Survivor STORY

Kurt (Gavriel ben Yechiel) was born in Gedern, Germany on January 26, 1909; his twin brother, Paul, was born 14 hours later on January 27th. Records show that Kurt's ancestor, Michael Homburger, was in Gedern in 1810, and that the small town had a Jewish community present for 400 years.

Kurt left school at age fourteen to begin an apprenticeship in the banking business. He later secured a position in Frankfurt, where he worked for twelve years with a small banking firm on the Stock Exchange in Frankfurt. After his license to deal on the Exchange was revoked in 1937 under the Nuremberg Laws, Kurt decided to emigrate to America. He was able to get to Switzerland and from there, secured a visa to the United States, where he arrived on the 31st of May, 1938.

Since coming to Atlanta, Mr. Homburger built a career in the finance industry and has also been extremely active in Israel Bonds and other Jewish organizations and charitable causes.

Leaving Europe

After I was working for six, eight months, I received a license that I could deal on the Exchange. I was the youngest who ever got a license to deal on the Exchange. And we had license through 1937. In 1938 we had no permits to deal in the Exchange anymore.

When didn't get permit to deal in the Exchange I made arrangements to go to America. My twin brother came here in January '33, '35, January, '35, my twin brother, the watchmaker. But I had a brother in United States since 1914, a half brother. Yeah. He came as a fifteen-year-old boy when the First World War broke out.

My brother Paul sent me a visa that I could come to the United States, so I came to the United States. Had arrangements with the Hamburg-America line, deposited 1000 marks for the fare, the ship fare. But it got so bad in Frankfurt with the Nazis. Extremely bad, so I decided, never mind about my deposit. I get out of here.

So I had packed 12 tailor-made suits in two valises. I took them to the railroad station about noon, and, for getting on the train at night. And between 12 noon and the afternoon, the Nazis were so wild, so bad, that I decided I will not go on the railroad station in Frankfurt, because I was afraid they would stop me. So I took a taxi for 22 marks and took the railroad station in Darmstadt, the next stop, I took the railroad. On next morning I was in Basle, or Basle, Switzerland.

Israel

I worked for Israel Bonds because if the State of Israel cannot exist we Jews in the world cannot exist. If we don't have a state, we have no home anywhere. We thought we had a home in Europe. We didn't have it. We think we have a home here. I hope we have it. But we have a State of Israel and that is the basis, our home. That is my philosophy.

Judaism and Jewishness

I would advise Jewish young people to learn Jewish life, live Jewish life as much as possible, support the State of Israel to the nth degree, and remember that we're only guests here. That we're only guests here. That's all. Four hundred years people lived in Gedern [Germany] and out. And so many hundred years before, they lived in Homburg, that little town, and twice they were thrown out, see?

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Kurt Homberger