remain in Belgium. For five francs I went to the bathhouse. I came home to find a letter from my mother from Dresden, where she was with Sonia. She requested that I call her there at lunchtime. I went out with Mr. Bernard, a friend of Sam Fishman.
Today I received a card from Ruth Hamlet of Biederfeld, Germany. There was a poem in the card. I paid 1.3 francs penalty because of insufficient postage. I will wait to write back until my pictures are developed so that I can send a photo of myself with my next letter. Now I will go to the garden and darn my socks. Antwerp, Thursday 9:30 p.m., June 8, 1933.
This morning, while darning my socks and studying my French, I forgot to call my mother. At 2:30 p.m., I tried to place a call; it took two hours until I reached my mother. She said she was staying at the pension until Saturday, This morning for three francs I bought bananas. The phone call cost seventy-five francs. My cousin returned two hundred francs from the money I had lent him. Therefter, I went to the Committee, but I arrived too late. I treated myself to the kosher restaurant nearby. The chef told me of a nice room for rent for seven hundred francs each month, including meals. I bought food for Shabbes that afternoon. Now I am eating dinner.
Antwerp, Friday 12:05 p.m., June 9, 1933.
After dinner yesterday I walked with David. I paid three francs to treat him to beer. At midnight we returned and retired to bed. I did not feel well. I vomited from the beer. David was still hung over the next morning.
Today after breakfast I went to the post office. For two francs, I bought fruit and am now writing from the Rivierenhof park. I have studied my French. I will now return home for lunch. I hope to move into that room in town.
Antwerp, Friday 10:05 p.m., June 9, 1933.
After lunch I went to my French lesson, to the Crédit Lyonnais, and then to my ritual hot chocolate and cake at the patisserie. I walked through town until 7 p.m.. Today I spent 11 francs for red wine and another 11 for liqueur. I dined and will now go to bed.
Antwerp, Saturday 8:20 p.m., June 10, 1933.
This morning I paid 1.2 francs for the extra copies of 93A in my photo album. I sent that photo with a card to Ruth Hamlet. I bought myself cherries for one franc. I ate lunch and studied French. I rested for an hour and walked before returning to my studies. Now it is time for dinner.
Antwerp, Sunday 3:20 p.m., June 11, 1933.
Last night I went to Lachborcelarhopf, a beer garden. I enjoyed the dancing. The evening cost seven-and-a-half francs.
This morning I received a letter from my parents in Dresden. My mother wrote that she was angered by the Mendelsons' constant request for loans. I have not yet told my cousins about this response. The money I have so far given them is not a lot; I cannot complain. Until yesterday I had been sharing a bed with David. Today I went to Turlitzstrasse, where a Jewish family rented me a room on the first floor. I will be responsible for my breakfast, but they will provide lunch and dinner. I believe this is better than staying with my relatives. They were nice to me, but it wasn't a bargain either. Now I will keep track of my expenditures for meals.
Antwerp, Monday 10:35 a.m., June 12, 1933.
Yesterday, I packed my belongings and David accompanied to my new room. I had dinner at the restaurant and sat in the garden to write to my parents. I slept well and had a good breakfast.
Antwerp, Tuesday 9:45 a.m., June 13, 1933.
Yesterday it rained all day. Before noon I studied French. I withdrew 100 francs from the Diamond Club. Yesterday I gave Mr. Kuplich 80 francs and owe 45 francs for one week's lunch and dinner. Then I talked with my landlord's family. Sam Fishman came to visit me. The Goldwasser sisters, Maria, nineteen, is the younger; Regina is slightly older. We walked in the park until it began to rain. I paid eight francs for snacks at the cafe.
Antwerp, Wednesday 9:15 a.m., June 14, 1933.
Yesterday morning I gave my new address to the Crédit Lyonnais and the post office. For 10 francs I bought two dance records for the Victrola; for five francs I bought a photo stand for the pictures of my mother and sister. I rested after lunch before going to the Committee. I was fortunate that someone could help me prepare a letter for Brussels. Between 4-5 p.m. I went to my French lesson and then to the patisserie. After dinner I went with Fannie Goldwasser and her two friends to the zoo. Fannie knew the ticket taker and we were admitted at no cost to the zoo. For two francs, I treated everyone to ice cream. I had some milk and went to bed at midnight.
Antwerp, Thursday 9:05 a.m., June 15, 1933.
Yesterday morning I went swimming for four-and-a-half francs. In the afternoon I rested at the Goldwasser garden. I received a letter from my parents who wanted to move to Palestine. They wanted me to return to Berlin, so that we could all go to Palestine. I returned to the Committee and inquired about travel to Palestine. I explained to my parents that I would not return to Berlin and did not want to move to Palestine. Newspapers in Belgium warned of the danger in Nazi Germany, I would not return, but wanted my parents to come out to Belgium. I sent my parents a return letter by airmail. I telephoned the police in Deurne, the outskirts of Antwerp where my cousin lived and notified them of my address change. I called the Crédit Lyonnais about our financial matters.
Antwerp, Friday 9:15 a.m., June 16, 1933.
Yesterday I visited my cousins, Sam Fishman, the tailor, and withdrew money from the Diamond Club. I wrote another letter to my parents before lunch. I paid Kuplich the forty-five francs balance for meals, and I brought Mrs. Goldwasser ten roses to thank her for her hospitality. I napped after lunch and returned to the Crédit Lyonnais. I bought a cake for five francs. After dinner Mr. Goldwasser walked with me, and I came home to dance and listen to music with Maria.
Breakfast today was nice. My parents wrote me a letter requesting that I return home. They said the situation had quieted and requested that I return home so that in four weeks we could come back to Belgium. I once again said I would not go back to Germany. The radio and newspapers were reporting daily of people returning to Germany after foreign visits. The Nazis treated these returning citizens harshly as they were suspicious of travelers speaking badly of Deutschland. I was not going to push my luck. I told my parents that I could be more helpful from Belgium than I would be causing trouble when I returned. I will wait to write this letter until I have financial information from Crédit Lyonnais.
Antwerp, Saturday 10:10 p.m., June 17, 1933.
Yesterday after lunch I sat on a hammock in the garden and did a bit of gardening. Maria accompanied me to the seaport. We drank spring water for three-and-a-half francs. After dinner Mr. Goldwasser and I walked. I made the Kiddush before dinner in the Goldwasser home.
Today I sent a Father's Day card and promised a full letter soon; I was waiting for more information on financial matters. I bought cherries for one franc to forget my aggravation from the Crédit Lyonnais. I went to my French lesson at 4 p.m. and Condita Rie, the patisserie. Today Goldwasser's 13-year-old son showed me his bar mitzvah presents. I gave him a small photo camera as a bar mitzvah present. After dinner, a young man was visiting the family, and we all listened to the Victrola. He and I both danced with Maria.
Antwerp, Sunday 12:05 a.m., June 18, 1933.
This morning I received notice from the post office that my parents requested a phone call. Over the phone my mother asked me to return to Berlin; I explained my position about Nazi arrests of visitors returning to Germany. Many of those in "protective custody" never returned alive. I asked them to think it over before commanding that I come home. If they commanded it, I would go. I took a walk and then darned my socks. I wrote my parents a long letter further explaining my position. After dinner I walked along Kaiserlein from the train station through Antwerp. It is the nicest avenue in Antwerp. Now I am going to bed. (I refused to go to Germany, not just for selfish reasons. I am afraid of the aggravation my parents would have if I got in trouble there. I feel I am much more helpful in Belgium, communicating with the Committee and the Brussels Ministry. Friends and acquaintances all advise me not to return to Germany.
Antwerp, Tuesday 3:35 p.m., June 20, 1933.
After breakfast yesterday, Mr. Goldwasser introduced me to his niece from New York who was visiting for three days. We went together to a diamond palace owned by the Goldwasser family. We watched as workers shaped the diamonds. I registered his niece with the Town Government, saying I was showing her around Antwerp. When I arrived home, there was another letter from my parents requesting that I return to Germany. That afternoon David visited me in Antwerp. He helped me write a letter to my parents that I sent by airmail. Then for eight-and-a-half francs I purchased stationery. After dinner, I walked and talked to the Goldwassers.
This morning I was awakened and called to the telephone. It was mother. She demanded my return to Germany.
Then I received a letter from my parents that I must come home. It also mentioned that they were anxious to settle the financial troubles. I went back to Crédit Lyonnais to get instructions on how to proceed. I went to Berlitz School to use a typewriter to send a letter to Poland. I rented a taxi for 30 francs, telegrammed the letter for 54 francs and airmailed it to Poland. Then, I called my mother for 70 francs to let her know I was attending to the financial matter. I withdrew an additional 500 from the Diamond Club, part of which was to repay Mrs. Goldwasser; the remainder was for pocket money. I returned home for lunch. I was very anxious when Mrs. Goldwasser told me that my mother called to say that it was not necessary for me to return to Berlin, There is a G-d in heaven! I had already stopped at a travel agency because I thought the decision had been made. I have never been as happy as when I found out that my mother would not require me to come to Berlin,
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:50 p.m., June 20, 1933.
I went class and the patisserie. I am still elated that I will not have to return to Germany.
Antwerp, Wednesday 11:05 p.m., June 21, 1933.
Today after breakfast I received an airmail letter from my parents saying I did not have to return to Germany. They asked if I needed money and wrote that they would send some, if necessary. A letter from the Antwerp police requested that I get two photos to them in person on Friday. I put an ad in the morning newspaper looking for a job. I returned to Crédit Lyonnais; they had no information. After lunch, I napped for over two hours. Then I went to Nightingale Park with Maria Goldwasser. After dinner, I wrote a letter to my parents thanking them for letting me stay in Antwerp. I told them I could use some money; if they sent it, which would also help them get some of their savings out of Germany.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:55 p.m., June 22, 1933.
After breakfast, I went to Crédit Lyonnais and then went swimming for four-and-a-half hours before returning to Crédit Lyonnais. Still, there was no answer. I registered at Berlitz to continue my course in group sessions for the following month. After lunch I rested for two hours and darned my socks. After coffee, I had my pictures developed for eight francs. I went to Deurne to visit the Mendelsons. For 21-and-a-half francs I picked up my laundry at the cleaners. I stopped at the tailor's, but my pants were not ready. I came home and joined Mr. Goldwasser for a walk in the park.
Antwerp, Friday 2:25 p.m., June 23, 1933.
Last night before going to sleep I darned three pair of socks. This morning after breakfast I went to the police station to register my status, as they had requested. I returned to Crédit Lyonnais to discover that the money was located in Poland. Poland deducted 25 marks for expenses. I wanted to exchange the remaining 163,150 marks, but I only exchanged a some of that money as the exchange rate was dropping. I gave 100 francs to the manager who had helped me with my correspondence and deposited the rest with the Diamond Club. I paid 140 francs for meals provided and gave a 10-franc tip to the waitress.
Antwerp, Sunday 8:45 a.m., June 25, 1933.
Friday afternoon I napped for two hours and darned three pair of socks. After coffee I went to the neighborhood park with Maria Goldwasser. We danced; that cost four-and-a-half francs. In the evening, Maria, Regina, and I went to the park.
In the morning, I went to the barber for 15 francs. (Usually I no longer mark down the costs of the barber and the cafe). After breakfast, my mother phoned me to say that Brussels had denied their applications. I asked my mother to send the paperwork to me. My father sent me a letter that day saying he is satisfied that I did not return to Berlin because it is very bad there. They are glad that I remained in Antwerp instead of suffering with them in Germany. I visited several lawyers, including one named Jacobson who had been recommended to me in Brussels. I called him in Brussels for seven francs. He told me that he was unable to work for me privately as he was affiliated with the Committee. After lunch, I rested in the garden and went out to see two other attorneys, one of whom referred me to a good Brussels attorney. Maria and I went to the Capital Theatre to see, Song of Love. The second film, with Harry Bauer, Criminal, was excellent. It was about a businessman and world traveler. The tickets had cost 20 francs for both of us. During intermission, I spent one-and-a-half francs for chocolate and two for beer. Maria gave me 10 francs for her theatre ticket, as she did not want to be treated. I was in bed by midnight.
This morning I received the letter that the Belgian Consulate had sent to my parents. My mother said that if I would have to leave Belgium, I should still not return to Germany. I am anxious to get my parents out of Germany.
Antwerp, Monday 10:00 p.m., June 26, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon I walked through the park. I was still unable to do anything because it was Sunday. Today I awoke early to go to Brussels. I paid for breakfast and rent 76 francs. I paid Karpach six francs additionally for meals. Yesterday I picked up Fanny Goldwasser at the train station returning from Paris. I did not get to bed until 2 a.m. The trip to Brussels cost 22 francs. I took the trolley in Brussels to visit the attorney Jasper, the nephew of the foreign minister. He was recommended to me by an acquaintance in the restaurant who said he was very capable and had good connections. I left my reference letter at his office in the morning and went to the Brussels Committee on Jewish-German Immigrants. I went to see the attorney Mr. Wolf, but I could not locate him. The committee recommended me to attorney Edward Abraham, and I made a 1 p.m. appointment with him. I went to the Jewish section and had a miserable lunch before seeing Abraham. He said he was unable to do anything because of my Polish passport. He requested 25 francs for this advice, but I did not pay him. I told him I did not think I needed to pay him if he wouldn't take the case. I spent two francs for spring water. I sent my parents a small letter to update them before returning to the lawyer Jasper. I waited a long time until he was able to see me. Jasper listened to my case and said he thought he would be able to help. He requested a certificate from the bank to prove our deposits of over 100,000 francs in Antwerp, which I will attend to tomorrow. I spent six francs on cake before returning to Antwerp. In Antwerp, I went to the Diamond Club to receive documentation of our savings there. I wrote my parents with details of today's minor successes.
Today I bought a Berlin newspaper.
Antwerp, Tuesday 1:20 p.m., June 27, 1933.
Today, after breakfast, Mr Goldwasser accompanied me to the Diamond Club. I withdrew 200 or 300 francs and another 300,000 francs. Together we went to the Société Générale de Belgique bank. I introduced myself as I had an account there. The bank had also recommended an attorney to me. I deposited the money into a bank account there. They gave me a certificate of the equity. The French francs had fallen markedly in value, proving that it was wise not to wait too long to exchange the money. I went to the railroad for a schedule of trains to Brussels. I deposited my certificate of equity at the Diamond Club. I paid Mrs. Goldwasser back from yesterday's loan of 200 francs. I also brought Mrs. Goldwasser a bouquet of roses in gratitude for her husband's assistance at the bank. I paid Kuplach 100 francs today for the week's meals. I am putting on my dark suit to go to Brussels.
Antwerp, Wednesday 9:30 a.m., June 28, 1933.
Yesterday's roundtrip to Brussels cost 22 francs. I caught the trolley to attorney Jasper's office. My visa case was being discussed at the Ministry. Jasper charged 500 francs for my case. He required payment today. I had cake for four-and-a-half francs and sent my parents a letter. I strolled through the Botanical Gardens of Brussels. I returned to Antwerp for dinner at 8 p.m. and went to bed by 11.
Yesterday a letter came telling me to report to the police.
Antwerp, Thursday 9:45 a.m., June 29, 1933.
Yesterday morning I withdrew 500 francs from the Diamond Club to pay Mr. Jasper and sent a postal money order to his office. I am sitting on a lounge in the garden. At noon I gave my waiter a 10-franc tip. After lunch I rested for two hours and darned a pair of socks. I had coffee before returning to the police officer. He cautioned me to extend my visa very shortly. I went to Chantilly for hot chocolate. I danced until 7 p.m. and had the opportunity to speak several different languages. Chantilly cost 10 francs.
I wanted to write my parents before going to bed at 11 p.m., but decided to wait for the next day's mail. I am anxious to check the mail today. An officer from the bank delivered my checkbook for my bank account. Yesterday the gentleman from Crédit Lyonnais brought me a letter from the bank in Poland. The Crédit Lyonnais would be sending a card to the Polish bank to confirm that they received the money.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:35 p.m., June 29, 1933.
This afternoon I spent four-and-a-half francs to go swimming. I rested for two-and-a-half hours and darned a pair of socks. I had some coffee before going to the Diamond Club to deposit my checkbook. I went to the Deurne tailor to pick up my pants, which were still not ready. I called my parents after dinner for 37 francs. I was nervous because I had not received mail in a few days. My mother said she had written. She was thankful that they received 16,000 marks for selling the building on #26 Kapengastrasse. I told my mother I would write her a letter suggesting how to get the money out of Germany. The building was worth nearly 200 marks, but I was thankful that they had been able to get any money out of it. I wrote a congratulatory letter to someone getting married in Poland in the Goldwasser family.
Antwerp, Saturday 6:30 p.m., July 1, 1933.
Yesterday I received a letter from my parents. Enclosed was a letter from Mr. Munavitch from Deurne-au-Rhine, saying I could visit him from the Mendelson house. I wrote him back with my current address. I also went to several banks and to see my friend at the currency exchange office. A new law was being implemented, which prohibited Belgian banks from exchanging German money since so many German marks were flooding the market from recent refugees. After lunch, I enjoyed the garden. After 3 p.m. I tried to reach Mr. Jasper in Brussels, but I was unable to do so. Before going out for the evening, I made Kiddush at the Goldwasser home. I bought myself a fine bottle of wine for 17 francs. Yesterday I had a wonderful meal, including gefilte fish, chicken soup, and a quarter of a goose. then I danced and conversed with the Goldwassers.
Today after breakfast I went to the photo developers and bought three disks for the camera, which cost six francs. I paid eight francs to enter the zoo and visited the animals. The Goldwassers brought me two cards: one from my parents, and the other from my sister. I immediately wrote back. The Goldwassers introduced me to their friends. Among them was a contributor to the zoo, Mr. Gershin, who told me that he would get me into the park for free. His niece Harriet Linkofsky was introduced to me. I took several pictures and went to develop them at the photo developers. I enjoyed speaking in French and Flemish.
Antwerp, Sunday 10:15 p.m., July 2, 1933.
Friday I bought myself toothpaste for six francs. Yesterday after dinner I took Fannie to the café at the Café Grand Hotel. The music was very pleasant. We stayed until 11 p.m. I forgot to pay the waiter for the coffee and did not realize it until I was home.
Today at 4 p.m. I joined Mrs. Goldwasser to the Nightingale Park. I spent 10-and-a-half francs there and met many acquaintances. I saw Ms. Linkofsky, who is 22. We danced and made a date to go out.
After dinner I walked with Mr. Goldwasser. Today I paid Mrs. Goldwasser 40 francs for breakfast.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:20 a.m., July 4, 1933.
After breakfast I withdrew 500 francs from the Diamond Club. Then I went to the dermatologist because I had a rash on my belly. He recommended a salve, assuring me that the rash was not caused by a sickness or disease. I paid him 30 francs. Next I caught a 1 p.m. train to Brussels for 22 francs. I took the trolley to Edward Jasper, where I waited one-and-a-half hours. Jasper told me that the application for permanent residence for me and my family had been entered, and we should receive a positive response in 10 days. I returned to Antwerp and picked up my pictures for three francs. These are photos 95 and 96 in my album. I picked up the doctor's prescription. I paid Mr. Kaprach 100 francs for meals and wrote a letter to my parents.
Antwerp, Wednesday 9:40 a.m., July 5, 1933.
Yesterday I sat in the garden and then went swimming for four-and-a-half francs. From 7-8 p.m. I had my French lesson and paid 80 francs for this month's classes. Afterwards, I went to the movie theatre for three francs. There was a showing of a weekly news clip.
This morning I received two postal money orders that would enable each of my parents to pick up 1,672 francs. My mother phoned to say that a moving man in Berlin would transport them, and the store had been sold. My father was in court with Mr. Rauwelt, the salesman he had hired three months ago, whom I had warned my father about.
I would place the 3,344 francs in the Diamond Club.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:10 a.m., July 6, 1933.
Yesterday morning I walked with Ms. Linkofsky. After dinner I accompanied the Goldwasser sisters to the movies. I paid eight francs for my own ticket only. The movie was, Miracle Child. It was funny, but I did not particularly enjoy it because it didn't have a plot or make much sense. I spent seven francs to treat the Goldwasser sisters for chocolate and ice cream sandwiches.
Today I received a letter from Mr. Munavich.
Antwerp, Friday 9:35 a.m., July 7, 1933.
Yesterday I rested in bed for two hours and darned my socks. I paid eight francs for cleaning my trousers. I telephoned the tailor in Deurne who still had not made my pants. From 7-8 p.m. I was at my French lesson; then I went to dinner. Afterwards, I had a date with an 18-year-old Jewish lady whom I had I met at Berlitz. Today I put on tefillin and prayed.
Antwerp, Sunday noon, July 9, 1933.
Friday I was in the garden and then went swimming. After lunch I tipped the waitress four francs and rested in bed for two hours. In the evening I made Kiddush with Goldwasser; then, went to dinner. Yesterday, I was walking and then rested in the garden. I went to Nightingale Park for beer and dancing for three francs. After dinner, I went to the garden. After making Havdalah, the Goldwasser daughters played piano. Today after breakfast Maria gave me piano lessons.
Antwerp, Monday 9:30 a.m., July 10, 1933.
On Friday, I sent my parents a postcard. Yesterday, I was in the garden, and then I took Fannie to the Nightingale where we met Ms. Linkofsky. Drinks cost seven francs. The weather was lovely in the early evening. I had dinner and drinks at an outdoor restaurant for 28 francs. I sent my parents a postcard from there. I rejoined the sisters for dancing later in the evening. This morning after breakfast I went swimming.
Antwerp, Monday 10:30 p.m. July 10, 1933.
This morning I spent four-and-a-half francs for swimming; a new swimming cap cost five francs. I ate lunch and called Jasper for three francs. While I napped, my mother called me from Poland, where they were visiting. Tomorrow they plan to return to Berlin. She said she would send a money order for 17,500 marks and that she was very happy to talk with me. She is a wonderful mother, and I hope to be a good son and only give them pleasure, even though sometimes I cause her pain. It was raining heavily, so I stayed home. I awaited a letter from my mother. I picked up the developed photos from Saturday evening and placed them in my album as nos.97 and 98. At Kuplech's, I am now paying daily.. After dinner, I sat with the family in their garden.
Antwerp, Tuesday 11:05 p.m., July 11, 1933.
Today I was worried because I had not received my mother's letter, but then it came registered along with a receipt from the bank in Poland. The receipt came from Carspon. I attended to the transfer immediately. I placed these items in my safe in the Diamond Club. I withdrew 1,000 francs for myself. I went to a wholesale textile business and then to the park. I had my French lesson from 7-8 p.m., Today I spent nine francs for more salve for the rash I had.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:15 p.m., July 12, 1933.
Early this morning my mother called from Berlin to see if the money from Poland had been transferred to Belgium. I contacted the local Crédit Lyonnais to transfer the money. Shortly thereafter, I received a registered letter from the Polish bank enclosing a check for 29,300 in Polish money, the equivalent of 146,000 Belgian francs. I gave that check to my bank in Antwerp. Next, I attended a party for Adolf Goldwasser, Mr. Goldwasser's 13-year-old son. For one franc, I bought a bouquet of roses for the Goldwassers. I sent my parents a letter via airmail regarding the money transfer. I wrote a letter to the bank in Poland confirming the receipt of their letter and check. I called Jasper for seven francs to check on the visa application, but didn't reach him. After coffee, I went swimming. After dinner, I danced with Goldwasser's daughter to the music on the Victrola. Antwerp, Thursday 11:05. July 13, 1933.
This morning my parents called about the money transfer. My father was having difficulty getting a visa for a short-term visit to Belgium. He said if he didn't get the visa, he would try to cross the border at Aix-de-Chapelle. I went to the Diamond Club to get the documents I needed to take to Brussels. I went to see Goldwasser's nephew William. William took me to the Belgian Congress, but we were unable to accomplish anything because our passports were Polish. We could not claim we were German refugees since we had Polish passports. I tried again to get in touch with Jasper unsuccessfully. For three francs, I went to see the marathon dancers, some of whom had been dancing for 36 hours. For six francs, I went to a patisserie.
Fortunately, we had not yet been rejected. I had made several applications following the suggestions of different attorneys.
I am taking the train back to Antwerp for 22 francs round trip. The Bank Societe Belgium sent me a letter today, which stated that the francs from the Polish bank had been honored and credited to my account. After dinner, I enjoyed music on the veranda.
Antwerp, Saturday 2:30 p.m., July 15, 1933
After breakfast, I went to get more information about trains coming in from Germany. After lunch, I went to the train which I thought my father might take. When I returned, there was a message from my mother that my father was busy packing and had not yet left. They were tentatively planning to leave the following Sunday. My mother asked if I had heard anything about the applications.
I received a letter from my parents by airmail. Maria Goldwasser accompanied me to Deurne to return the faulty trousers that had been delivered to me before noon. The tailor promised me new pants, but he did not make them as he'd already been paid. I was aggravated. While in the neighborhood, I went to visit David Mendelson and the Reverenhopf Park. We rested on the lawn. Yesterday, Mrs. Goldwasser invited me to dinner with the family. I made Kiddush for Shabbes and enjoyed dinner with them. We said grace afterwards for the meal. I went to bed at 11 p.m. after walking in the park.
This morning I waited for the airmail letter anxiously. I walked with Mr. Goldwasser through the town park. I rested in bed in the afternoon for an hour. My lunches and dinners this week cost 100.
Antwerp, Monday 10:10 a.m., July 17, 1933.
I met some friends in the afternoon and played ball at the Nightingale. After dinner, for 15 francs, I walked and had healthy spring water to drink. Yesterday morning, I was called to the telephone. My mother called to say that my father had left on Saturday and was due to arrive in Brussels by 8:30 a.m. She told me to meet him and Sonia at the station. I woke Maria to come with me to the railroad station to get information. There was no train going to Brussels that would get me there in time. Instead, I hired a driver for 200 francs. I arrived 15 minutes after the train's arrival and found my father on the train just as I was about to give up. My father was on a train heading for Antwerp. We got a refund for his train ticket and took the car. Later, I learned that the train going to Antwerp on which my father had been on had had an accident and arrived in Antwerp one hour later.
I called my mother for 75 francs to tell her that my father had arrived. We paid 22 francs for lunch. I called Mr. Munavich, who was visiting my cousin David in Deurne. We put Sonia to sleep, and I took my father to Deurne. The Mendelsons were not there. We walked around town before returning to Antwerp and having a good dinner for 28 francs. I showed my father the house in whic I lived and got him a room at a hotel. Then, we found a children's bed for Sonia to sleep in at my home. I escorted my father to his room and gave him 400 francs. Yesterday, I spent some time with my father explaining our bank statements. He was satisfied with the accounts I had established. Sonia slept well and felt better. My father arrived from his hotel room. We sat together in Goldwasser's garden.
Antwerp, Monday 1:35 p.m., July 17, 1933.
I took my father to register at the Committee for German Refugees. Then, I put my father and Sonia on a trolley to visit the Mendelsons in Deurne.
Antwerp, Tuesday 4:35 p.m., July 18, 1933.
Yesterday, I relinquished our bank accounts to my father and reported my budget to him. Now I do not have to keep track of the financial balances in the journal unless I want to.
Yesterday after dinner I went to attorney Mrs. Cohen from Hamburg. I met her and her husband at the Berlitz school. I enjoyed spending the evening with them. When I returned, my father and sister were asleep in the hotel. Mr. Crimilofsky, from Berlin, was also staying over. He said that my mother wanted us to call her. I went with him to the post office to call my mother. I told her all about the past few days. I went home by midnight.
Today I took my father to the Diamond Club and introduced him to my friends and acquaintances. We paid 56 francs to rent the safe for one year. I introduced my father around the bank and deposited money there. There are still important papers in the safe. My mother called to say that the furniture had been sent and would be shipped to Belgium today. I went to the Committee about my mother again.
Antwerp, Wednesday 8:10 a.m., July 19, 1933.
I went with my father to the Committee and then to my French lesson from 7-8 p.m. Afterwards, my father, Sonia, and I walked with some of my acquaintances.
Antwerp, Thursday 3:10 p.m., July 20, 1933.
After breakfast yesterday, we picked my mother up at the station. I spent the afternoon with my mother at the Town Council. Later, we looked for rooms together, and my parents rented two rooms. My father made me angry when he said that I spent too much money while he wasn't here. i was very careful and was upset that he said that. After dinner, I visited the Cohens.
This morning, I went to the railroad station to pick up my mother's valises. But first I had to return to the house to get the keys to open the locks on the valises in case we needed to pay customs. It turned out that there was no duty to pay, not even for my mother's new fox collar. Then, my father and I went to the photographer, and then to the Town Council to register my parents. I lunched with my father. Today, my sister had a temperature and a stomach virus; so, she stayed in bed, and we stayed home with her.
I wrote letters to our attorneys in Berlin.
Antwerp, Friday, July 21, 1933.
Today is my birthday. My father and I awoke at 4 a.m. and went with Maria and Regina Goldwasser to Blankenberg to the North Sea. It was a three-and-a-half hour train trip. The girls were on vacation. My birthday went as follows: in the morning we went to the beach, and my father swam with me. After lunch, I napped one hour, and we returned to the beach café.
We had banana royal and I danced. We sent my mother, the Goldwassers, and Dr. Cohen postcards. We promenaded in the evening and were in bed by 10:30 p.m.
On Saturday, July 22, I felt nauseous in the morning. Maria took me to my room and gave me cold compresses. I returned to the beach after lunch. I wanted to go back to bed, but my father said it was nice on the beach, so I went to the beach. I started to feel bad again, so Regina took me back to the room and gave me cold water compresses. I took some aspirin. I was running a high fever, around 40 (normal was 36). When Maria and my father returned, my fever was still high. The girls and I wanted to get a doctor, but my father said I didn't need a doctor and that I was ruining everyone's fun. When my father left, I asked one of the girls to get a doctor for me. After the aspirin, my fever went down to 39.5. The doctor gave me a prescription. Maria looked after me, and when I perspired profusely from the prescription, she kept toweling my face. I lay quietly as the sickness made me weak.
On Sunday, the doctor returned. My father had return-tickets for the railroad that day, so he wanted the doctor to get me ready for travel. I took many extra tablets to ready myself for the journey. I went to a beach café with the girls, and we listened to music before catching the evening train back to Antwerp.
Goldwasser and my mother said I looked very sick. Mrs. Goldwasser insisted that I remain in bed for a few days, and she looked after me.
On Thursday, I went to my French lessons. That same evening, the Cohens came to visit. Dr. Cohen advised my parents against leaving Antwerp at present. In the meantime, the furniture arrived from Berlin. The Cohens suggested that we rent an apartment and establish an address, rather than putting the furniture in storage. I received a letter from the Town Council. Because I still felt so weak from my illness, I went with my mother to the Commissar. The Commissar said that my request for permit residency was rejected in Brussels. My three-month permit would expire in August. The Commissar suggested that I get another three-month visa. The Burgermeister (Mayor) promised to help us if I wrote him a letter and explained our situation.
On Friday, my parents rented a four-room apartment at Avenue Wundunais #10, where we are now living. Customs officers detailed the items we had brought into the country.
On Saturday, we were settled in. My parents continued to believe that they had been better off in Germany where they had a business and spoke the language. Here they had neither. During this time, I took a rowboat out with Sonia, Maria, and Dalia.
I hope my parents will stop complaining and get used to living here. They continue to blame me for bringing them to Brussels.
I am now taking private French language lessons from an older man.
Antwerp, Monday 11:05 p.m., August 14, 1933.
I went to the doctor today about a persistent cough. He gave me a prescription.
Someone recommended a woman who was supposed to be good at teaching French. The following week I began lessons with her. Today and Thursday I have another lesson with the gentleman who's also been giving me French lessons.
My mother gave me 8,400 francs for the thousand marks I had saved in Germany. That money was deposited in my checking account at a low interest rate. My parents are keeping their money at the National Bank with some other money earning a higher rate of interest. I had a lot of writing work with the attorney and these bank accounts.
Saturday afternoon, I went to Nightingale Park. My parents have company over.
Antwerp, Wednesday 7:45 p.m., August 16, 1933.
On Tuesday, Mr. Munivich joined my family on a visit to David Mendelson. I went to bed around 11:00 p.m. I stayed in bed until noon the next day because of my cough. After lunch, my parents went to Brussels. I took care of Sonia, straightened up the house, prepared dinner, and bought some household items.
The rash I had had on my belly has returned. My mother is treating it with alcohol, which seems to be working.
Antwerp, Thursday 8:45 p.m., August 17, 1933.
My parents came home from Brussels yesterday at dinnertime. Mr. Lampel, who had taken over my room with the Goldwassers, came to visit us. He was nice. My parents like Brussels more than Antwerp; I am happy that they are pleased.. I stayed in bed until 11 a.m. today. I took my mother to see Max Fisher at the exchange office about my mother's 3,000 marks in Germany. He said he was unable to transfer marks anymore. I did not have my French lesson today, but I did study.
Antwerp, Monday 8:30 p.m., August 21, 1933.
Saturday and Sunday I stayed in bed because I did not feel well. I did take Ms. Linkofsky and her mother out dancing. It cost five francs.
Today I had a French lesson with the woman for ten francs; I thought she was a good teacher. My father went to Brussels today. He said that since we were not earning any money, I could not spend money on French lessons. I argued that I do not treat myself to anything else, and I was willing to pay for the lessons myself so that I could learn the language and converse with the people in Belgium. My father is anxious to start a business, but he complained that he needed to be able to speak French in order to do so.
This morning I visited cousin Mendelson and helped him with some writing work. I will do some more French homework and go to bed. My parents continue to complain that I was responsible for their leaving Berlin because I refused to return there.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:35 p.m., August 23, 1933.
Yesterday I did some writing work. Mr. and Mrs. Goldwasser visited us.
I went to bed early last night. Today my mother and I went to the Czechoslovakian Consulate. We learned that life there was worse than here. My parents again fought with me because I had dragged them to Belgium from Berlin.
Antwerp, Thursday 9:10 p.m., August 24, 1933.
My parents gave me 200 francs today to buy a pair of shoes. My mother gave me an additional 100 francs for pocket money. I will use that money to pay for my French lessons. I had a lesson this afternoon.
Antwerp, Monday 5:55 p.m., August 27, 1933.
Friday I walked in the park with Sonia. During the evening, I wrote a letter for my cousin Mendelson's business. I listened to news from around the world, which appeared ominous.
Saturday I mailed the letter for David Mendelson. In the afternoon I went with a friend on a rowboat. I napped in the afternoon and was still upset that my parents were bitter about my dragging them out of Germany. I do not want to have a confrontation with them, but it aggravates me to hear their complaints. I still feel I did the right thing, but I am the only one who feels that way. I can defend my position since everyone I speak to says that my parents should be thankful that they are in Belgium and not Germany. My parents still do not see it that way. They complain constantly. I am getting headaches and an upset stomach from this constant tension.
Yesterday afternoon we went to Nightingale Park. I went to bed at 8:30 p.m. David Mendelson visited with a letter from some relatives in Palestine who suggested that we move there. I went to get information on moving to Palestine.
Today my father again complained about the expensive French lessons. I seems that he doesn't want to see me spend any money. These lessons may be more expensive, but the teacher is very good and I am learning faster from her.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:55 a.m., August 31, 1933.
Monday evening my father hollered at me once again about the French lessons and our living in Belgium. I went to bed at 8 p.m.
Tuesday I had bad headaches and slept until 5 p.m. After a short walk, I went back to bed.
Yesterday morning I was not feeling well at all. We received a letter from a bank in Czechoslovakia, which required a response. My father had decided to travel through Germany to pick up his remaining 3,000 marks. My mother left the money there because she was afraid to carry more than 1,000 marks on her person. We all advised my father against returning to Germany, but he would not listen. My father criticized me again for my decision to come to Belgium. I listened quietly without fighting, but in my mind I still feel I did the right thing. I am still glad to have my parents here in Belgium and not in Germany. I love my parents and would not want to lose them in Germany, particularly the way people get lost in Germany these days. I hope my father will return safely from this trip. I ran errands with my father through all the different consulates. At 7 p.m. my father left for Germany. I went to bed at 10:30 p.m.
I davened this morning and prayed for my father's safe journey. Now I am sitting with my sister; while she plays in the park, I will study my French lessons.
Antwerp, Sunday 11:30 a.m., September 3, 1933.
Thursday I walked around with my mother and sister. Glenda visited us with her husband today on her birthday. I went to bed around 11 p.m.
Friday evening I went with my mother to Mr. Krimilofsky's house. He was from Montevideo and had just arrived from Berlin where he had met my father. He told us that my father was doing well there. He still had not taken care of the financial matter.
Now my father was no longer happy with Berlin because as a Jew he was now restricted from commerce. Jews are now afraid to walk through the streets. I went to sleep at 11 p.m.
Yesterday Sonia and I walked to allow my mother to fix up the house. Last night Glenda again paid us a visit. Then we visited Mr. Krimilofsky. While we were there, his son had returned from Berlin. The reports were bad. Now I am sitting in the park watching my sister.
Antwerp, Monday 1:30 p.m., September 4, 1933.
Yesterday my mother; sister, and I joined Mr. and Mrs. Grender. In the evening, cousin Mendelson visited. Today Sonia and I walked through the park and spent some time at Goldwasser's waiting for my father to call there. He has not yet called. We are worried.
Antwerp, Tuesday 4:05 p.m., September 5, 1933.
I had my French lesson yesterday and did my homework. We received an airmail postcard from my father in Carlsbad. I was thankful he was OK. Our nerves were calmed when we went to bed.
We wrote two postcards to my father and received a letter from him that he wanted to phone at Goldwasser's but was unable to. This morning we walked in the park.
Antwerp, Friday 2:20 p.m., September 8, 1933.
Last night cousin David visited. My mother and I received a letter from my father in Carlsbad and hoped that he would take some vacation there and relax, as he usually did. But today my father came home to Antwerp. He brought many presents. He gave me two silk ties, an umbrella, a chocolate bar, and a shirt. I thanked him and was relieved to have him home. My father told my mother she looked beautiful and well rested. He said Berlin was very bad, and he no longer wished to go back. Now he was considering opening a business in Prague. He again blamed me for his being in Belgium. He decided he wanted to rest in Belgium for the winter before moving to Czechoslovakia. He felt uncomfortable with French. My father rested while I went shopping with my mother for Shabbes.
Antwerp, Sunday 1:30 p.m., September 10, 1933.
I went to bed early on Friday and slept late. On Saturday evening I went to the Capital Theatre and saw a wonderful film, Ecstasy, with Lana Turner. Yesterday I bought shoes for 100 francs. Friday my father gave me five francs to go see a movie. I spent a lot of money this week at the barber shop and for various toiletries. I no longer write of those expenses. This morning I went to the post office for my parents and did some writing work.
Antwerp, Monday 9:40 p.m., September 11, 1933.
Today I researched exchange rates for the Czech kroenig with Max Fisher. We were able to exchange the currency. I went to my French lesson in the afternoon and then met up with my family in the park. (The first days after my father's return from Czechoslovakia, he seemed content. Since then, he has been bored and lonesome and is now complaining again about being out of Berlin. Still he remembers that he was afraid to walk in the streets of Berlin when he was back. He claims he does not want to return there.) Now my father wants me to get a job. He suggested that I peddle socks and other woven textiles. I proposed getting a stand at a farmer's market and selling these items there because that way I could stay in town and build up a business. This would still give me some free time.
Antwerp, Wednesday 3:15 p.m., September 13, 1933.
Yesterday I went to the banks to get money transferred. We rested all afternoon. Then I went to the police station to respond to a notice my father received. Afterwards, I saw the movie, Beauty Parlor, with Anita Praga and Marie Dressler. It was a light, funny film. The second film was, The Beautiful Danube, with Joseph Schildkraut, Brigitte Helm, and others. It was a beautiful film with nice music about a love affair.
Today before noon I attended to correspondence. Afterwards my father went to Paris. Maybe he would like to start a business there. When my father reads about Palestine, it seems to upset him. My mother took Sonia to see the movies I saw yesterday.
Antwerp, Friday 2:30 p.m., September 15, 1933.
Wednesday, after I finished my French homework, I had dinner and walked through the streets before retiring to bed.
Yesterday I ran many errands and then went to the Goldwassers in the afternoon. Maria prepared a French letter for me to respond to the attorney Jasper. He had sent us back our correspondence. Thus far he hasn't been very helpful for our 500 francs.
This afternoon I helped clean the house and went looking for a job. I found no openings. I went to the bank for my father. I have some correspondence work and French homework to attend to.
Antwerp, Saturday 9:10 p.m., September 16, 1933.
I walked for a while yesterday and went to bed early.
This morning I took Sonia to the park. Then, I escorted my mother and sister to the train to visit the Mendelsons in Deurne. I went with my father and a friend to the Granada Café.
After dinner I did my French homework. (Yesterday I arranged with a new teacher to have an hourly lesson costing five francs. I have one lesson left with my prior instructor tomorrow.) My father yelled at me again for the expensive tutor. I gave my French teacher one lesson's notice that I was changing instructors, as she had requested. I wanted to go to the movies today, but my father complained that I was spending too much money. My father spends a great deal of money on cigarettes and goes to coffee houses very frequently, but I do not complain about those expenditures.
Antwerp, Sunday 9:55 p.m., September 17, 1933.
I went to the dentist this morning and cared for my sister in the afternoon while my parents were out. I visited with the Goldwassers and came home to hear the news report. The radio announcer was discussing the plummeting American dollar. It would soon be at 55% of its actual worth. I am fortunate to have sold my American dollars for Belgian currency. Now I am worried about the financial loss that the palm reader in Berlin had mentioned. I really do not know the gravity of her prediction.
Antwerp, Tuesday 8:30 p.m., September 19, 1933.
Today is Rosh Hashanah. I did a lot of correspondence work, and Maria Goldwasser proofed the letter that I was sending to the attorney Jasper. After my French lesson and dinner, I went to the movies with two friends. Since I had a discount card, the movie did not cost me anything. The first German movie, which I'd already seen in Berlin, starred Richard Tauber. The second was in French and featured Armand Bernard. I was happy to realize I fully understood it.
Today I wrote some letters before taking my sister to the dentist and the park. I paid the dentist 360 francs for three gold caps that I had ordered. That afternoon I celebrated Rosh Hashanah in the New Temple. It cost me 100 francs; it was discounted because I was a foreigner and unemployed. I shared the ticket with my father.
Tomorrow I will mail Rosh Hashanah cards to my parents.
Antwerp, Wednesday 5:50 p.m., September 20, 1933.
This morning I did some house-shopping for my mother. I also took Sonia back to the dentist for a filling, which cost thirty francs. I mailed Rosh Hashanah cards that afternoon to friends and relatives. Mr. Sweitzer, a dry-cleaning acquaintance of ours from Berlin, needed me to help him with moving of his belongings from Berlin, and I was involved in negotiations for that for three hours. I am going to the Goldwassers to wish them a healthy New Year.
Antwerp, Saturday 9:10 p.m., September 23, 1933.
Wednesday night I went to temple and then to sleep. Thursday I prayed and heard the shofar blown. In the afternoon we were accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Grendar.
Yesterday, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, I went to temple with Sonia. After lunch, my family went to visit the Mendelsons while I went to the movie theatre to see two French films: Henri Garat starred in He is Charming and Maurice Chevalier and Claudette Colbert in The Laughing Lieutenant. In the evening my parents came home and went to see the same two movies.
Today before noon I visited the Cohens with my sister. Attorney Cohen helped me interpret some letters from the Czech bank. The bank had notified us that the money was available to be transferred at my father's discretion. The money was in a locked account, as my father had been residing in Germany. Mr. Jasper wrote that he was going back to see the foreign minister on my family's behalf. In the afternoon an acquaintance visited my family. My father again displayed his displeasure at life in Antwerp.
Antwerp, Monday 9:05 p.m., September 25, 1933.
Yesterday morning my mother and I shopped. For five francs, I went to the public bath house. Now I am using my 100 remaining francs to buy shoes. The balance will be pocket money. I took my sister back to the dentist. This morning my mother and I cared for financial matters at the Polish Consulate. Afterwards I returned my sister to the dentist. I paid 30 francs for her fillings. At the Diamond Club, I deposited a diamond ring and the Czech bank book. I inquired into travel plans for my mother. I had my French lesson, but I do not think this teacher is as good as my previous one. I plan to return to the previous teacher because I was learning more from that one. My father once again was yelling about my frivolous behavior and complaining that I took him out of Germany. My mother packed her bags for a short trip to Berlin to get the 3,000 marks in the bank. She was fearful for her savings as my father had been unsuccessful in freeing the funds. I pray for my mother's safe return. Now I will study French.
Antwerp, Wednesday 6:45 p.m., September 27, 1933.
Yesterday morning I went to the Polish Consulate; then I wrote a letter to the Czech bank. I returned again to the Consulate. My father bought a lottery ticket, but he did not win. In the afternoon, my father went to the movies, while I watched my sister and did my homework. A letter arrived from our attorney in Berlin. He had received a permit to send the 3,000 marks from Germany, thereby making my mother's excursion futile. I had warned my mother against making the trip, but my father was adamant that she go. After dinner I went to the Capital Theatre to see two French films, The Man that Saved Tom, an average Western, and Back Street, a beautiful love story starring Irene Dunne. After the movie, I read aloud from the Jewish newspaper for my father. (At this time he was still illiterate; he did not learn to read until we were planning to move to America, a move that required literacy.) I went to bed at midnight.
Today I did my French homework; we received a letter from my mother.
Antwerp, Thursday 11:45 p.m., September 28, 1933.
This morning I walked with my sister. Then, we had lunch and napped in the afternoon. I read the Jewish paper to my father. I bought food for dinner. Maria Goldwasser came by to say that Mother had telephoned to let us know she would be leaving Berlin tonight and be arriving in Antwerp tomorrow at noon. After dinner, my father went to buy the Shabbes meal. I put Sonia to bed, listened to the radio with Maria, and danced with her until my father came home.
Antwerp, Friday 4:45 p.m., September 29, 1933.
We picked my mother up at the train station shortly before we expected her because she had caught an express train. Finally, my mother was able to transport her money from Germany. The Belgian banks were unable to cash the check until they received notification from the German bank.
My mother was so glad to get her money out of Germany that she gave me 100 francs in pocket money. When their check is cashed, my parents will give me the remainder of my savings from Berlin. Afterwards, I went to the dentist. He gave me two gold crowns for 150 francs. I went to the French teacher and cancelled my remaining lessons. Then, I did some shopping for my mother. Now I am going to get properly dressed for Yom Kippur tonight. My little sister is feeling unwell with a cold.
Antwerp, Sunday 3:00 p.m., October 1, 1933.
When I came home from the temple after the Kol Nidre service, Mr. and Mrs. Grindach were visiting. I wished everyone a happy and a healthy New Year. During our conversation, my father again began complaining about being dragged by me to Belgium. My father claimed that I had been running around with Goldwasser's three daughters. He complained that I had been sitting around for three months in Belgium doing nothing. I listened to my father's raving and was aggravated, but did not respond because it was a holiday. I told my father he could deduct the amount that he thought I had overspent in Belgium from my savings from Germany. My mother had not taken his side, so my father cursed at her, too, for passively taking my side. He brought up the fact that she bought expensive shoes when she went back to Germany.
Yesterday, I spent most of the day at the temple. I fasted from Friday at 6 p.m. until 7:06 p.m. Saturday, My mother also fasted. I wanted to show my father that I was respectfully dating, not "shlepping around" with several women. That night I went to the Chantilly night club. I enjoyed the time away from my father. Afterwards, I went out for a glass of beer. The evening cost 14 francs.
Today I paid the dentist the 50 francs that I still owed him and took Sonia to the park since she was feeling better. I visited the Goldwassers both days to wish them a Happy Holiday. Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. My father unfortunately is following another direction; he continues to blame me for taking him to Belgium. Last night, I went to sleep at 10 p.m.; the night before at 1 a.m.
My mother is suffering a lot. She risked her life to return to Berlin and save my father's money. But all my father could do was yell at her for buying expensive shoes. He yelled so much that she threatened to kill herself just to get away from his abuse.
Today my mother received a letter from her sister in Poland, David Mendelson's mother. Her sister's other son, Israel Mendelson, who had been serving in the Polish army, was hit by three hand grenades and killed. I believe this is the death that the palm reader had told me about in Mocha Hafte on April 9, 1933. May he rest in peace. I was sorry to bring bad news; I hope there will be good news in the future. The Polish Army required that I sign up in their Consulate to agree to serve in their army wherever I am in order to maintain my citizenship.
Antwerp, Tuesday, October 3, 1933.
Sunday afternoon I walked around a bit and did my French homework.
On Monday before noon I was in the Polish Consulate regarding the money in the Czech bank. Then, I brought the gold from the bank home for my mother to give my father. I returned to the Consulate with 1,380 marks to convert to francs and deposit in my bank account. Now I have 19,900 francs of my own money. In the afternoon, my father took me to Brussels where we explored leads for new businesses. After dinner we came home. At midnight I finished my business correspondence.
Today I went to the dentist in the morning and took my sister for a walk.
Antwerp, Wednesday 2:05 p.m., October 4, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon I did some more work before going out with Leo Silverman, a 17-year-old German refugee. Leo speaks a bit of French and English; his father is a cantor. We registered for public (free) French language courses. Afterwards, David Mendelson visited with a letter he received from his cousin in Palestine. I went to sleep by 11:30 p.m.
My father is very interested in moving to Palestine. My mother and I are reluctant to do so. In today's world economic situation, it seems there are few other options. The anti-Semitism is so widespread, not just in Germany but throughout the world. (It is almost incomprehensible to understand the pre-war anti-Semitism today.) My parents now want to visit the Mendelsons in Deurne. I am returning to my French studies. Today I bought my sister cod liver oil for five francs. Lately, I have been spending some extra money for newspapers, barbershop visits, and other activities. After my French homework, I am going to the movie theatre.
Antwerp, Friday 12:00 p.m., October 6, 1933.
Wednesday afternoon I saw the movie, Don't Be Jealous. It was half of a double feature; the other was The King of Jazz. That one was one of the first pictures in color. The scenes and clothes were lavish, but the film was a little straining on the eyes. In the evening I studied French before retiring at 11:30 p.m.
Yesterday afternoon I went to the dentist and took a walk with my sister. The dentist invited me for coffee after my appointment.
I went to bed at 10:45 p.m.; I had a hard time falling asleep because of my toothache.
This morning I returned to the dentist. Tonight I will go to services at the temple. Wednesday will be Sukkos. I paid my dentist 100 francs by check today.
Antwerp, Sunday 12:00 p.m., October 8, 1933.
Friday I went with my parents to visit some family friends. In the evening, I did French homework and went to bed. Yesterday before noon I walked around with my sister. I escorted my father to the railroad station to go to Paris. In the afternoon I did more homework. In the evening I played checkers with my mother; I won ten francs from her, but only took five. Then I got dressed and went to the ball in Century after 10 p.m., I was not very anxious to go.
I offered to go to the theatre with my mother, but she did not want to go out. The admission at the ball was very high, but I waited a little while and got in free. The Goldwasser daughters were there; so were other people I knew. The music was nice, as were some of the other acts. I danced with many people. I met a nice, young Jewish girl. She was 19 and spoke German, English, French, and Flemish fluently. She was at the ball with her mother and brother. She is a member of a sports club that I am considering joining. My father has urged me to get active in sports, not just "runn around." He also thinks improved fitness will be helpful if we go to Palestine. Today we set our clocks back. The whole evening cost eight-and-a-half francs. I walked home with the girl and her mother.
This morning I was with my friend Leo in the public school. Soon I would like to begin studying Hebrew.
Antwerp, Sunday 8:40 p.m., October 8, 1933.
I went to the dentist again today and then visited the Goldwassers. Mrs. Goldwasser delivered a sermon to me that I had not been nice to her daughters because I did not asked them to dance at the Century the other night. I had thought that greeting them nicely and sitting near them had been enough. I was grateful for all they had done for me, but was surprised by her expectations. Afterwards, I walked with my mother and Leo. I have a bit more writing work and will listen to the radio and study French.
Antwerp, Monday 10:10 p.m., October 9, 1933.
Today before noon I went to see various people in different places regarding the damages from our moving. In the afternoon I studied French before walking with my mother. After dinner I went with Leo Silverman and his sister to the public language school. I am taking two French two-hour classes, one basic and one advanced. The lessons are informative and enjoyable. I need to purchase a different lesson book than the one I was previously using. The other students seem more advanced than I am, but I am confident that I'll be able to catch up. The schedule for Hebrew lessons at the school has not yet been determined. The French classes meet twice weekly.
Mother is already sleeping. Now I will go to sleep.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:25 p.m., October 10, 1933.
I took my sister walking and went to the dentist. In the afternoon, I studied French. After dinner, I played checkers with my mother. I just received a letter from our lawyer, Mr. Jasper. He said I should come see him in Brussels.
Antwerp, Wednesday 7:30 p.m., October 11, 1933.
My father returned from Paris at 1 a.m. today. He told us that he had discussed Palestine with some Frenchmen who had just returned from there. These Frenchmen had returned to Paris because they thought the business opportunities there were difficult, and it would be difficult for their families to adjust to the climate there. This changed my father's mind about Palestine. Now he became focused on Paris. He discussed our opening a barber shop in Paris with a friend of ours in the salon business. He suggested I train to become a beautician so I have the necessary skill. The idea of having a profession is good. But the idea of putting money into a business with a partner who is not willing to invest money is unappealing to me. I am further motivated to learn French. My parents are also now interested in learning French. I am afraid that I am about to endure a financial loss that the palm reader had predicted. I don't want to be superstitious, but I am concerned about opening this business with an uninvested partner in something in which I have no experience.
This morning I walked with my sister. In the afternoon I was with Mrs. Brochowitz. I left a message for her daughter that I was interested in meeting her at the Sports Club.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:15 p.m., October 12, 1933.
Today is Simchas Torah, the last day of Sukkos, a very festive day. After walking with my sister, my father gave me 10 francs. After lunch, I spent two francs at the cinema while my parents visited the Mendelsons in Deurne. I saw a comedy followed by, Girls in Uniform. The first film was about vagabonds; the second I had seen previously in Berlin, Afterwards, I took my sister to temple. Simchas Torah is a holiday which caters very much to children with noise makers, flags, and fruit for all.
Antwerp, Saturday 2:30 p.m., October 14, 1933.
Yesterday morning I was in temple with my sister. Then we went for a stroll. In the afternoon I did writing work and walked with my sister. My mother was not feeling well. After dinner, mother went to bed. I went out for a little while before putting Sonia to bed. Afterwards I saw a German film, Once There Was a Waltz in Vienna. The second film, The Plumber in Love, starred Buster Keaton. It was more whimsical than the first and enjoyable.
This morning I cleaned my room and took my sister for a walk.
Antwerp, Saturday 2:30 p.m., October 14, 1933.
After lunch, I went to find a doctor to pay a house call on my mother.
Antwerp, Sunday 10:45 p.m., October 15, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon the doctor checked in to see my mother. He did not think she needed medication. I begged my father to call a specialist who tends to women. That would be more expensive and my father refused. Before noon today, I took Sonia to the dentist and then out for a walk. I tended to housecleaning, meals, and my little sister. I also assisted my father. In between, I found time to study a bit of French in the dictionary my father bought me for seven-and-a-half francs.
Antwerp, Monday 10:35 p.m., October 16, 1933.
Last night David Mendelson visited. I gave him presents of two of my ties and an old winter coat. Today before noon I ran some errands. First, I went to the French Consulate. They do not want to give me a French visa to visit. Afterwards, I went to the gas and electric company. David Mendelson came back to visit again with his wife. They cooked for us because my mother was still sick. After lunch, I napped and took my sister for a walk. I wrote a letter to our lawyer Jasper in Brussels saying that my parents were trying to move elsewhere. I asked him to send back the papers for our case. Yesterday a police officer came to see my father about my permit to remain in Antwerp. I stated that I did not know from which border we would be leaving Belgium and when. Meanwhile, I hope to extend my temporary permit.
Antwerp, Tuesday 9:30 p.m., October 17, 1933.
This morning I again had many errands. I visited several banks for information in connection with our different monies. There is still money remaining in Czechoslovakia, blocked in part because the German government left the Geneva Conference on Arms Control. Everyone is preparing for, and anticipating, war among Germany and the countries surrounding it. By freezing the account, the Czechs hope to keep the money from German authorities who might confiscate it from German Jewish citizens. Today we gave our landlord notice that we anticipate moving to Paris. After dinner, I cleaned the kitchen and put my sister to bed. I am going to study French and go to bed. This evening my mother gave me a gift of five francs for my help around the house.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:40 p.m., October 18, 1933.
This morning I went to the French Consulate with my father to get information on moving. Afterwards, I went to find out about the money in escrow for our damaged furniture. I was supposed to receive that money from the movers, but have not yet received it. I was also supposed to receive a refund for duties mistakenly charged us by the customs house. At the customs house, I was finally advised that we would have to remain in Belgium and prove our residence to receive the money.
I received an invitation to a dance Saturday night from the Jewish Sports Club where Ms. Buchovitz is a member. Ms. Buchovitz contacted me and said she hoped that that I would attend.
Antwerp, Thursday 9:50 p.m., October 19, 1933.
My father is now also sick, leaving me with many household chores. I read to my father from the Jewish newspaper as he lay in bed. After dinner, I studied my French. My friend Leo visited. He is now in the confectionery business, so I bought some chocolate from him.
Antwerp, Saturday 7 p.m., October 21, 1933.
Yesterday, I bought groceries in the morning and then went to the Polish Consulate for my father. In the afternoon, I went to the dentist and the barber. The dentist is working on my third gold cap. All that remains is a filling. Since all my teeth are properly cleaned, I won't have to see him for a while. I paid him 150 francs from my own bank account. In the evening, I made a foot bath and went to bed by 10 p.m.
Today before noon my father and I went to the German and Czech Consulates. My father wants to go to Czechoslovakia on Monday to personally try to get our bank account released. In the afternoon, with my mother's help, I cleaned and pressed two suits. Now I am waiting for dinner. I look forward to going to the dance tonight.
Antwerp, Sunday 9:35 p.m., October 22, 1933.
Last night I went to the Sports Club where there were many young Jewish men and women. A Victrola provided music. Young couples were dancing. The entire affair was in a large room rented in a hotel. The party ended at midnight and a group of us escorted each other home. I arrived home by 1:30 a.m. and went to bed. The entire evening cost three francs and forty centimes. This morning I took my sister for a walk. In the afternoon my parents went to a movie theater, and I studied French.
Antwerp, Monday 10:30 p.m., October 23, 1933.
Today, before noon and in the afternoon, I cared for my sister and shopped for the home. I ran errands at the Diamond Club and the Czech bank for my father. At 6 p.m., I took my father to Gare Central to board the train for Czechoslovakia. After dinner, I went to my French class. My father gave me 20 francs for sending him off so nicely. I hope my father will have a safe trip and return.
Antwerp, Tuesday 11:35 p.m., October 24, 1933.
This morning I wrote some business correspondence and did my grocery shopping. I visited the gas and electric company. We have temporarily withdrawn our notice of moving with our landlord. I watched my sister in the afternoon while my mother went to the beauty parlor. Then, I walked with my mother and sister. After dinner, I ironed my laundry and spent five francs on a double feature starring Jackie Cooper, The Close Friendship, and a French film, Cadaver #5. I understood the French film well and enjoyed it.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:55 p.m., October 25, 1933.
Before noon I walked with my sister and went to the bathhouse for a shower costing five francs. In the afternoon, I visited the Goldwassers with my mother and sister. After dinner, I went to my French course.
Antwerp, Thursday 9:05 p.m., October 26, 1933.
I cleaned house in the morning. In the afternoon, I visited Erna Gruber and her sister Olga, girls I knew from French class. Together we studied and I had tea with her mother and sisters. My mother and sister were sleeping, and now I'll go to bed.
Antwerp, Sunday 7:25 p.m., October 29, 1933.
Friday I shopped with my mother so that she would not have to carry the heavy bags herself. We received a letter from my father in Carlsbad (a spa resort with hot springs in Czechoslovakia). In this letter, he told us that he was taking the train to Prague. In the afternoon we visited Goldwasser, where my father had already telephoned to say that he had left Prague successfully. Another letter written by my father's friend on his behalf said that he was unable to free the money.
Charlie Joelson, a young German refugee we had met at the Goldwasser house, was in great need of help and assistance; he didn't even have decent clothes to wear. We took Charlie with us, and I gave him one of my old suits.
After dinner, I went to Cinema Plaza for three francs. The first film was, The Widower in Love; the second was English film, The Man Who Married an Indian. At 11:55 p.m., I went to bed.
Yesterday morning I walked with my mother and sister. After dinner, I went again to the Jewish Sports Club. One gentleman there recited an entertaining story about Judaism. Then, we played group games in which the winner was entitled to a kiss. I spent two-and-a-half francs for coffee that night. After the evening's activities, we walked around town. I was home by 12:40 a.m.
Today before noon I went shopping with my mother. I rested in the afternoon. Ms. Erna Gruber and Leo came over so we could study French together.
Today my mother told me that David Mendelson and Kamilovsky were expected to visit. I have a feeling that my father will return late tonight.
Antwerp, Monday 11:45 p.m., October 30, 1933.
My father has not yet returned although we had expected that he would be home by now. I am worried because we have not received any further mail from him. My family went to the railroad station twice today to see if my father was there, but he was not. In the afternoon, we rested. After dinner, I went to my French course. My mother returned again to the railroad station. Everyone is worried. I hope nothing has happened to delay his return. I did not sleep well last night, waiting up for my father.
Antwerp, Tuesday 8:25 p.m., October 31, 1933.
This morning, my dear father, thank G-d, returned from Prague. He had had a lot of trouble and work there. Now he has his money back. In fact, they opened a new account for him at the main office in Prague. He has 650,000 Czech kronen in the Prague bank. My father brought home presents for me: shirts and cuff links, a pair of socks, chocolate, and 10 francs. In the afternoon, my family went to the café.
I studied French until the evening. Now I have shined everyone's shoes. Usually, I only clean and shine my own. Today I received a letter from my lawyer in Berlin about the accident when the taxi driver ran me over. The lawyer told me that he lost the case because the taxi driver had some phony witnesses, Nazis. The lawyer sent me a bill for more money, even though he took the case agreeing to take only a percentage of the win.
Antwerp, Wednesday 8:50 p.m., November 1, 1933.
This morning I walked around with my sister, visited the Grubers, and studied French. In the afternoon, I did shopping for the house and played with my sister. I spent the early evening with Mr. Katz who visited with my family. He was also from Berlin. After dinner, I listened to a speech by Hitler broadcast from Weimar.
According to Hitler's speeches and statements, you would think he's not that strong anymore. I pray he will soon reach his end, and the world will return to living in peace. Whether or not my parents are glad that they are out of Germany, I certainly am glad. I feel sorry for my other relatives in Poland, whom I have never met and do not know, because I think they are in trouble there. Now I am doing my French homework. I pray for help and relief for humanity and for Jews, who should not have to be killed by their enemies.
Antwerp, Thursday 8:10 p.m., November 2, 1933.
David Mendelson visited until late yesterday. This morning I ran errands and visited the Goldwassers. In the afternoon, I visited the Buchovitzes who had invited me to join them for tea. I had a nice discussion with the entire family. I went to the Yiddish theatre to purchase advance tickets for my parents.
Antwerp, Sunday 2:20 p.m., November 5, 1933.
I walked with my sister Friday before noon. In the afternoon, I was at Gruber'd doing French homework. After dinner, my family went to visit the Katzes.
I walked through the park yesterday morning. In the afternoon, I had a private lesson with the French lady who came to our house to give my parents and then me French lessons; they have just begun learning French. She taught me for an hour, and my father paid for all our lessons.
After dinner, I had a meeting with wholesale grocery dealers who are about the establish a cooperative. My father expects to invest some money in return for which I will be employed in the grocery business. I am skeptical that it will happen. Afterwards, I went to the Jewish Sports Club for the evening.
This morning I went walking with Jack Rosenberg, the 19-year-old man I had met at the Sports Club.
Antwerp, Sunday 9:20 p.m., November 5, 1933.
This afternoon Jack and I went to the Cinema Plaza to see two French films. I spent four francs to see Circus Barnum and Free Souls. Both films were taken from real life, and I enjoyed them. I had seen the second one a few years earlier in Germany. Afterwards, I went to the police station with my mother. (I do not remember why.)
Antwerp, Monday 11:20 p.m., November 6, 1933.
After vacuuming and attending to family chores, I took my sister to the park. I picked up groceries in the afternoon and went to my French class after dinner. (On Saturday I met a 21-year-old Jewish woman, Ritka Heiner. She was about my height and very nice. I may want to take her out sometime.)
Antwerp, Tuesday 1:35 a.m., November 7, 1933.
This morning I went to a few different banks to research exchange rates. Then, I did my French homework. Jack Rosenberg and I went to call on Jack Gruber. We went to a book exposition. After dinner, my parents took my sister to visit some friends, while I studied my French and did some French writing.
Antwerp, Thursday 12:00 p.m., November 9, 1933.
Yesterday afternoon I went to the bank to exchange some money. My parents and I went to the National Bank to close an account that we had. I bought myself a French-German dictionary for seven francs. In the afternoon I went with Jack Rosenbaum to visit Gruber. While my parents had their French lesson, I did my homework and then had my lesson. After dinner I went to the French course. After my course, I was introduced to Helen Lamb, a local girl in Antwerp, She is nice, but nothing exceptional. I took her with me to visit Gruber, then escorted her home. This morning I walked around with my sister.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:35 p.m., November 9, 1933.
In the afternoon I taught my parents some French. Then I went to the police department for my father. Then I visited Gruber. With Gruber, his sisters, and Helen Lamb, we practiced French. I escorted Helen home. After dinner I visited Katz.
Antwerp, Sunday 3:25 p.m., November 12, 1933.
Friday before noon I did my French homework, took my sister for a walk, and had a bath later for four francs. In the afternoon, I visited Gruber and practiced French with his sisters. After dinner, my parents went out, and I did my French work. David Mendelson was here. I went to bed at 10:35 p.m..
Yesterday afternoon I took my sister to visit Buchovitz. I bought a ticket to the Maccabee Ball. In the afternoon I learned French and had my lesson. Then I went to the barber. Yesterday my mother loaned me fifty francs. After dinner, Jack Rosenbaum visited. I changed into my tuxedo for the Maccabee Ball. The crowd was great. Goldwasser's daughters were there. I danced twice with Maria Goldwasser. I spent most of my time with Thelma Buchovitz, her lady friend, and her mother. I also danced with some other nice, young ladies. There were some beautifully performed solo serenades. The evening cost eight francs for Thelma and me. We left by 2 a.m.; I escorted Thelma home. Then I went home and went to bed. I really had a good time. Thelma is a pleasure to be with.
This morning I put everything in order in my room and cleaned it properly. Now Leo Silverman is here. After he leaves, I will take a walk with my mother and sister.
Antwerp, Monday 9:30 p.m., November 13, 1933.
After dinner yesterday, I went to bed. This morning I walked. In the afternoon I had work to do in the stockroom of a men's suits store. My father had bought out a men's suit store, about 600 pieces. Maybe now he will settle here instead of Paris.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:40 p.m., November 14, 1933.
This morning I went with my parents to the National Bank of Belgium. My parents had previously given me the balance of their account and opened a checking account in my name. Now I have a savings account book. My total balance in this account is 20,000 francs. I have 350 francs from my father towards the money that was sent. On the prior Saturday, my mother had lent me 50 francs but now she turned that into a gift.
I went back with my father to check the men's clothes. We separated the suits by size and quality. In the afternoon I searched for a store we might rent to open a business with these suits. After dinner, I studied French.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:10 p.m., November 15, 1933.
Today I spent all day with my father sorting our merchandise. We began displaying signs stating that we would be selling the suits from that store for a month, in case we were unable to rent someplace before then. I missed my French class because of work.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:45 p.m., November 16, 1933.
Today I searched again for a store with my father. In the evening we went to the Schwitzer Pressing Company, where our merchandise is being stored. We have been unsuccessful at renting a store on a temporary basis. After dinner I did my French work. Now I go to bed with hope in my heart that G-d will show us we are doing the right thing.
Antwerp, Sunday 8:05 p.m., November 19, 1933.
I spent all day Friday looking for a store. In the evening, I studied my French. At 11 p.m., I went to bed.
On Saturday, I resumed my searched for a store. Afterwards, I studied French and went to my private French lesson. In the evening, I went to see Buchovitz. I took Thelma with me to look at a street that had been recommended to me as a site for opening a small businesses. It was a small section, and we didn't see any customers going in and out. We also found an empty house for rent. We took the trolley to the Jewish Sports Club. After drinking coffee, we walked around town with a group of club members.
I spent a bit more on transportation looking for a store to rent. This morning I readied my sister for a walk. Then I gave her to my parents and went swimming with Jack Rosenbaum and Gruber. Afterwards, I visited Thelma Buchovitz.
Antwerp, Tuesday 8:00 p.m., November 21, 1933.
Sunday evening I did a little studying and went to bed by 9:30 p.m. Yesterday morning my father and I continued to look at store locations. After dinner, I went to my French course and then Gruber and I visited Helen Lamb and her brother. We had interesting discussions and danced. Today I searched new areas for a store. I bought a fountain pen for two-and-a-half francs.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:30 p.m., November 22, 1933.
Early this morning I did my French homework. I had a private lesson in the afternoon. I again went looking for stores to rent. I did more homework before going to visit Goldwasser and attend my French class.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:35 p.m., November 23, 1933.
After vacuuming, my sister and I visited Gruber in the afternoon. After my French homework and dinner, I checked out another store.
Antwerp, Friday 12:00 a.m., November 24, 1933.
The entire morning was spent looking at different stores in different areas. In the afternoon, I shopped with my mother for groceries. Then I listened to radio reports. After dinner, I went to the French movie, All For Love, which was well worth the two francs it cost.
Antwerp, Saturday 9:15 p.m., November 24, 1933.
So far, we have been unsuccessful at finding a store and are also unable to find a customer to whom to resell our goods. I bought a valise and suggested to my parents that I show our suits to department stores to sell it to them. Today I was unable to sell any of it. The department stores all complained that they too did not have customers. Even the shops that looked golden were dead. Some promised to come by to the warehouse to look at our goods. In the afternoon I took a rest. My mother gave me 10 francs today. I went to the barber in the afternoon before visiting Thelma Buchovitz. She was not home, so I visited Gruber.
Antwerp, Sunday 10:55 p.m., November 26, 1933.
This morning my father and I went to Schwitzer to reassort and recheck our inventory.
We picked a few garments to have in the apartment to show to neighbors as a sample of our merchandise. I rearranged my room and brought a rack up from the basement. I hung the suits up in an attractive manner. I placed a couple of the suits on mannequins.
In the evening, I visited Buchovitz and Gruber and later studied French.
Antwerp, Monday 8:35 p.m., November 27, 1933.
This morning one man came to look at our samples, but he bought nothing. He was the man who had promised to visit on Saturday, Today before noon I went to my French private lesson. I visited Goldwasser in the afternoon and Buchovitz in the evening. My parents are at the theatre; I am playing with my sister. Then I will put her to bed.
Antwerp, Wednesday 5:15 p.m., November 29, 1933.
Monday evening one other customer visited before I put my sister to bed. Then, I did French homework.
Yesterday before noon I visited a few firms, but I was unsuccessful. After noon, I did French writing work. In the evening a customer came whom I brought to Schwitzers. He looked over a broad lot of goods. Afterwards, I went to a café to make phone calls. When I went home, I discussed prices with my father.
Today before noon another prospect came to look over our merchandise. He had been here once before. He brought along a sister and began to bargain on the prices. We were unable to reach agreement. In the afternoon Jack Rosenbaum came by. I went by the Goldwasser's to congratulate them on their daughter Fannie's engagement. I went to my cousin to take care of chores.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:30 p.m., November 30, 1933.
Yesterday I went to my French class and then went to bed.
This morning I again straightened our merchandise. I excused myself from my French private lesson in the afternoon because I had an appointment to show the merchandise to some customers.
This afternoon an auctioneer wanted to know if he could auction our goods on the open market. I studied some French..
Antwerp, Friday 10:45 p.m., December 1, 1933.
This morning I went to the bank. I exchanged French francs for Belgian money because of the advantageous exchange rate. My parents gave me 30 francs, 20 of which went straight to my French teacher. In the afternoon, I arranged my letters and correspondence work. I went with my parents to the bathhouse. They paid for my bath. In the evening I purchased theatre tickets for my parents. They went to the Yiddish theatre while I played with my sister. Until now, I had worked on developing a rubber stamp so that I could print small business cards. I put a business card in each pocket of every suit. It advertised my father's tailor skills.
Antwerp, Sunday 8:00 p.m., December 3, 1933.
Yesterday morning I was subpoenaed to court to testify to an agreement I had witnessed between two people. I received five francs as a witness fee. After walking with my sister, I visited Buchovitz. I bought a box of chocolate candies for which my mother paid. After dinner. I went to the Goldwassers. I was invited to Fannie's engagement party. I brought them the box of candy as a gift. There were many people there, including Leta Linkofsky.
I was home and in bed by 3 a.m.
This morning I went grocery shopping and took my sister walking. Together we went to Buchovitz. Then I did my French writing work. The Buchovitz and Solomon sisters called to remind me of the party at the Jewish Sports Club. They called on me, and we all went to the party together. The evening cost me eight francs. I escorted the girls back home.
Antwerp, Monday 9:55 p.m., December 4, 1933.
This morning my father and I went to the auctioneer's house. We took a few items back from the auctioneer for my father to sell separately. I did my French homework and went to my private lesson in the afternoon. I paid the teacher 10 francs from my pocket money. I wrote a letter to the attorney Hartstein. After dinner I went to the French evening course where I found out that the course had been temporarily suspended because the local teachers had not been paid by the town. Now I am having tea with my mother.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:30 p.m., December 5, 1933.
This morning I dressed my sister, straightened the house, and went to visit Katz. I delivered one suit to them. My parents remained in the townhouse. In the afternoon I had photographs taken. I ordered some business cards at the printer's. My father is trying to establish himself in Antwerp as a tailor. He wants to give the buyers at the auction business cards for his tailoring. I did French homework and pressed my clothes. After dinner I went to a meeting about a grocery cooperative. Their conditions were unsatisfactory.
Antwerp, Wednesday 9:45 p.m., December 6, 1933.
This afternoon I picked up the passport photos for five francs and ran some other errands before studying my French. My father's photos were not ready yet. I went with my mother and sister to the printer to get a sample of the business cards for my father. I bought Sonia some toys to play with.
After dinner I visited the Solomons. My parents went to the movie theatre. I did some French writing. I am trying to get an appointment to see the mayor because I am uncertain about the restrictions of my permit.
Antwerp, Thursday 11:30 p.m., December 7, 19
I withdrew 100 francs from my National Bank savings account. I bought my mother a record for the Victrola with the two francs car fare money she gave me; and instead walked home. After lunch I went with my sister to Gruber and did French study work. After dinner I went to Cinema Plaza. For four francs, I saw, The Prince From Arcadia and an English film, Mixed Up News Reports.
Antwerp, Friday 10:10 p.m., December 8, 1933.
This morning I walked with my sister, returned my bank book to the safe, and went to the dentist. In the afternoon, I went with a Mr. Stemple to the café where he offered my father a business proposition. He gave me the conditions. It was his expertise and our money. This evening Mr. Stemple returned.
Antwerp, Saturday 10:30 p.m., December 9, 1933.
Today before noon my sister and I visited the Buchovitzes. In the afternoon, I visited Gruber, studied French with his sisters, and had tea with them. We also danced a little to piano music.
Today I answered a letter from the mayor of Antwerp. He said he was very busy and had little time. He recommended that I give him all the information in a letter.
After dinner I listened to the radio. The Kremilovskys were visiting my parents. Now I am going to sleep.
Antwerp, Sunday 10:00 p.m., December 10, 1933.
Before noon I went to the Buchovitzes. Then I went with my father to order something at a store. My father went with me to the pharmacy and purchased something to bring down the inflammation in my gums and mouth for one franc. I went to Gruber's that afternoon with the two sisters from Buchovitz and Salomon. We listened to music, danced, and chatted. It was very amusing. After dinner I studied some French. Now I am listening to news on the radio. I write up the news for my parents since they are now in a café listening to music. My father had a conversation with a gentleman regarding entering that man's business, after an investment, as a partnership. His business is a textile wholesaler with woolen, cotton, and knitted garments. My father wants me to join him in this venture. He wants me to have a profession and means well. He is also willing to add money to the small amount of money I have on my own to allow me to join this venture. I hope something will come out of these discussions. Maybe we will hear. I think I am correct in saying that one must go out and look for things. As the Bible says, "If you seek, you will find." But, you also have to have faith in G-d that He will look after you, and everything happens for the best.
Antwerp, Tuesday 12:20 a.m., December 12, 1933.
Monday morning I was walking with my sister. I bought her an adding machine for 4.25 francs for Hanukkah. For my mother's Hanukkah gift, I bought a nice, silk kerchief. After lunch, I registered my family's address with Customs so we wouldn't have to pay high duties if my father decides to go into an export business. After dinner, I went to the French evening course, which is again continuing. Now Mr. Greengrass is negotiating with my father about the textile wholesaling.
Antwerp, Tuesday 9:20 p.m., December 12, 1933.
This morning my mother didn't feel well, so I took my sister to the park with a sled. She enjoyed it, and so did I. Then, I went with my parents to the police in response to a notice we had received. There we found out that we would be getting temporary permits to live in Antwerp, and we would soon be receiving a letter to that effect. In the afternoon, I went with my father to the auction of our suits and coats in Schweitzer's warehouse. The auction started today and lasted until the evening. I had advised my father against an auction even though I know he means well and wants to finish this business. He sold some, but not many, suits. The auction will continue tomorrow. I hope it will go well.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:30 p.m., December 13, 1933.
Today I was at the auction all day, watching them sell my father's wares. I helped whenever I could. In the afternoon, the auctioneer did not continue, but we sold our goods ourselves and that worked out better than when the auctioneer was doing it. In the evening after dinner, I attended the French evening course. Now I have writing work to do before going to bed.
Antwerp, Thursday 11:30 p.m., December 14, 1933.
This morning I went to the bank and then went to my French woman teacher to excuse myself for not taking the private French lesson I had arranged for due to being busy with the sale of my father's suits. Until that evening I worked with my father, continuing the sale of suits and coats. The sales were weaker today; we did better yesterday. After dinner, for four francs, I went to the Cinema Rixia where I saw Jenny Frisco, a Wild West film. The film I saw before Jenny Frisco was a nice, realistic love story. Both films were in the English language with French subtitles. I liked them both very much.
I hope the clothing sale goes better tomorrow. My father gave me five francs as a present.
Antwerp, Friday 9:30 p.m., December 15, 1933.
This morning I went to the barber. The rest of the day I spent in the store with my father. We sold some items, but not many. After dinner, I read the newspaper out loud for my father. Now I am studying and practicing French before going to bed.
Antwerp, Sunday 7:40 p.m., December 17, 1933.
Yesterday before noon I was with my father at the business. Then I went to Buchovitz and Gruber before going to temple and back to my father's business. After dinner I got myself ready for the Machunai Israel Ball in the Billiards Room. The program and coat check cost me 9.15 francs. I spent five francs on food. I had a pleasant evening, enjoyed dancing and met many people there I knew. One of the people I met was Augusta Pearson, a very pretty Jewish girl. I liked her very much, more than anyone else I met there. I danced with her many times. She was very sweet. She had a several nice French songs for the people there. Afterwards, she was presented with a large bouquet of flowers from the leaders of the club. I did not have an opportunity to make a date with her, but hope to meet her again. The ball ended after 2 a.m. I went with the Solomons and the Buchovitz sisters to Solomon's house where we had a snack before escorting the Buchovitz sisters home. I was in bed by 2:50 a.m.
Today before noon I was at the business. We handed out fliers, but still the business had dropped dramatically. I took my sister out in the afternoon to a children's Hanukkah party. Now the Mendelsons are visiting my parents. I am going to have dinner and go to bed early.
Antwerp, Monday 11:15 p.m., December 18, 1933.
Yesterday evening I took a footbath and went to bed. This morning I went with my parents to a one-hour French lesson. I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon in the business. The sale was just a little bit better. After dinner, I went to the French evening course. Beginning in January, we must again pay for the French lessons; I had hoped to be able to continue with no charge. My father gave me two francs. Now I am going to bed.
I went back to business and then bought seven razor blades for 10 francs. Then I bought cigarettes for 7.6 francs, which I gave to my father for his fortieth birthday on Sunday. May he have 120 birthdays, G-d willing. Business was slow. I visited Katz with my mother and father. Then, I went to the French class for which I paid 10 francs.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:45 p.m., December 19, 1933.
Early this morning my mother woke me because two local police officers had arrived at our house with a letter from Brussels directing me to leave Belgium within eight days. They wanted me to sign a paper saying that I agreed to leave Belgium within this time frame. They wanted to know from which border I planned to leave. They asked for my temporary visa permit and refused to return it to me. They said that if I refused to sign the paper, they would get a warrant for my arrest within two days. I refused to sign the paper.
My mother and I went immediately to Antwerp's town hall. After much begging and pleading, we were allowed to see the mayor and tell him our story. The mayor tried very hard to understand. He did not know why I was threatened with deportation. The two policemen had asked for my temporary visa permit and refused to return it to me. The mayor sent a letter on my behalf via special messenger to Brussels. There was nothing more we could do except wait and hope. They advised me to return Friday.
I went with my mother to the bank and the Diamond Club and gave her power of attorney for the bank account and the safe so she could take care of things if I were forced to leave. Then I spent the rest of the day until the evening with my father in the business. Sales were going nicely. After dinner, Jack Rosenbaum visited. I hope to G-d that I will be able to stay in Belgium with my family. I say, I hope to G-d and maybe I will make it. We must always have confidence, trust, and faith.
Antwerp, Wednesday 9:50 p.m., December 20, 1933.
This morning I was in the business until lunch time. My friend Katz brought me his entire stock of sock holders (similar to suspenders for pants, but for socks). I am going to try to sell them to stores and businesses. I will bring these to the same stores to which we sell our clothes.
It was a quiet day in the business. After dinner I was in the French language course. I thanked the teacher and the class for the help they had extended to me. I wished the teacher good luck and health and said goodbye because I wouldn't be attending that class any longer. I pray for G-d's help because He can do good and help me when no one else can.
I hope that the two policemen won't come and arrest and deport me. I am not so afraid for myself because here in Belgium they are at least human. They may deport me, but in Germany they wouldn't deport me; they would just kill me. I read about this in the papers and remember from when I was in Germany. As I said, I am not so afraid for myself as I am for my mother. She would be very upset and become ill if I were taken away. I pray to G-d for help.
Antwerp, Thursday 7:55 p.m., December 21, 1933.
This morning I awoke very early and went down to the business. I wanted the business to be open in case any early customers came. I also wanted to be out of the house in case the policemen came back to arrest me.
I spent the entire afternoon in the business. After dinner, I did writing work for my cousin Mendelson and wrote a letter in French for him. I wanted to register for the evening course in French given by the public school of Antwerp, but my parents did not want me to go, so I did not. Again I pray for G-d's help that this will all get straightened out.
Antwerp, Friday 10:45 p.m., December 22, 1933.
This morning I went to the town hall and met the mayor's secretary who showed me a reply from the minister to the mayor. The minister wrote that he had halted the deportation order and requested personal information about me. The mayor had visited the minister in Brussels and had had the deportation order in his pocket when he did so. If the minister receives satisfactory information about me, I will receive a temporary permit to stay anywhere in Belgium.
I thanked G-d that He helped me out of this mess. I hope to get further good news about this getting straightened out. I thanked the secretary most profusely.
[Note from Sonia Fuentes on May 15, 2019: The mayor of Antwerp at that time was Camille Huysmans, a socialist who was sympathetic to the plight of Jewish refugees in Belgium. From Aug. 3,1946, to Mar. 20, 1947, he served as prime minister of Belgium. Kamil Hoismans Street in Netanya and Haifa, Israel are named for him. With the help of Professor Frank Caestecker of the University of Ghent, an expert on Jewish refugees in Belgium during the 1930s, I asked Yad Vashem to recognize Camille Huysmans as one of the Righteous Among Nations who took great risks to save Jews during the Holocaust, but Yad Vashem denied my request.]
I went back to business and then bought seven razor blades for 10 francs. Then I bought cigarettes for 7.6 francs, which I gave to my father for his 40th birthday on Sunday. (May he have 120 birthdays, G-d willing.) Business was slow. I visited Katz with my mother and father. Then, I went to the French class, for which I paid 10 francs.
Antwerp, Saturday 9:35 p.m., December 23, 1933.
This morning I went to the bank and then to the business. In the afternoon, I stayed in bed before returning to the business. It was very quiet today. I went to buy New Year's cards and a nice birthday card for Solomon's birthday tomorrow. I bought myself collar buttons for my top shirt. I spent 3.4 francs. My father gave me 10 francs pocket money. After dinner, my parents went out, and I wrote the birthday card for Solomon. I want to make a note for myself that at the ball I met Rika Henreich, but I really did not like her at all. She really is not anywhere near my cup of tea, in no way. Now I am going to bed and doing a little French homework.
Antwerp, Sunday 10:25 p.m., December 24, 1933.
This is Christmas eve, a holy evening for the Christian people. The business was a little active this morning, thank G-d. I took my sister to Buchovitz this afternoon so my parents could sleep undisturbed. I congratulated my father on his birthday and gave him the cigarettes. My parents took my sister for an afternoon walk. I did not go out because I did not feel well. I did my French homework and listened to the radio. I feel like I have the flu or maybe just a cold. I feel cold with the chills and then warm; maybe I have a fever. I am going to sleep.
Antwerp, Tuesday 12:50 a.m., December 26, 1933.
Monday I stayed in bed until noon. Then I took my sister to the Goldwassers, and then for a walk. I lay down again in the afternoon and read the newspaper out loud for my parents. I still did not feel good. Then we all went for a walk. Then I went to Gruber's. After dinner, I changed and went out to a few cafés and dance places, but I did not see any of my friends and acquaintances, and I did not want to sit around spending money by myself. I didn't feel like dancing because I still felt a bit sick. Then, I met the brother Rosenbaum and went with him to a café where the Paul Morich Orchestra was playing. It cost three-and-a-half, but it was pretty good. Today I sent a New Year's card to Augusta Pearson. I just put my name on it with my P.O. box for any reply. I hope that she responds because I would like to have a date with her. I am going to bed.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:35 p.m., December 26, 1933.
Business was very quiet today, the day after Christmas. If you do a lot of business before Christmas, you can expect a lot of returns and exchanges afterwards, but we did not expect a lot of business. I went to bed for a while and wrote my parents a New Year's card. After dinner, I listened to the radio. There were some calls for the remaining suits and coats. I had to return some of the cigarettes I had bought for my father because he did not like them and wanted them exchanged.
Antwerp, Thursday 3:45 p.m., December 28, 1933.
Yesterday I was at the business and then went to French class in the evening for 10 francs. As my parents saw that I was still feeling sick, they told me that the teacher's son also had the flu and was very weak because he had not rested. Now he is very sick with a relapse. On their advice, I went home to bed. I took some aspirin and perspired profusely trying to sweat out the cold. Today I was lucky enough to sell the remaining suits and coats for a small profit. When the check gets paid with cash in four weeks, we will know with certainty that my father made a profit. Now that big lot of suits and coats has finally been sold. It worked out all right, even though it took a lot of work and attention. Now, we look forward to getting busy with the details of the wool business with Mr. Greengrass to give us an occupation. I hope tomorrow I will be well enough to rise from bed. The writing in my diary is so poor because I am in bed. I do not know if I will be well enough to go out for New Year's Eve.
Antwerp, Friday 3:45 p.m., December 29, 1933.
This morning Jack Rosenbaum came to visit. In the afternoon, I was allowed to get up. Now I am back in bed again. This morning I did not feel well again. Now I am a little better, but I am still not feeling all right. I still have a headache and pain in my ears.
Antwerp, Saturday 8:20 p.m., December 30, 1933.
Yesterday I was allowed to get up for dinner. After dinner my parents went to the movies with Mr. Greengrass. I went to bed. Today I arose at lunch time for lunch and remained up for two hours. I was up again for dinner. My parents went to the Yiddish theatre. I went back to bed because I still didn't feel well. My head feels very heavy, and when I move about I feel a flush of heat go through me, and I start to perspire heavily. Today my parents gave me four Czech kronen, the equivalent of four francs, as a gift.
Antwerp, Sunday 10:30 p.m., December 31, 1933. Silverster (the German word for New Year's Eve).
This morning I walked with my sister, went to the barber, and, after lunch, I went to bed. In the evening, I got dressed again. After dinner my parents went out. I got up to do my French homework. I listened to the radio before going to bed. I said a blessing for the New Year. I hope there will be peace in the world and peace in my family with everyone getting along nicely. But we must always try to keep our heads up and smile and not lose our good mood if things don't always go well. I really wanted to go out for New Year's Eve, even quietly without dancing, but because I was sick, I thought it best to say "L'Chaim, Happy New Year," and keep my head up because soon (in one-and-a-half hours) it will be 1934. "L'Chaim," at least. I am up and able to write this in my diary, so I thank G-d because it could always be worse. Antwerp, Monday 10:35 p.m., January 1, 1934.
I spent this morning with my father taking inventory of Mr. Greengrass's stock. We did not finish. My cousin David Mendelson visited after dinner. I went to bed early.
Antwerp, Tuesday 11:20 p.m., January 2, 1934.
I finished taking inventory at Greengrass's this morning. This afternoon, I was in the bank to get information about buying different currencies for my father. He feels it is not good to have all of your possessions in one type of currency. He wants some Belgian, some French, and other types of money, including gold pieces. Afterwards, I had to write some letters in French to different manufacturers and wholesale firms because my father is considering opening a raincoat factory like we had in Germany in addition to our our clothing factory. Mr. Greengrass came back this evening. but we could not come to an agreement because the prices on his inventory were too high. Now I am going to bed.
I bought my father 50 cigarettes today for 10 francs. They were of very good quality. I do not know if I will be able to get the bad ones exchanged. But I do not want him to smoke the bad ones; it is bad enough that he smokes altogether.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:25 p.m., January 3, 1934.
This morning I went to my French private lessons for 10 francs. My mother gave me 25 francs for running an errand for her at the bank. In the afternoon, there were several people here asking my father to do alterations. I had advertised this service by putting a business card in each of the suits that we sold. Later, David Mendelson came by asking me to write a letter for him. My mother lent him 1,000 francs. He signed a note for the loan. David hopes to pay her back a little bit each month. I spent four francs to relax at the bath house. Then I studied my French.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:30 p.m., January 4, 1934.
This morning I went shopping with my mother so she would not have to carry the heavy bags home. I took my sister out to give my mother time to get things done. Then, we visited the Goldwassers before I delivered my father's alterations. One customer gave me a four-franc tip. My parents gave me a ten-franc tip. After dinner I went to the public students' school and registered to learn Flemish and French for 10 francs. The Flemish classes meet every Thursday from 7-8 p.m. followed by the French classes from 8-9 p.m. Other than the registration fee, there is no charge.
I listened to the radio in the evening and learned that things were difficult all over the world. But it was particularly bitter and bad in Germany, and it was getting to be bad in the countries surrounding Germany. My parents and I decided to buy different currencies the next day to be put in the Diamond Club safe.
Antwerp, Friday 9:05 p.m., January 5, 1934.
This morning I went to the police bureau and then to the main post office to insure that my correct address, 10 Avenderness, is registered in case I receive any mail. I went to different banks and bought gold pieces for my father from Holland. No matter what happens, they will be valuable. That afternoon I was busy with writing work and filing. My little sister took a nap, and I dressed her and returned to the police bureau regarding our residence permits. The police said they were still pending. I brought the Holland gold to the Diamond Club safe. After dinner my parents went to the movies, and I put my sister to bed and went to bed myself. Gut Shabbes.
Antwerp, Sunday 11:30 p.m., January 7, 1934.
Yesterday morning my sister and I stopped by the Goldwassers. Then in the afternoon I went walking with my parents. I did some French homework, ran grocery errands for my mother, and visited the Buchovitzes. After dinner I went to the cinema and saw a wonderful German film, The Song of the Nile.
I went to bed at 11:45 p.m.
I spent the whole morning today walking with my sister. I lay down in the afternoon and went walking again before studying French. I visited Gruber before going to the Sports Club Macnanai Israel. There was an evening of debates for two-and-a-half francs. It was very interesting.
Antwerp, Monday 9:10 p.m., January 8, 1934.
Before noon today I went to jobbers, wholesalers, and piece goods manufacturers listed in the bank's Belgian address book. In the afternoon, I was with my father regarding his passport because he wants to take another trip to Prague. I went walking with my mother and sister. After dinner, Jack Rosenbaum visited while my parents were at the Yiddish theatre. I did some French homework before bed.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:45 p.m., January 9, 1934.
This morning, I went with my mother to straighten out my father's passport. I walked with my sister, and then my mother treated me to the cinema to see the English film with Maurice Chevalier, Love Me Tonight, and a French film, Madame Butterfly with Sylvia Sidney, both of which were very good. After dinner I went to a French conversation class.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:00 p.m., January 10, 1934.
This morning I was again trying to straighten out my father's passport problems. Then, I wrote some letters in French before attending my French class. I registered my sister for kindergarten and took a walk with my mother. After dinner, I studied French and listened to the radio.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:05 p.m., January 11, 1934.
In the morning, I accompanied my father to the Czech consulate, a travel bureau and the German and Polish consulates. In the afternoon, I walked with my sister and attended to some currency transfers for my parents. My parents gave me six francs. I went to the railroad station with my father. Then I attended my Flemish and French lessons. I pray for my father on his trip; he needs to get Polish papers. Since he is a Polish citizen, he needed German permission to travel through their country on the way to Prague. Today, I accepted an invitation that came by letter from Solomon and Kitty for this coming Sunday evening. They suggested that I invite young women along. I confirmed that I would come by letter.
Antwerp, Friday 8:20 p.m., January 12, 1934.
This morning I took my sister to kindergarten. Then, I cleaned two of my suits. My mother helped me press them. Afterwards, I picked my sister up at kindergarten. In the afternoon, my mother and I brought Sonia back to the kindergarten and attended to chores and shopping. We picked Sonia up at the end of the day. I delivered another garment, which my father had altered, to a customer. My mother went to the movies while I studied French, did some reading, and listened to the radio. I hope my father is all right in Prague.
Antwerp, Saturday 11:35 p.m., January 13, 1934.
This morning I brought my sister to kindergarten and ran some errands before going to the Grubers. We all went walking and picked my sister up at kindergarten. I napped in the afternoon and walked with my mother and sister. I went to the barber before studying my French. After dinner, I went to the Cinema Empire for six francs and saw an amusing and excellent French film, The Sixth Week. The film had good actors, and the French was easy to understand.
I pray for my father's well-being.
Antwerp, Monday 3:40 p.m., January 15, 1934.
Yesterday morning my sister and I visited the Goldwassers. Then, I went to the Buchovitzes. Afterwards, I rested and then went walking with my sister and one of Gruber's sisters. This gave my mother a chance to rest, too.
I readied myself for a visit to the Solomons. I brought some of our Victrola records to listen and dance to. The Buchovitz sisters, the Solomons, another young man, and I were all entertained and danced. We played some games and everyone had fun. We escorted the girls home. I went to bed by 12:30.
This morning we received a card from my father letting us know that he had arrived safely. We hope the rest of his trip will go well, too. I brought my sister to t kindergarten and did some correspondence. I wrote a personal letter to Rika Henreich. We are planning to meet this week at night school. I am going to bring this letter to her house personally. I picked my sister up this afternoon and then returned her to kindergarten. I am at the Grubers to give my mother a chance to rest alone at home. I am waiting for a visit from a man with a textile firm that sells piece goods.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:45 p.m., January 16, 1934.
After dinner yesterday, I walked and went to bed early.
This morning, after taking my sister to kindergarten, I shopped and did chores. In the afternoon, I studied French, first, alone and then with Gruber. They dictated to me, and then I did French writing, which they checked. After dinner, I went to the French evening school. I also met Rika and walked her home.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:45 p.m., January 17, 1934.
This morning, I brought my sister to kindergarten; then I studied French. I attended my private lesson, and then went to the bath house. My mother gave me a five franc present.
I lay down in the afternoon and studied French. After dinner, I walked and then read the French newspaper. My mother said today that she feels my father will return tomorrow. I replied that that was possible, but I was skeptical because we had not heard from him. Later, my mother said that she had dreamt that he was crying. She is afraid that he is in trouble. Maybe she feels he was arrested or something terrible happened. I think my mother is just nervous. But I hope to G-d that all is in order.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:15 p.m., January 18, 1934.
This morning I took my sister to kindergarten after breakfast. The doorbell rang. As my mother had predicted, it was my father. My mother told me this morning that she dreamed again last night that he was all right and that he was returning home. I still think that her dreams were just a product of her worrying. My father said that he had collected 300,000 kronen on his trip. He told us how he had to pick up the money. He was very lucky, and with G-d's help, to cross all these borders and return home safely. My mother was correct in predicting that he was very afraid of what he'd encounter on this trip.
In the afternoon I went to the bank with my father. He bought English pounds because he wanted to teach me not to rely on simply one currency. We had money in many currencies, as well as gold pieces. Afterwards, I went to the currency exchange office to exchange a few hundred kronen into Belgian francs. I had to go to different banks to find the best exchange rate. My father gave me five francs for my efforts. In the evening I went to my Flemish and French lessons. Afterwards, I accompanied Erica Hiender and her other friends to her house. We all benefitted from the opportunity to speak French together. I am thankful to G-d that my father successfully took care of that financial matter and came home safely. G-d takes care of us and many others.
Antwerp, Friday 10:45 p.m., January 19, 1934.
This morning I went to currency exchange offices to find out the currency price for the Czech kronen. I am sorry to say the currency went down quite a bit. But we did not know that yesterday. We lost some money. I took care of some chores and bought some household items. I wrote some French letters before taking my sister home from school for lunch and bringing her back. I read the newspaper after lunch and joined my mother in getting a uniform for my sister for first grade. After dinner my parents went to the Yiddish theatre. I made a sketch for the tailor to instruct him about getting the dress made for my sister. Now I am listening to the radio before bedtime.
Antwerp, Sunday 8:55 p.m., January 21, 1934.
Yesterday I brought my sister to kindergarten and spent the rest of the morning observing business traffic on certain streets in town. We were looking for a location to rent a store. Then I went shopping with my mother. I read the newspaper before dinner.
After dinner, my father gave me five francs. My mother offered me more money, but I told her I did not intend to spend that much and did not take the additional money she offered me.
I went to a night club to dance, where it was inexpensive to dance. I joined the table of my friend Morris Badler and another friend there. We wanted to move the table to make it more comfortable for three. Accidentally, we tipped the drinks over and had to order more in order to remain there. We agreed that the broken glass would bring good luck, like broken glass when people get married. Unfortunately, I did not have enough money to pay for all these drinks. Morris lent me eight francs, which I will repay. Some actors performed, and I danced. We all went home after one.
This morning I went with my sister to Buchovitz and to visited Dr. Cohen. Before dinner, I visited the Goldwassers. After dinner, I read the newspapers aloud to my parents.
Antwerp, Tuesday 1:10 a.m., January 23, 1934.
This morning I went to the customs office and dropped my sister off at school. Then, I went to the banks to find out the latest exchange rate. I picked my currency up at the Diamond Club and got 100 francs pocket money. I picked my sister up from school and kept her busy with a game before school began again. I studied my French and was visited by Gruber. His sisters helped me with my French homework. After dinner, Jack Rosenbaum visited. Together we visited Morris Badler and walked around.
The Czech money is still falling in value.
Antwerp, Wednesday 12:45 a.m., January 24, 1934.
I took my sister to school and vacuumed the house. An agent from a textile firm came. I picked my sister up for lunch and studied French while she was in school for the afternoon. I took her walking, and we returned my bank book to the Diamond Club. After dinner, I went to my French evening course. In the evening, Mr. Greengrass came by to negotiate a partnership in his wholesale business. He thought I was too young to be a partner in his business. He was only interested in inviting my father to be his partner. I did not think it was nice that he did not tell me until now that he did not want me as a partner. I do not want to be pushy, but I am suspicious of his wanting to accept my father's money, but not letting me work in the business with my father.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:30 p.m., January 24, 1934.
Today, I lent my mother 50 francs and paid 10 for my French lessons. After taking my sister to school, I read the French newspaper. I picked my sister up and helped my mother carry heavy shopping bags. My parents went out after dinner while I did my French homework. I told my parents my thoughts about Mr. Greengrass.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:45 p.m., January 25, 1934.
This morning I took care of a few chores and went to different banks to get information for my father. In the afternoon I had to do some chores before visiting my friend Gruber. I studied my French with his sisters. After dinner, I went to the Flemish and French classes; then, I went to Morris Badler to return the money I owed him.
Antwerp, Saturday 8:40 p.m., January 27, 1934.
Yesterday morning, I checked the bank statement and went to the bank to withdraw the interest my parents had earned; they gave me three francs.
I went to the dentist before getting my sister for lunch. I did some writing work before picking her up at the end of the day and going to the bath house. After dinner, I went to the Movie Theater Plaza where I saw an English movie and a French film, Captive, with Joan Crawford. Both films were very good and well-acted. I went to bed by midnight.
This morning I vacuumed the house; then I went to pick my sister up from school. In the afternoon, I walked with my parents and did some chores and shopping. I went to the barber and visited the Buchovitzes. After dinner, my parents went to the movies. Now I want to write a contract to join Mr. Greengrass's business.
Antwerp, Tuesday 7:45 p.m., January 30, 1934.
I do not have time to write because we are eating dinner. Afterwards, I am going to the Machanai Sports Club.
Antwerp, Wednesday 12:30 p.m., January 31, 1934.
Saturday evening, Selma Buchovitz and Kathy Solomon visited me. I finished the contract for joining Mr. Greengrass's business and went to bed at midnight..
On Sunday, I typed the proposed contract, which stipulated that I would be a partner, too. I read it to my father, and we gave a copy to Mr. Greengrass. Greengrass found this contract unsatisfactory because it gave each partner equal rights. Instead, he had expected that my father would put in 100,000 francs and become a silent partner. Greengrass wanted to maintain the exclusive right to make decisions. Under Greengrass's plan, my father would be unable to remove his money from the partnership at any time. Greengrass then suggested instead that they start a new business completely. I continue to think that Greengrass is a thief. Greengrass planned to take my father's money, but not make him a full partner. The contract I prepared was fair and even-handed, but Greengrass wanted no part of it. I do not think anything will happen with Greengrass, and that is probably for the best.
In the afternoon, I visited the Buchovitzes and then the Grubers. There were others visiting the Grubers, including a young lady from Rhineland, Germany. I became acquainted with this young lady, who knew Racha Schnook. Racha was the lady friend that my father had when he was visiting Norderney. This woman said Racha had a bad reputation, which did not surprise me. My father had written her through one of his employees. I got Racha's address and wrote wrote her a letter when I discovered what my father was doing. I used a pseudonym so she did not know that I was related to my father. In her return letter, she said she was looking forward to meeting me. Well, let her keep on waiting.
After dinner I went dancing with Morris Badler in a café. It cost eight francs for the evening. Meanwhile, my mother returned the 50 francs I had lent her.
Monday morning, I did some grocery shopping and vacuuming. Afterwards, I went to the U.S. Consulate to get information about moving to America. My parents many years ago had received letters from an Uncle Gold from Brooklyn. They applied for papers for the U.S. at that time, but they were doing well in Germany then and didn't want to leave. That afternoon I requested application forms to move to America. I sent this request to the American Consulate in Berlin in order to get whatever correspondence remained in Berlin from the previous attempt to get papers to move to America. My letter requested that they forward that correspondence to us in Belgium. My father had read in the Jewish papers that the U.S. would allow a certain number of displaced Europeans to enter the U.S.
Later, Jack Rosenbaum and I went for a walk.
Yesterday (Tuesday) morning, my parents had a big fight. Then, I went to the bank and the safe at the Diamond Club with my father. He had to pick up additional currencies that he had bought to put in the safe.
In the afternoon, I took a walk looking for my mother who had left the house angry. She had left at noon and had not returned all afternoon. When she finally returned, I was at Gruber's studying French. After dinner, I went to a party at the Machunai Israel Sport Club where some people were reciting some informative stories. Afterwards, there was dancing, but I was bored. It had cost me four francs to dance and another five to join the club. I went home by 1 a.m.
This morning I went to the bank and then to my private French lesson for 10 francs.
Antwerp, Wednesday 9:45 p.m., January 31, 1934.
My mother is still in bed. She is sick after her aggravation yesterday with my father. After dinner, I studied my French homework and prepared dinner for my mother. I decided to stop studying Flemish because I can communicate very well with our neighbors. I do not feel it is necessary at present to be able to write Flemish. Instead, I am interested in improving my English. I am going to begin English courses. My father is now playing with the idea of going to America. I will be better able to help and get along if I can speak a little English. I am beginning to forget the little English I know because I do not have the opportunity to speak English. I want to take courses before my English gets more rusty.
Antwerp, Thursday 9:45 p.m., February 1, 1934.
This morning I vacuumed and went with my father to various banks. We applied to open a new account in one bank. Then I went to an agency to find a maid for the house. In the afternoon I went with a gentleman who had invited us to see a store he had recommended to my father. He suggested that we start a business together. Because the rents are so high in the area he suggested, my father was not very interested in such a high risk investment. My father feels it is better to invest in merchandise than high rents. The merchandise will always have a value, rent once spent is consumed. I went to the dentist. Then I went to school to study English and French.
Antwerp, Friday 11:00 p.m., February 2, 1934.
This morning I took my sister to school. She skipped a few days this week because she had a cold. I vacuumed the house before going to the banks with my father to put different currencies we bought into the Diamond Club safe. I brought my sister to school and picked her up. In between I studied French. After dinner I listened to French radio while my parents were away. My parents returned with a neighbor named Reuben who had lived in America. He is temporarily visiting Belgium. Our other neighbors had told us about him. He said that America was very nice. You had the opportunity to do business if you were willing to work for it. He felt strongly that we would like America and suggested that we leave these European countries surrounding Hitler's Germany.
Antwerp, Sunday 1:45 a.m., February 4, 1934.
I visited Buchovitz and the Grubers in the afternoon. I met a lady at the Gruber's house. This lady has a sister who moved to New York four months ago. This sister liked America and had decided she wanted to stay there. Originally, she had just gone to visit but had decided to remain there. After dinner, I went to the English course in the evening school. Joseph Gruber came to pick me up, but my parents wanted to go to the Yiddish theatre, so I had to stay home to care for Sonia. Gruber and I remained and listened to music and had nice conversations.
Antwerp, Sunday 8:20 p.m., February 4, 1934.
This morning I wrote a long letter to our aunt and uncle Gold in Brooklyn, New York. They are my mother's aunt and uncle. Years before they had made applications to help my parents come to America. I hope they will help us again. I wrote my request in English. Later that evening, I spent six-and-a-half francs to go dancing with Joseph Gruber. At first, I made an appointment with a nice Christian lady to go to a dance at the Chantilly in the Century Hotel near Gaascentral next Sunday in Antwerp, When I noticed that she was very preoccupied with another young man, I made another appointment with another nice Christian lady. This second lady was a little younger, maybe 19 and prettier. We planned to meet on Saturday night at the Roxy Cinema. I spoke French to both of these women. The first woman was Martha. I do not remember the name of the second one. Now I am doing my English homework in my old English book. I had a nice evening.
Antwerp, Monday 9:35 p.m., February 5, 1934.
This morning I took my sister to school; then, I studied my French and visited Gruber, I spoke French and studied with his sisters. I went back to pick my sister up for lunch and brought her back after lunch. Then I did the grocery shopping for my mother and picked my sister up at the end of the day. I walked with my mother until dinner.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:35 p.m., February 6, 1934.
This morning I brought my sister to school; then, my parents and I went to the American consulate. Thereafter, my father and I went to the bank, after which I studied French and brought my sister home for lunch. My parents went to a matinee while I studied French. I wrote a letter to Nora Eisenberg in Frankfurt am Main asking her to send me another copy of my birth certificate since I will need it for whatever country I travel to. The Polish Consulate had once requested my birth certificate and kept it in their files; so all I had was a copy.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:55 p.m., February 7, 1934.
This morning I went to my private French lesson. This was my last lesson for a while. My parents had suggested that I cancel these lessons and focus on my English. I am afraid that I will lose the French, which I have only studied for a short time. I am not yet in control of the grammar or an extensive French vocabulary. I still have not studied the second Berlitz book in French.
After I had picked my sister up from school, I studied some English homework, visited the Grubers, and studied French with his sisters. Then, I had to pick my sister up at school, accompany my father to the bank, and conduct other errands. After dinner, my parents went to the Yiddish theatre, and I did some French homework.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:45 p.m., February 8, 1934.
This morning I had to visit a few different banks and attend to a few other matters. On the way to the bank, I met Ms. Goldstein, a woman I know from the Jewish Committee for Immigrants and Refugees. She promised to help me write an English formal application to the American Consulate for my family to immigrate to America. I said I would go to the Committee on Sunday. I picked my sister up, did some French homework, and took a walk with my mother and sister. Then I shampooed my mother's hair. After dinner, I went to my English and French lessons.
Antwerp, Friday 8:40 p.m., February 9, 1934.
This morning, after taking my sister to school, I did the shopping for the house and vacuumed. By the time I finished those chores, it was time to pick my sister up at school. Afterwards, I went to the bath house for four francs. In the afternoon, I took my sister back to school and studied English. I went to the barber shop. Afterwards, David Mendelson came to visit. He told me that he had opened a new business and asked me to come visit him and help out in the store. I intend to do that. Then, my father pressed a suit for me, and I pressed my trousers and ties so they would look fresh. While my parents were out, I straightened up the house and the kitchen for the Shabbes meal to make things easier for my mother. When she came home, she was very pleased. After dinner, my parents went out for the evening, and I studied English before going to bed.
Antwerp, Sunday 12 a.m., February 11, 1934.
This morning, I brought my sister to school, and then I went to Mendelson's until noon helping him decorate his display window in the new shoe store. Afterwards, I walked awhile. For eight francs, I purchased two good seats at Cinema Plaza in advance for my date this evening; I was confident that my date would show up. After dinner, I went to my English course before our movie was to set to begin. Unfortunately, my date did not show up. I went into the movie theatre alone; the other ticket was wasted. I saw a whimsical English film with Harold Lloyd.
Antwerp, Sunday 10:35 p.m., February 11, 1934.
This morning, I went to the Committee for Jewish Refugees and Immigrants, but Ms. Goldstein was not there. I went to her home at 103 Avenue du France. She received me very nicely and prepared a very nice letter in English for the American Consulate. She told me that she is American and has only been in Belgium for six years. She said she was very interested in returning to America herself. She will be leaving her job at the Committee for a position with the Red Cross. She lives in a well-equipped home, appeared quite well-to-do, and has a very nice family. I invited her to visit at our house sometime. She enjoys conversing in German, and I like to talk with her in English.
In the afternoon, I wrote the English letter. Then, I went walking with Gruber. I arrived late at Chantilly with no intention of staying very long. I had made an appointment to meet some acquaintances of mine. I danced a bit. There was a possibility that my date would arrive punctually, but after waiting for her for one-and-a-half hours, I left. After dinner, I walked to the Machinai Israel Sports Club and stayed there a little while. Today, in Antwerp they are celebrating a local carnival.
Antwerp, Monday 8:40 p.m., February 12, 1934.
Early this morning I went to Ms. Goldstein's to have her check my letter to the American Consulate. At the Consulate, I learned that our old case history papers had been received from the Berlin office of the American Consul. The gentleman who handled the matter was very nice to me. My English was choppy, but I made do as best I could. He gave me a formal application to complete. With application in hand, I returned to Ms. Goldstein. She explained to me how to fill out this application properly and was very helpful. If I ran into any difficulty she promised to introduce me to an American gentleman in the local consulate who would offer me additional help. In the afternoon, I found out that the Czech government was planning an inflationary measure to devalue their currency. My family still has a great deal of Czech currency in Belgium. We had not exchanged it because its value had been falling constantly, and we hoped it would level off if we held out. I went to visit the Czech Consulate, but it was closed. My father wanted me to get some information on Czechoslovakia because he was considering making it our permanent residence. My parents went to the Yiddish theatre, leaving the house very quiet for me to do my language study. I also planned to listen to the radio as many troublesome events were occurring.
Antwerp, Thursday 7:00 p.m., February 15, 1934.
On Tuesday morning, I went to the Diamond Club to pick up my bank books and notify the Club that I was discontinuing my account. I wanted to exchange my Belgian francs, which were also weakening in value, for another currency. I left the bank book at home because I was busy with my father in the afternoon visiting several banks about similar money matters. We brought more Holland gold and another 100,000 Czech kronen from the bank. My father wanted to keep this currency at home so it would be nearby in the event that the currency picked up. I urged him to put it into the Diamond Club because I was uncomfortable leaving such great sums of money in the house. When I came home, my mother suggested that I go out and enjoy myself. Instead, I took the money and brought it to the safe. In the meantime, my mother had taken my sister to the bathhouse at 3 p.m., When I came home from the Diamond Club at 4 p.m., I found the door closed, but not locked. I thought that my mother was home, but there was no one in the house. I entered my room to find all the drawers and closets broken open and disheveled. Worried that the thief was still in the house, I went searching for him, only to find the remainder of the house in disarray from the break-in. I locked the apartment up, notified the landlord, and went to find a policeman. The officer returned to the apartment with me. He found no one there. I went to find my mother in the bath house. I told her slowly and calmly what had happened so as not to shock her. My mother surveyed the house to determine what was missing. Five gold pieces from Germany had been taken, as well as my ties, a stick pin and a broach I owned, and a dozen of my father's best shirts. The thief had also taken my savings of 23 francs. My mother was very agitated. They had also stolen her new silver fox collar that I believe my father had bought her in Prague on their last trip there.
Then, we saw two suspicious-looking people peering into our apartment. The landlord also noticed them. The detective from the police department came to take fingerprints and get a description of the two men who had looked suspicious. The owner thought he saw those two men walk out of the house just prior to my returning to our apartment. The entrance to our apartment was undamaged; they had managed to open the door with phony keys or some similar tool. The greatest danger was in my returning. Had the thieves still been there, I could have been in danger. I thank G-d that did not happen. I searched some dark alleys and unsavory restaurants. If I found the two I had seen, I would notify the police, who had told me they would arrest them if I could identify them. Unfortunately, I did not find them. They had damaged my desk, but had not taken anything from it, including my bank book.
Yesterday morning, I gave the police a detailed list of what was stolen and damaged. I believe this is fruitless because these men will not be found. We went to the different banks to alert them to the break-in in the event that someone offered to sell them Holland gold pieces. Then, I took the Holland gold home from the bank, as my father requested.
Yesterday, my mother found an empty box that had once contained a gold watch and bracelet, which were among the items stolen.
In the afternoon, I went to several restaurants to search again for the men who who had broken into our apartment. We did not find them. Maybe we were lucky not to have found them; if we had, it might have led to more trouble.
My mother told me to forget about the theft and go out for a fun evening. I went to Savigny to dance for eight francs. I read in the newspapers that the Czech minister made speeches about devaluing the currency.
This morning, I went to the barber and the American Consulate. I made arrangements for my parents to be next in line for coming to America.
The American doctor examined my eyes. He used toothpicks to keep my eyes open, which was very painful. I was so nervous that I was unable to cooperate and had to make another appointment. My parents were very angry.
I went back that afternoon and passed the doctor's exam. I went to various banks with my father to get balance statements required by the consulate. If we could show enough income, we would be eligible to enter America because we would not be a burden to that country or taking jobs from Americans. We announced that we were closing our accounts and returned to the American Consulate.
I received word from the post office that a registered letter had arrived from Frankfurt am Main containing my duplicate birth certificate. I had an extensive physical exam. The American Consulate, noticing that I wore glasses, gave me a long and painful eye exam. Before returning to the Consulate I picked up my duplicate birth certificate and attended to more bank matters. We had to fill out more forms to receive American visas. All of the bank certificates showing our finances pleased the Consul. Now they are communicating with Washington, D.C. to obtain visas for us. The Consulate advised us to get our Polish passports extended. We must maintain our Polish passports until we can get American citizenship. We had to bring more photographs and documents to the Consulate. The money that my parents had in Czechoslovakia and the kronen currency were doing very poorly. My parents are about to take a substantial loss to exchange the currency. In the beginning of the week there was a general strike in France, and all of Germany's neighboring countries are having difficulties. Czechoslovakia is having a sort of civil war, which is very bad. But there is nothing we can do about that except hope and wait for visas from the American Consulate.
The police think they have some suspects for the theft, but I cannot identify them and have them arrested because I did not see them that well. We are trying to forget about that episode. I am listening to the radio; nowhere is there any good news. I am very tired from going to the banks and back and forth to the Consulate.
Antwerp, Friday 9:35 p.m., February 16, 1934.
This morning I had to run around between the American and Polish Consulates and the townhouse with many different documents. Many of the documents needed to be translated to provide evidence to support our application. I had to go to the Ezra Office, similar to HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] in the U.S. That afternoon was more of the same. We went to a photographer and to the Diamond Club, where we deposited the Holland gold that we bought in the safe. Antwerp, Sunday 9:05 p.m., February 18, 1934.
Yesterday I went to the photographer, the townhouse, and the Consulate. In the afternoon I went to Gruber's, to the barber's and, finally, to the Machinai Israel for some nice conversations. After midnight, I went to a coffee house with Selma Buchovitz, Kathy Solomon, and three others. We enjoyed the music and danced for five francs. At about 3 a.m., we went home, and I went right to bed. The evening had been a lot of fun.
Antwerp, Sunday, February 18, 1934.
This morning, on a visit to the Goldwassers with my sister, I learned that yesterday evening the Belgian king was involved in a fatal accident in the mountains. He fell to his death off a cliff during a climbing excursion. This was tragic because he had been a beloved king for over 25 years. He had been a friend of the Jews and had not persecuted them as some other leaders had. It is unfortunate that this could not have happened to Hitler instead. Such a tragic thing should not have happened to such a fine person.
[Note from Sonia Fuentes on May 20, 2019. On February 17, 1934, King Albert I, who had reigned since December 23,1909, and was known as Albert the Good, died in a mountaineering accident in eastern Belgium at the age of 58, and he was succeeded by his son, Leopold III.]
In the afternoon I rested and then listened to the news report. I think I caught a cold this afternoon, and, therefore, I remained in bed all afternoon.
Antwerp, Monday 8:45 p.m., February 19, 1934.
This morning my mother and I picked up a large amount of our money and our pieces of gold from a bank and returned it to our safe in the Diamond Club. We also brought our photos and Polish passports back to the American Consulate. The American Consul had written to Warsaw to confirm the information we had provided. In addition to being accepted for immigration by the U.S., we also had to come within the Polish quota. We were not considered refugees from Germany because we were Polish citizens. The Americans considered that we had somewhere else to go: Poland. Except we did not want to go there.
The Consulate said if Warsaw found that everything was in order, we would receive our passports back as well as visa permits to move to America as prospective new citizens. He asked us to return next Monday. I do not want to celebrate too early because I hope nothing happens to spoil it. But I want to go to the U.S., and I pray to G-d for that to happen. I hope if we go to the U.S., my parents will be happier.
We returned to the banks to prepare to transfer our savings for our trip to America. We went to a bank that advised us to buy currency in gold since the dollar had not yet stabilized. The banker advised us to wait as long as possible in purchasing dollars because it continued to decline. I believe gold must remain valuable because if gold declines, all the money everyone holds would be worthless.
I went to several banks to learn more about exchanging currency into dollars. I went home and was occupied with correspondence and comparing the statements the different bankers had made. After dinner, my parents went to the Yiddish theatre. I listened to the radio. Nothing good was happening in the world; everywhere there was trouble, and it all appeared interconnected.
Antwerp, Tuesday 9:40 p.m., February 20, 1934.
This morning I took my sister to school while my parents slept. Then I took my mother to the dentist. I went to the bank for my father, and then to the Czech Consulate regarding our money that remained there. I learned that the kronen had lost one-sixth of its value; again our personal savings were diminished.
In the afternoon, I went to the banks with my father. Then we heard that two thieves had been arrested today in a café. Perhaps they were the men who had broken into our apartment. I went to a couple of different police stations in regard to this matter. Our landlord may be able to help identify the thieves. The landlord was due to see the police commissioner in order to identify the two men. I went to several more banks to buy gold. Tomorrow, I will return to the police station with my father.
Antwerp, Wednesday 9:55 p.m., February 21, 1934.
This morning I went with my father to the bank. Then, we went together to the police precinct where we met the landlord. We were officially introduced to the landlord because he was there to identify the thieves. Afterwards, I went to the National Bank with my father and withdrew whatever was remaining in my account, including 300 francs in interest. I had a total of 20,100 francs. We went to a second bank to purchase gold bars and pieces, which we placed in the Diamond Club safe.
In the afternoon, I took 19,858.5 francs and bought 1,350 Holland currency in gold pieces only. These gold pieces were also placed in our safe. Tomorrow is the funeral procession for King Albert I, and all the banks will be closed. My family believes that the gold can only appreciate; we are not concerned that it may depreciate. We also do not expect the francs to rise very much since other similar currencies have recently been dropping, like the Czech kronen.
Later, I inquired about the Czech kronen. My father anticipates taking a big loss on the kronen he presently holds. There are very few buyers for kronen since it continues to drop steadily. After dinner, my parents went to the movies, and Jack Rosenbaum visited me.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:00 p.m., February 22, 1934.
Today is the day of King Albert's burial. May he rest in peace. The rumor is that his accident was no accident, but that he was killed to make room for someone else politically.
[Note from Sonia Fuentes on May 20, 2019. The Washington Post, in an article of July 25, 2016, confirmed, on the basis of newly-discovered evidence, that King Leopold had indeed died as a result of a climbing accident.]
I took my sister for a walk in the morning and visited Gruber. In the afternoon, I worked on correspondence and repaired some drawers that had been damaged in the theft. After dinner, I listened to the news and thanked G-d that I wasn't in any of the many places in the world where terrible things were happening.
Antwerp, Sunday 8:15 p.m., February 25, 1934.
Friday I was busy visiting several banks. Afterwards, I visited the Buchovitzes. On Friday, Leopold III, the son of the recently deceased King Albert, was sworn in as the new king of the Belgians. In the afternoon, I took a walk.
After dinner, I went to Cinema Lucas for two-and-a-half francs. I saw two French films, The Words Without A Face, and The Winning of Calcutta. Both were real-life dramas: the first involved a love affair and the second dealt with gambling.
Yesterday morning, I took my sister with me to a bank to obtain information. In the afternoon, my parents visited Linkofsky, and I met with some people to get more information about America. Then, I took another walk.
This week my father was offered a business. Now, he is ambivalent about his decision to move to America. Until now, he had found no business investments. Since we may be leaving, he is hesitant to get involved in a business in Belgium.
Antwerp, Sunday 10:00 p.m., February 25, 1934.
My father has very little confidence in the future of business in Belgium because he has seen many businesses here fail.
Last night, my parents took my sister to a movie. I prepared dinner for myself before attending the Maccabbee Purim Ball. It cost fifteen francs. I met a lot of people I knew, including the Grubers, Goldwassers, Ratners, and Morris Badler. I also saw the Buchovitzes and the Solomons. I enjoyed myself and danced with many ladies, including Maria Goldwasser. I treated the Goldwassers to a plateful of oranges. I spent an additional 19 francs on food and beverages. I was introduced to Jack Rosenbaum's cousin, Hedda Cohen. She had also left Germany. She had come out from Bochun. She has been living in Belgium for only five months. Her girlfriend Gusti Herschon was also from Germany. Gusti sang at the Ball. Although the Ball was not over, I left at 2 a.m. with Hedda Cohen. I escorted her home and promised that I would send her a postcard to let her know when we can get together for a movie. I arrived home at 2:45 a.m. and went to bed. The evening was very nice: the music was pleasant and the people interesting.
This morning, I cleaned and mended my suits. In the afternoon, I spent a few hours reading the newspaper to my father. Afterwards, I took a walk and went to a café that cost two-and-a-half francs. Then, we ate dinner and now I am going to bed.
Antwerp, Monday 8:30 p.m., February 26, 1934.
This morning, after bringing my sister to school, I accompanied my mother to the American Consulate. We did not get our visas yet because the staff had not checked out all the details yet. The Vice Consul said that it seemed that we would get our visas in the next few days. I went to the bank and the Polish Consulate. I had a notice to appear at the Polish Consulate where I received a form to register as a temporary absentee. I had to sign a paper promising to be a Polish soldier if they went to war. Then I picked my sister up at school, attended to some banking business, and deposited more Holland gold into the Diamond Club safe.
It is hard to know with certainty which currency will remain stable. We are still trusting mostly in the gold pieces. Trying to predict which currency will remain stable, which will decline, and which will increase can drive you crazy. My father is still upset about the Czech kronen whose value continues to drop precipitously. We cannot even get the reduced value of the kronen because there are no buyers. We just hope this situation will turn around soon.
Later, I studied English, then Jack Rosenbaum visited. I gave him a note for his cousin Hedda Cohen. In this note, I invited her out for Thursday evening.
Then, a notice from the police precinct arrived compelling me to appear tomorrow morning in connection with the burglary, I was to confront the suspects. Perhaps I would identify the suspects, but I was uncertain whether I would be able to. After dinner, my parents went to the movies and I studied English. It seems the whole world is crazy, standing on its head with problems.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:10 p.m., February 27, 1934.
This morning I went first with my mother and then with my father to the police precinct. Regrettably, I was unable to identify the men I had seen. Our landlord had also come to the police precinct to see if he could identify them.
Afterwards, I went to the American Consulate. They still did not have our visas. My father and I went to the banks in the morning and the afternoon to exchange currencies. Thank G-d, my father was successful in selling some of his Czech kronen today. He lost about 20 percent of the value of the kronen he sold. It is still good that he was able to rid himself of some of them since they may continue to depreciate.
After dinner, I went to French class.
Antwerp, Wednesday 11:25 p.m., February 28, 1934.
It is the night before Purim. This morning I again accompanied my mother to the police precinct in connection with the robbery.
Afterwards, we called the American Consulate and were notified that everything was in order. They told us to pick up the visas tomorrow. I hope to get the visas, but in the meantime we must wait.
My father had purchased gold with the money exchanged for the kronen and we put the gold in the bank that afternoon.
Jack Rosenbaum came to visit towards evening and gave me a message that Hedda Cohen had to work on Thursday and would sent me a letter to reschedule our date. After dinner, I saw a German film, Dangers of Love. It was a wonderful, real-life film. I saw a second film that was French, Two Gentlemen and One Lady, an enjoyable comedy.
I hope to get good news tomorrow about our passports and visas.
Antwerp, Friday 12:05 a.m., March 2, 1934.
Yesterday was Purim, when we celebrate the death of Haman, a man who tried to kill all the Jews. Haman was like Hitler, except that Hitler may come even closer to succeeding than Haman did.
After dropping my sister off at school, I went to the American Consulate. Thank G-d, the papers were all there, a permit for everyone in my whole family. There were people at the Consulate who had waited for several years. There was one woman who had been waiting for seven years to reenter the United States and be reunited with her American husband.
Then, I went to the bank to receive the additional gold we had bought and deliver it to our safe in the Diamond Club. Now, we just hope and pray that everything will go well from now on.
In the afternoon, I walked with my sister. We returned to the police precinct about the burglary. I also returned again to the banks and the safe to transfer money.
This morning I had received a letter from Hedda Cohen. She said she could come this evening, but would be a little later than we'd originally planned.
I went to the English lesson for one hour after dinner before meeting Hedda. We went to the Odeon Cinema. I paid eight francs for the two of us to see a very nice German film, and walked Hedda home.
Antwerp, Friday 9:15 p.m., March 2, 1934.
Today, I was busy all morning and afternoon going to different banks. My father accompanied me to some of the banks. Mr. Katz paid a visit after dinner and discussed going to America and perhaps going to Palestine.
Antwerp, Sunday 10:15 p.m., March 4, 1934.
Yesterday morning, I went to various banks again. We opened a special account at a banking conglomerate to hold dollars. In the afternoon, I visited the Grubers and Ms. Goldstein (from the Committee of Jewish Refugees and Immigration). I thanked Ms. Goldstein for her help in applying to move to America. I told her we had been successful. She promised to visit my family with some tips about life in America. She thought it was best to take our furniture to America instead of selling it here. She thought it would be more expensive to buy new furniture in America, and we would not receive much money for our old furniture here. My parents took my sister to a movie in the afternoon, while I studied English.
After dinner, I went to Machanai Israel for two-and-a-half francs. There wasn't anyone I was interested in seeing there, so I left.
In the last two weeks, I spent about 50 francs of my pocket money on car fare and other small expenses to run all these various errands.
This morning, my father and were unsuccessful in selling our remaining Czech kronen. Afterwards, my sister and I visited Goldwasser. After vacuuming the house, I tried again to unload the kronen.
I took my sister on another walk in the afternoon and read my father the paper in the evening. My parents went for a walk in the evening. My parents have decided to return to Czechoslovakia to withdraw their remaining money. Tomorrow, we will begin to arrange for their trip.
Antwerp, Monday 11:20 p.m., March 5, 1934.
Today, I spent all morning at the Consulate, travel bureau, and the Diamond Club doing chores preparatory for our journey. In the afternoon, I was at the boat company getting information about travel to America, including the fares. After 5 p.m., my sister and I brought my parents to the train station. They left for Prague. I hope that G-d will help them get things in order and get their belongings and themselves safely out of Prague.
I went shopping and ran errands before preparing dinner for my sister and myself. After dinner, I readied my sister for bed and cleaned the kitchen. I was lonesome in the evening so I telephoned Ms. Helen Schlessinger, our neighbor. She kept me company, listening to music and dancing. I escorted her home.
Antwerp, Tuesday 9:50 p.m., March 6, 1934.
Early this morning, I took my sister to school. Then, I cleaned the house. I took a walk and brought more gold pieces to the Diamond Club safe. When I walked, I passed the house more often than was necessary to insure that it was not burglarized a second time. I took my sister to a restaurant for lunch before returning her to school. I tried to exchange my father's kronen, but there were still no buyers. While Sonia was at school, I handled some correspondence until it was time to pick her up.
It was raining, so we had dinner home. My sister got sick that night and vomited. I put her to bed with some light food. I did the dishes and cleaned up before going to bed.
Antwerp, Wednesday 8:50 p.m., March 7, 1934.
This morning, I took my sister to school and did some food shopping. I made breakfast and cleaned the house before withdrawing the 50,000 kronen to try again to exchange it at a bank. After many attempts, I visited the Goldwassers before getting Sonia at school and taking her out for lunch.
I went to more banks in the afternoon before taking Sonia for an afternoon snack after school. Finally, I was able to sell the 50,000 kronen at a bank for a little less than my father had hoped for, but a lot more than the kronen's value a few weeks ago. I hope my parents will be satisfied with my exchange. It wouldn't make any sense to be proud and independent and hold on to the kronen until its price drops again. I will get a check for the exchange tomorrow and will deposit it in the Diamond Club safe.
I studied English for a while. Mrs. Schlessinger came by with some cereal that she had made for Sonia. Sonia had to go to the dentist to have a loose tooth removed. Then, we ate dinner together. My mother had left extra money, so I didn't have to spend my pocket money on meals while my parents were away. I listened to the radio before going to sleep.
Antwerp, Thursday 9:55 p.m., March 8, 1934.
This morning I took my sister to school, cleaned her room, and vacuumed the house. I went to the safe before noon to cash and then deposit the check. I found out that the kronen rose a bit in price today. Bankers now are interested in kronen. I was very aggravated that I had sold the kronen yesterday at such a loss. Then again, you can never be sure when the right time to sell or buy is. When you deal in currency, it's like playing the stock market. Hindsight is much better than foresight. I still hope that my parents will be pleased that I did the best I could under the circumstances. I didn't sell it at the worst time, so I saved them a little bit of money. But, I didn't sell it at the best time either.
I learned that a diamond dealer also had Czech kronen, and I tried to negotiate a price between him and the bank. It was a difficult task. I managed to arrive at an agreement whereby I bought the kronen from the diamond dealer and sold them to the banker at his buying price. I made a 125 francs profit on the transaction. I am very satisfied with this deal. Now I can show my father that I made a deal at a profit. Maybe he'll be glad that I used my head and did it all by myself. G-d helped me get a little more acquainted with business, and I am thankful for that.
In the afternoon, I took Sonia out for lunch and then ran errands before picking her up again. I played with her in the house. Mrs. Schlessinger came by again to help me cook dinner for Sonia. I washed, cleaned, and put Sonia to bed. I am very tired from caring for Sonia and the house.
Today I received an airmail postcard from my parents in Prague, letting me know that they had arrived safely. There was no return address on the card.
Antwerp, Friday 10:00 p.m., March 9, 1934.
This morning I received a very nice airmail letter from my dear parents. Afterwards, I took my sister to school. The rest of the morning I attended to chores. I completed my dealings with the Czech kronen at the exchange office. Today the kronen market was weaker again, and buyers were few. I picked my sister up at school and visited Mrs. Goldwasser, who invited us for dinner. I cleaned the house while Sonia was at school; then I took her for a snack and a walk.
I sent a return airmail letter to my parents, answering their questions and notifying my father about the kronen exchange rate. My mother was worried that we were sick or in trouble; I allayed her fears in the letter. We went to the Goldwasser's for dinner, which was very nice. Afterwards, I put my sister to bed and went to sleep.
Antwerp, Saturday 9:40 p.m., March 10, 1934.
This morning I took my sister to school, listened to the radio, and cleaned the house. By the time I finished my errands at the bank, I had to get my sister for lunch and a walk. Mrs. Schlessinger came by and helped me keep Sonia occupied. After dropping Sonia off at school, I shopped for dinner and prepared dinner. Sonia was good today and ate dinner well. Because she was good, I let her stay up a bit longer and listen to the radio with me. Then, I put her to bed. I received mail from my grandmother in Poland giving me the address of our family in Poland.
Antwerp, Sunday 9:10 p.m., March 11, 1934.
This morning I slept a bit later and did house shopping and cleaning. I spent some time walking with Sonia before lunch. I played with her after lunch and ran some errands. We had a snack and played some more. I got information on possible times that my parents might be arriving from Prague if they left today. I listened to the radio and went to bed.
Antwerp, Tuesday 3:05 p.m., March 13, 1934.
After readying Sonia for school yesterday, I cleaned the house and had breakfast. My parents came home shortly after that, thank G-d. My mother had nice gifts from my father, including a new Persian lamb coat and jacket that she had wanted for a long time. She also got a replacement for the silver fox collar that was stolen. Sonia also got some nice things. I got a new top shirt and tie as well as a wallet. My father promised me a nice summer suit tailor-made.
I went to the bank and the safe and purchased a bouquet of flowers for five francs. I picked my sister up from school and gave her the flowers to give to my parents. She greeted my mother with the flowers to show them how happy we were that they were home safe. My parents were very satisfied that the house was clean and my sister looked well. My mother said that my sister fixed herself well. She said Sonia looked much better than before they had left for Prague.
In the afternoon, I returned to various banks with my father to exchange the kronen he had withdrawn from Prague. Thank G-d, we no longer have any money in that country. We bought a little gold that I brought to our safe. When I was carrying around the bundles of gold, I carried a gun that carries tranquilizer bullets. Fortunately, I never had to use it. I know that one time a man in one of the exchange offices was robbed and badly beaten.
After dinner, I changed and went out with Helen Schlessinger to the affair of Karen Kayemen. Helen had an admittance card, and I paid fifteen francs for myself. First, there was a variety show; then, there was dancing. Helen danced with friends of hers, and I joined Madame Linkofsky and her daughter, and danced with other people. I enjoyed myself very much. I left with the Linkofskys around 2 a.m. Drinks and small items cost me 10 francs in addition to the admittance cost.
This morning I went to the bank a few times regarding the current prices for the Czech kronen. I also read and listened to the news to determine exchange rates. We finally exchanged the remaining 100,000 kronen at a fairly good price, much better than the price my father had gotten for the kronen he had exchanged yesterday. I earned 50 francs for myself as well that my father let me keep. I brought my sister back to school and rested awhile.
I am doing a little writing before going to pick Sonia up from school.
Today I called Helen Goldstein, who promised to visit Thursday.
Antwerp, Wednesday 9:50 p.m., March 14, 1934.
Yesterday afternoon, I picked my sister up from school, and we walked around. I also went to a ship company to get information in preparation for our trip to America. After dinner my parents went out. I did a little reading and went to bed.
This morning, I am taking care of some correspondence and writing letters to relatives in Brooklyn before picking Sonia up from school. In the afternoon, I inquired about getting a maid to help my mother with housework. I stopped at a travel bureau for additional information. I put my correspondence in order. After dinner, my parents went to the movie theatre. Jack Rosenbaum came to visit.
Antwerp, Friday 4:50 p.m., March 16, 1934.
Yesterday was my mother's 42nd birthday. She should live and be well until her 120th. I congratulated her. I like giving practical gifts, but I did not know what to get her, so I will buy her a nice pullover sweater like I had promised her. I wanted to take her along to pick out the sweater. I straightened out some old correspondence before picking up my sister. Then I went to an employment agency to get a maid for my mother.
In the afternoon, our neighbor Ms. Goldstein visited. She gave us advice on personal matters. I went to English class in the evening, and then to see two films: Men Do Call It Love and a French film with Jean Harlow and Clark Gable. I came home by 11:30 p.m. My parents told me that Ms. Goldstein and her daughter had visited that evening to explain life in America.
This morning, I brought my sister to school. I went to a newspaper office and placed some ads to sell our furniture. I went back to the employment agencies to find someone to do our housework. While doing my errands, I coincidentally met a lady who is looking to buy furniture. I gave her our address. We had a visit from one of the agents of a furniture moving company. I had some business at the Diamond Club in the afternoon. I went to another employment agency for a housemaid in the afternoon. I took a bath for four francs.
Antwerp, Sunday 9:40 p.m., March 18, 1934.
Friday afternoon, I was out walking. I listened to the radio and went to bed by 9:05 p.m.
Yesterday the lady who was interested in furniture came by our house. In the afternoon, I was home. After dinner, I went to the Machanai Israel Sports Club for two-and-a-half francs and five francs for dues. I cancelled my membership for the future since we are intent on moving. There was some dancing. I came home by 12:30.
Yesterday, some more potential buyers came to look at our furniture.
This morning, I took my sister for a walk and we visited the Goldwassers. I sent a letter to relatives in America. In the afternoon and went to the barber shop. The Buchovitzes, Cathy Solomon, Jack, and another young man picked me up for an afternoon dance and tea. We had a nice time. We three young men treated the ladies; my share came to five francs. The dancing was very pleasant. After dinner, I wrote another card about selling our furniture.
Antwerp, Tuesday 9:30 p.m., March 20, 1934.
Yesterday morning, after bringing my sister to school I went to another employment agency to find a girl for the housework. Then, my mother hired one of the girls who had been recommended. She came to our house today. I picked Sonia up in the afternoon. The Goldwassers came by and bought some of our furniture, and, after dinner Mr. Goldwasser picked up some of the small items that he had purchased from us. I helped him bring some of the items to his home. I asked Goldwasser's daughter to help me prepare a letter to her cousin Ms. Margaret Goldwasser, who lives in New York. I had met her when she was visiting in Antwerp and had taken her out to some of the museums and cites in Belgium. I planned to send the letter that we composed. One of the questions I asked in the letter was whether she could meet us at the boat on our arrival. I went to the Cinema Trocadero to see Buster Keaton Went To War, an English comedy with little plot. I went to bed shortly after midnight.
This morning the lady who was interested in the furniture came by and planned to return shortly with her husband to show him items in which she was interested. I am going to the newspapers to possibly renew our ads. In the afternoon I studied English, and in the evening I went to my French class.
Antwerp, Thursday 10:55 p.m., March 22, 1934.
Yesterday morning I ran errands to compile information for our journey. In the afternoon, Ms. Goldstein assisted my parents in shopping, including for some fabric. My parents returned and negotiated the sale of a large portion of our furniture. After dinner, Jack and I studied English. I went to bed around 11 p.m.
This morning I went to the townhouse and then to the shipping company, the Red Star Line. We want to use this line because they have a port in Antwerp and travel to America. I wanted some information regarding our journey and received a permit to inspect the boat prior to our trip. Some people came to look at our furniture but bought nothing. In the evening, I went to the English school. Some of our friends visited later in the evening. I think we are preparing to leave Antwerp on April 20th. That is the boat we will check out with the permit we received. We are going to see it now because it is due to leave for America tomorrow.
Antwerp, Sunday 9:40 p.m., March 25, 1934.
On Friday morning, I visited the office that represents the overseas boat company to get cards allowing us a discount in purchasing boat tickets. Afterwards, I ran errands to other offices for our journey. In the afternoon, I accompanied my parents to the port. We looked at the cabins of the Red Star Line's Westerland. My parents were satisfied with the viewing and glad that I had arranged it. They were also pleased that we visited the ship in advance so we could choose the cabins we would occupy on our long trip to America. After dinner, my parents went out, and I went to bed around 10:00 p.m.,
Saturday morning, I took my sister to the American Consulate to gather some information. I taught my mother a little English, starting with a simple English lesson. In the afternoon, I wrote a letter to Ms. Margaret Goldwasser, the niece who had visited us last summer from New York. I told her the date of our arrival and asked her again if she would meet us at the boat and give us some advice about life in America. None of our relatives had responded to our letters.
My parents and I went to a café.
My father had purchased a diamond bracelet and a wristwatch. I wanted to buy a small gold tie pin for myself, preferably with a small diamond. In the evening, I went to my English class and then to Machanai Israel. Where a woman gave an interesting lecture. Then I danced and went home by 1:20 a.m. The evening cost two-and-a-half francs.
Today, I sold a clothes closet. Then, I went to the bathhouse for four francs. In the afternoon, Joseph Gruber picked me up to go to the Sauvigny for dancing; it was very nice and cost six francs. This evening a an visited, from whom I ordered a diamond tie pin. He intends to buy my desk.
Antwerp, Monday 10:10 p.m., March 26, 1934.
This morning I went to the Izra travel agency owned by the Red Star Line to ask about tickets to America. Then, I went to the American Consulate and the bank. In the afternoon, my mother and I went to the Red Star Line's office regarding reservations for specific cabins we were interested in. I accompanied my mother to the dressmaker for a fitting of the dress being made from the goods she bought a week ago. In the evening, a friend visited.
Antwerp, Tuesday 9:50 p.m., March 27, 1934.
This morning, I looked for an English teacher for my father. I went back to the Izra travel agency about our travel plans. In the afternoon, I walked with my sister. My parents went out looking at diamonds to have earrings made for my mother. I went to school in the afternoon to pick my sister up and returned to the Diamond Club.
Antwerp, Wednesday 10:30 p.m., March 28, 1934.
This morning, my mother and I went to the office regarding the diamonds that my parents had bought yesterday. We did further negotiating to settle on a slightly reduced price. We picked the diamonds up and paid for them. I took all the gold remaining in our safe so I could do an inventory at home. In the afternoon, I returned the gold to the Diamond Club safe. We went back to the bank and the Red Star Line that afternoon and finally made the reservation for two cabins on the Westernland. The ship is to leave on the morning of April 20th. We must board on the evening of April 19th.
Then, I paid for the tickets at the Izra travel agency. We went to the American Consul, and Jack Pollard came to visit in the evening.
Antwerp, Saturday 9:00 p.m., March 31, 1934.
Today is the first day of Passover. Thursday morning I went to the Izra travel agency and ran many other errands. Then, I went to the Red Star Line's office and picked our tickets up. They gave us an appointment for the required doctor's exam for our entire family. They explained that they would also check that my father was literate in at least one language. My dear father is unable to read or write in any language, including Yiddish, because his parents did not send him to school because they needed him to work to help support the family.
In the afternoon, I visited different banks.
We got my father a private tutor, Mr. Krimilovsky, to teach my father to read and write Yiddish. I hope to dear G-d that he will learn and retain a little. He is not very receptive in any kind of learning. I think it is fair and reasonable that America requires literacy in a language and does not even require literacy in English. The Polish Consulate had required that people entering read and write Polish.
That evening, I went to my English class. I bought a picture; the cost went to charity.
Friday morning, I went to the bank and the safe. In the afternoon, I sold an old gold ring of my father's. He gave me 25 francs for my efforts. I went to bed by 10:00 p.m., after celebrating the first seder.
This morning, I visited the Goldwassers and the barber. Then I went walking with my sister and Joseph Gruber. We had three photos taken and developed. That afternoon I went to Machanai Israel with Jack Collins. We listened to a lecture about Jewish prayer. Then, I visited Jack Gruber. My parents went to a movie after dinner. I had a very nice time with an 18-year-old lady with whom I got acquainted.
Antwerp, Sunday 8:25 p.m., April 1, 1934.
This morning, Joseph Gruber walked with me by the port, where we took some pictures. I napped, and Joseph picked me up so we could go to the Sauvigny for dancing. It cost eight francs. I danced there with the girl I had met yesterday. Later, on April 10th, she stood me up for a date. She later excused herself for not coming to our rendezvous. We made another date to meet at the Avenue Kaidser on Thursday; I had also made a date for Saturday evening. I ate my dinner and went to bed.
Antwerp, Sunday 10:00 p.m., April 1, 1934.
Today, on Easter Sunday, my sister and I visited the Goldwassers. We met Olga Gruber in the park, and the three of us rented a rowboat and walked some more. I paid three francs for my sister and me.
In the afternoon, I was with Joseph Gruber at Nightingale Park for outdoor tea that cost five francs. I met many friends and acquaintances there, including Ms. Goldstein. When I came home, there were many prospective customers looking at our furniture.
Antwerp, Tuesday 9:30 p.m., April 3, 1934.
This morning I accompanied my parents to the Diamond Club to bring the diamonds my parents had bought to a diamond worker to make earrings. Then I went to several banks with my father. We bought some American dollars. We are afraid that we may have to exchange our gold for currency because some people told us we may not be able to bring our gold into America. We will check into that further. I paid 20 francs for repairs to my gold wristband instead of selling it. I felt it was worth it because gold is valuable, and we will try to hold on to it if we can. I hardly wear the wristwatch because it is a lady's watch, but I keep it for its value. We could not find a pullover sweater to my mother's liking, so I may have to buy her something else for her birthday. I picked my pictures up today for 6.3 francs and put them in my photo album as #99, #99a, and #100. I also purchased a cheap, nice English book to study in the afternoon.
Antwerp, Wednesday 9:45 p.m., April 4, 1934.
Today before noon I was busy at the banks. We sold some of our gold for American dollars. I also sold my 1,350 Holland gold pieces and 97.5 francs for $930, with which I opened a new account at the bank. I also spent two francs for the picture I took on Sunday with Josie Gruber. I studied some English. Later the Mendelsons came to visit, and I wrote a letter for them.
Antwerp, Friday 9:10 p.m., April 6, 1934.
Today is the day before the last day of Passover. Yesterday morning, I went to the bathhouse before going to the Ezra. At the Ezra, a nice gentleman, Mr. Schultzsinger, helped me put together a nice letter to America that we hope gets to our American relatives in time. In any case, if none of them come to meet us at the ship on our arrival, we hope someone from the Jewish Committee will pick us up at the boat and assist us at the beginning of our lives in America. Then, I had many things to attend to at the banks.
In the afternoon, I took a rowboat with my mother and sister. Afterwards, I went to the barber, the bank, and the safe. After dinner, I went to my rendezvous. I waited awhile, but my date did not show. Instead, I met Joseph Gruber accidentally. His new girlfriend also stood him up. So we went together to the Sauvigny Club, where we danced with many girls. I met a German Christian girl of 21, Mia Essa. She has been living in Antwerp for four years. We made a date. Then Josie Gruber said he would escort her home, but she declined. Instead, I took her home. We planned to meet on Monday evening at the Station Central. I kissed her hand and said good-bye. I was not very pushy. I went to bed by 2 a.m.
This morning I attended to more bank business. In the afternoon, I slept before visiting more banks. We are opening an account at National Citibank of New York. Today, I met Josie Gruber and he told me that Mia Essa had also promised to meet him on Monday evening at the Sauvigny. I do not know if that is true. In any event, she can only be with one of us, or maybe neither of us. I do not know what she will do because yesterday Josie was stood up by a friend of hers.
After dinner, my parents went to the movies while I kept Sonia busy and then put her to bed. Otherwise, Sonia would have cried because my mother was not home with her. Sonia does not like to be put to bed by the housemaid. Today I spent eight francs.
Antwerp, Saturday 11:40 p.m., April 7, 1934.
Today was the last day of Passover. This morning I went to several banks, took a nap, visited Gruber, and then went walking with my parents. Since I was in no mood to keep my rendezvous tonight with Mia Essa, I went to dinner late. I do not know whether or not Mia Essa she came or not. In any event, I did not go to meet her. Instead, I went to the Plaza Cinema and saw two excellent films, The Sweetheart and the Fire (about money and thieves)and a French film, The Kiss in Front of the Mirror (about love and jealousy).
Today in the middle of the night in Belgium, the time will change; at midnight, we will spring ahead to 1 a.m.
Antwerp, Sunday 11:10 p.m., April 8, 1934.
Today before noon I took my sister out for a nice, long walk. Today I paid 70 francs for a nice hat for my mother that Ms. Schlessinger made to order for her birthday instead of the pullover sweater we could not find. In the afternoon, I went walking, visited Gruber, and studied English. In the evening Mendelson came to visit.
Antwerp, Tuesday 12:30 a.m., April 10, 1934.
I spent entire forenoon in banks. My mother picked up her earrings; I hope she wears them in good health. I went to the barber and bought a dozen razor blades for four francs. Then, I went to additional banks and the safe. After dinner, I went to Gare Central to the rendezvous, but she did not show up, and I felt a little bad about it. She had also given me her address and I had given her mine so she could write me if she were unable to come. I will check the post office tomorrow to see if she has written.
Afterwards, I met Joseph Gruber, who was also stood up at the Sauvigny. Then, I met Sam Fishman and went to the Cinema with him. We saw The Life of a Great Artist, which cost three francs. I enjoyed it very much and I lent Sam the money for his ticket. He has not yet repaid me because when we left the Cinema he had to rush to catch his trolley. He probably will pay me.
Antwerp, Tuesday 10:35 p.m., April 10, 1934.
This morning I went to Ezra regarding our furniture escrow money. Then I attended to bank matters. In the afternoon, I walked with my sister and visited Gruber. After dinner, Jack Pollard and Joseph Screiber visited. We had a nice discussion and studied English.
Antwerp, Wednesday 8:40 p.m., April 11, 1934.
I attended to bank matters in the morning. Then I sold gold since we might not be able to exchange it for American dollars. The dollar value is declining daily. In the afternoon I visited the Mendelsons with my parents. I also visited Sam Fishman, but he did not repay my loan so he could attend the movies. Later ,I had to attend to more bank matters. My parents are out. I will take a foot bath before going to bed. Today, my parents gave me 14 pairs of socks.
Antwerp, Thursday 6:00 p.m., April 12, 1934.
On Tuesday, I sent a postcard to Mia Essa. This morning, I found a short letter from her at the post office. She must have sent it on Tuesday letting me know that she would be unable to meet me on Monday. She said in the letter that she would come on Tuesday, which has also passed. It isn't really important anyway.
Then I went to the Ezra about our furniture escrow. Then I went with Mr. Krimilofsky to see the customs office director, but it was worthless trip. Then I noticed that I felt feverish; I had a headache, an earache, and felt nauseous. I went straight to bed. In the afternoon, I was up a little and went to the post office looking for mail from Mia Essa, but there was none. Then I visited Gruber and returned to bed because I was still feeling sick. I hope G-d will help me get better.
- Introduction by Sonia
- Berlin, Germany, from July 21, 1932, through May 5, 1933
- Antwerp, Belgium, from May 9, 1933, through April 12, 1934
- Antwerp, Belgium and Bronx, New York, from April 20, 1934, through November 29, 1935
- Eulogy by Hermann’s Granddaughter, Debra (Debbie) Gold Linick