Starting Over in Brooklyn

Citizen Soldier

"My father wanted to go back to Europe to fight the Nazis."

"And they came to America in July of 1939. And my father wanted to go back to Europe to fight the Nazis. He wasn’t a citizen yet, so he had to apply for citizenry, and he got the necessary paperwork done, and he enrolled in the Army. And I have a picture of him in his uniform with his parents shortly after they arrived in Brooklyn, New York."

Editor's Note:
Manfred Heinemann and his parents, Solly and Sabine, and his brother, Harry, had already applied for U.S. visas when the Kristallnacht pogrom ravaged the Jewish community of Munich, where they lived. The United States had a system of country-based quotas that allowed for only a certain number of people from Germany to come each year, regardless of their refugee status. However, when Manfred and Solly were arrested on November 10, 1939, and taken to Dachau Concentration Camp, Sabine negotiated with the U.S. consulate in Stuttgardt to assure that their quota numbers were not skipped in favor of other, more well-off applicants. Visas in hand, the Heinemann family was able to escape from Germany and settle in the United States before the start of World War II.