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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMORISTS:                      ALICE SHERR

     SAUL SHERR

INTERVIEWERS:                 MARSHA VRONO

                                              RUTH EINSTEIN

LOCATION:                         ATLANTA, GEORGIA

DATE:                                  MARCH 28, 2001

Transcript (PDF)

Biography:

Alice Sherr (née Bacharach) was born in Egelsbach, Hesse, Germany in 1931. In 1938, the family relocated to nearby Frankfurt after their home was vandalized–the windows were broken and the fence was painted with the words “A Jew lives here.” During Kristallnacht their Frankfurt apartment was invaded and her father taken to the Buchenwald concentration camp. After his release her parents sent Alice to a children’s home in Heiden, Switzerland in 1939. She would spend the duration of World War II in Switzerland. In 1947, being a war orphan, she was brought to America by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, arriving in New York where she had relatives. After some difficulty with her uncles, Alice relocated to Atlanta. She lived with a number of families while attending school on a Distributed Education program. She eventually met and married Saul Sherr, with whom she had four sons. Alice eventually became involved with a number of organizations in the community, such as Morningside Day Out, Cliff Valley School, and groups advocating for mental health rights and research.

Saul Sherr was born in Szczuczyn, Poland. Overcoming anti-Semitism and immigration barriers, his family left Poland in 1937. They first settled in Pittsburgh, where he became a bar mitzvah, before moving to Atlanta, where they ran a store at which he worked. He met Alice outside the local library and offered to give her a lift in the car, which is where he got her phone number and that eventually led to marriage and four children. He later became active in the Muscular Dystrophy Association and The National Association for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, helping to promote research and better integration of people suffering from diseases into society.

Scope of Interview:

The interview opens with Alice recounting her early childhood in Germany, in the Greater Frankfurt area. She remembers school and her family working. She also recalls attacks and vandalism increasing, which ultimately lead to the family relocating to an apartment in Frankfurt. While living there Alice tells of the events of Kristallnacht, seeing buildings set aflame, demolished, people being attacked, the family’s apartment being broken into, and her father being taken to a concentration camp. Upon his release she recounts not recognizing her father, and her family’s decision to send her to a children’s home in Switzerland. Alice discusses life in Switzerland, the rationing, the difficulties adjusting to living there, the infrequent contact with family, and lack of news about the outside world. She then goes on to explain her coming to America, and how she came to leave New York City for Atlanta.

Saul explains how his family left Poland shortly before the war began and first settled in Pittsburgh. After spending some time there, they moved to Atlanta and opened a grocery store. He talks about helping run the store and how he met Alice and convinced her to marry him.

Keywords

Sherr, Alice

Sherr, Saul

Darmstadt

Frankfurt

Egelsbach

Kristalnacht

Dachau

Concentration Camp

Kindertransport

Refugee

Childrens home

Switzerland

France

Heiden

Ruth Westheimer

Immigration

New York City

Pittsburgh

Atlanta

Druid Hills

Hoke Smith

Distributed Education

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Welfare Fund

Cohen, Judy

Hirsch, Jacquie

Hirsch, Benjamin

Fink, Gertrude

Alexander family

Shearith Isreal

Ahavath Achim

New World Club

Chusziachin

Szczuczyn

Poland

Silverboard, Evelyn

Iteld, Julius

Landsleit

Grady High School

Family estrangement

Muscular Distrophy

Mental Illness Advocacy

National Association for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression

Morningside Day Out

Cliff Valley School

Kosher

Marriage

Rationing

Holocaust

World War II

Refugee

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