Survivor STORY

Frances grew up in Wiesbaden, Germany. In January 1939, after Kristallnacht, Frances left Germany for England. She arrived in America on January 4th, 1940. Frances' parents and grandmother were able to reach America by way of Spain, Portugal and Cuba. Frances' husband, Walter, was also a refugee of the Nazi regime.
Life and Survival in Europe

As I left in January, I don't know what day, if it was the 17th. I went to England, and went as a so-called maid, I was an au pair, but I was a maid, completely a maid. And it was with some Jewish people who were real awful. They took advantage of me. And relatives from Switzerland were supposed to send me an allowance and they pocketed the allowance. And I had to work and take care of two children. It was in the north of London, and then the war broke out and the woman went to do something, defense work, and I had the whole household, by the way, a kosher household. That's the first time I had a kosher household. But I managed fine. And then in December, beginning of December, I was getting my American visa. So the woman, told her I was going to leave, I had my American visa, and she threw a book at me.

Coming to America

And we had a very stormy trip to the States. First of all, we had to go zig-zag and blacked out, and you know, and we finally arrived in NY on January 4th, 1940. And I couldn't get off the ship for the simple reason there was a law at that time, which came from, was based on the Irish immigrants that no female under twenty-one could immigrate unless met by relative because there was that law. So, we got finally hold of my uncle, there was a woman from Council and he came to pick me up just before they were going to ship me to Ellis Island, so I never went to Ellis Island. And that's how I arrived.

Jewish Community

I tell you, it started off actually in Germany, because my mother was active in what was called, at that time, the [name in German]. I mean it was part, it was a part sisterhood, part, but it was affiliated with Council. And they had contact, and the address I had was the Council of Jewish Women's address in New York. That I had with me, and that's where the woman met me at the ship, that I didn't go to Ellis Island. And when I came to Atlanta, you know like Gia Spielberg's mother, Lilo. We were active in it because, through the Tuesday night club, and we just worked ourselves up in the organization. And, I mean, of course, the part I did was a service to foreign born. And the first thing after the war were the Hungarian Jews who came over. And I know I helped them with their, you know, to become, the citizen papers and you know, the tests they have to take, and I did that for years.

Frances Bunzl