Interview with Peter Schrag

Fleeing Germany

Barbara Milman: "Approximately 525,000 Jews lived in Germany when Hitler became that country's Chancellor in 1933. As soon as the Nazis assumed power, anti-Semitic policies were established, and Jews were increasingly barred from schools, businesses, and professions. Jewish businesses were boycotted and Jews were subjected to mistreatment and arbitrary arrest....

"With the implementation of the Nuremberg Laws, Jews with means began to leave their homeland. Peter Schrag and his family were among those Jews who fled Germany in 1935. By 1939, the year in which the war began, over 280,000 German Jews had managed to escape or emigrate to neighboring countries such as Luxembourg, which borders Germany on the west, and Belgium, which borders on Luxembourg....

"Peter Schrag and his family were among those Jews who escaped first to Vichy France, and then to Spain and to Portugal. From Lisbon, the Schrag family came to the United States, arriving in New York City In June 1941."

Escape is the remembrance of Peter Schrag as his family evaded capture by German patrols as the traveled across Europe. They slept in haylofts, hid in cellars, jumped off trains, and walked though dark fields to wall through a hole in a fence towards freedom.

Peter Schrag: "After days of bombs and gunfire, there was a sudden silence. We did not know who had won. Then the cellar door was opened by soldiers yelling, 'Alle Raus.'"