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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:           HANNA KAUNITZ WEINSTEIN ENTELL

INTERVIEWER:       RAY ANN KREMER

DATE:                      JUNE 18, 1986

                                OCTOBER 8, 1986

LOCATION:              ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

 

BIOGRAPHY

Hanna Kaunitz Weinstein Entell was born in Vienna, Austria and lived there until she was 20 years old. Hanna was the youngest of five children. Her brothers were Fred, Kurt, Hans, and Ernst. Her parents were of Hungarian and Austrian descent. Hanna attended public school and a dressmaking trade school in Vienna. Hanna’s first husband was Kasimir Roth, a Jewish Czechoslovakian farmer. Hanna immigrated to Manila in the Philippines in 1938 and divorced her first husband. In the Philippines, Hanna worked as a saleswoman in a department store. Hanna was a member of the underground guerilla band “Blue Eagles,” providing food and medicine to American prisoners in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. After the war ended, Hanna married one of the prisoners, Dr. Alfred A. Weinstein, a captain in the U.S. Army. Hanna and her husband moved to Atlanta in 1946.

Hanna was a member of The Temple. Hanna was a volunteer with the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), the National Council of Jewish Women, the William Breman Jewish Home, and the Louis Kahn Group Home. Hanna helped to settle many newly arrived immigrants in Atlanta for the Jewish Family Services and National Council for Jewish Women. Hanna’s husband Alfred Weinstein died in 1964. Hanna married her third husband, Max Entell, in 1971.

Hanna and her husband Alfred Weinstein were the parents of Helen, a child who lived only two weeks; Elsa, a married daughter and a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia; and two adopted sons, Mack and Ronnie, residents of Chicago, Illinois and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Scope of Interview:

Hanna talks about her family’s origins. Her parents were of Hungarian and Austrian descent. Her father was born in Hungary and her mother in Vienna. Hanna’s father was a merchant. His father and two brothers were physicians. Hanna was the youngest of five children. Her brothers were Fred, Kurt, Hans, and Ernst.

Hanna tells about her comfortable childhood in Vienna that included skating, skiing, and swimming. She describes Vienna as a beautiful, cultured city. Hanna talks about attending public school and dressmaking school. She says her social life revolved around her large close-knit family, including 12 aunts and uncles. Hanna mentions several branches of her family are no longer Jewish due to intermarriage with non-Jewish spouses.

Hanna tells about religious instruction in school and her religious life. Hanna says her family identified with being Jewish and celebrated holidays at home but did not attend synagogue.  Hanna tells about the Kultusgemeinde in Vienna, a Jewish communal organization that collected dues and provided for all aspects of Jewish life including synagogues, cemeteries, burials, and marriages.

Hanna talks about her brothers. Hanna says her oldest brother Hans was a physician. Hanna tells about the death of her youngest brother Kurt, an actor, when she was 12 years old. Another brother, Ernst, immigrated to South America and died in an auto accident. Hanna’s fourth brother Fred was a merchant.

Hanna describes the antisemitism of her Austrian neighbors that became evident only after Germany annexed Austria. Hanna tells about the treatment of Jews in Vienna after the annexation: arrests, degradations, and Kristalnacht. Hanna mentions her aunts and uncles who were killed in concentration camps. Hanna also discusses her relatives who survived the war in Europe, an uncle in Sarajevo and her aunt Truda in Yugoslavia. Hanna ascribes the survival of her aunt and uncle to their non-Jewish spouses and the help of their spouses’ families.

Hanna tells how she arrived in Manila in the Philippines in 1939. Hanna married Kasimir Roth, a Jewish Czechoslovakian farmer. Hanna and Kasimir tried unsuccessfully to use their Czech passports to enter England. Eleven months after they were turned away, Hanna and Kasimir managed to reach Manila in the Philippines. Her brother Hans had already found work as a doctor in Manila and had brought her brother Fred and her parents there as well as Hanna.

Hanna discusses her life in Manila until the war began in the Pacific began. She tells about the cultural activities. She tells how she learned English. She talks about working as a saleswoman. Hanna describes the Jewish community in Manila that expanded with 800 refugees. She talks about the community’s synagogue and Reform rabbi from Germany.

Hanna tells how she needed to stay in Shanghai, China for six months before divorcing her husband Kasimir Roth in Manila. Hanna talks about meeting Dr. Alfred A. Weinstein, a captain in the U.S. Army who was stationed in the Philippines and whom she married after the war.

Hanna talks about her life in the Philippines during the occupation by the Japanese. She describes her activities with the underground guerilla band “Blue Eagles,” providing food and medicine to American prisoners in Japanese POW camps, including Captain Weinstein. She tells about the dangers she and her brother Fred faced as members of the underground. She talks about Captain Weinstein’s experiences as a prisoner-of-war and refers to his book Barbed Wire Surgeon. She tells how the Japanese imprisoned and killed American civilians. She explains how she was protected while the Japanese viewed her and other Austrians as allies. Hanna tells about surviving weeks of Japanese bombings at the war’s end.

Hanna tells how she and Dr. Weinstein were reunited after the war and married. She describes her unusual ocean voyage to the United States as a newlywed and settling in Atlanta, Georgia, where her husband established a medical practice. She describes the antisemitism she observed in Atlanta. Hanna tells about her volunteer work helping newly arrived immigrants. Hanna talks about volunteering with other organizations: United Jewish Appeal (UJA), the National Council of Jewish Women, the William Breman Jewish Home, and the Louis Kahn Group Home. Hanna says she was a member of The Temple for 40 years but rarely attended services.

Hanna mentions her children: Helen, who lived for only two weeks; Elsa, a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia; and two adopted sons, Mack and Ronnie, residents of Chicago, Illinois and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Hanna talks about her experiences traveling with her family to Europe including a trip to Vienna and to Russia in 1963. Hanna talks about the death of her second husband, Dr. Weinstein, in 1964 and about meeting and marrying her third husband, Max Entell, in 1971.

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