Hello Reddit!

My name is Hanna Hamburger and I am 95 years old. I was born in Eppingen, Germany in 1922. At the age of 14 I was removed from school by the Nazis. I experienced anti-semitism first hand. Right before Kristallnacht, customers of my fathers warned him to leave Germany right away. At the age of 16 I left Germany with my mother and father and arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey the 5th of November, 1938. In 1993 I moved to Nashville, TN to be closer to my family. I have 2 of my grandchildren helping me with this AMA.

Ask Me Anything!

Proof: http://imgur.com/a/0ae1Z

Edit: Thank you for your questions! Hanna goes to bed pretty early so she's going to log off, but her grandchildren will continue to answer some questions!

Edit 2: And we're back! We will try to answer as many questions as possible, so long as our Oma is up for it.

Comments: 1983 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

Zbignich2565 karma

My grandmother is a few years older than you. She too escaped as a a young girl. She spoke German with my grandfather. After he died, she refused to speak German. Do you still speak German?

Youngladyof954585 karma

Oh yea, I speak German all the time with my friends and family that speak the language. I still have many friends over in Germany and we talk on the phone sometimes.

However, I didn't teach my children to speak German because in the late 1940s and 1950s, it was looked down upon to speak the language publicly. Although I spoke German to my husband at home, I didn't want to teach it to my children because we were Americans - not Germans.

whenItFits2088 karma

What is something you know now that you wish you knew growing up?

Youngladyof953443 karma

More English, haha.

jamboreeee1083 karma

What technological advancement dazzled you the most in your 95 year life?

P.S:pardon my grammer not a native speaker

Youngladyof951785 karma

The jet engine revolutionized transportation. Same for the helicopter.

The television also had a huge impact. The radio was also very impressive, even though it had already been invented at the time I was born. Interesting story...during the 1930s, my family owned a radio but as soon as WWII broke out, we were required to give it up. We gave the radio to our super and got it back after the war was over.

balmergrl1076 karma

What was your life like when you first came to USA? What about America surprised you? Were your community and the kids here welcoming to you?

Youngladyof951648 karma

Hard. Because each of us came with $100. And I started working as a nanny.

The big buildings. The many people. At the time I left, the town I was from had 3500 people. (She moved to NYC)

Yeah, we had a German congregation (synagogue). And then the people moved and we went to an american congregation. The neighborhood I moved to was poor, but most of them were welcoming.

balmergrl336 karma

Thank you for sharing your story with the community here, it helps to stay connected with our recent history.

After all these years, do you still marvel at the luck of your family's timing?

My step dad survived the war in France and came here as a teenager, his mom (spoke English and was put to work) married an American soldier (real dad died in Dachau) - so he was in a more middle class neighborhood, where he had a tough time fitting in, on top of ptsd from his war experiences and hiding in an orphanage. They were supposed to leave before the occupation, just didn't make it happen in time - like your other family. What a horror show.

Youngladyof95527 karma

(This is her granddaughter) There was a lot of luck involved, especially because they were warned to leave and had a lot of friends in their town.

We don't know what happened to a lot of the family. Some went to Switzerland, some to England, and many died. But we don't have a lot of family because we don't know what happened to them.

conradwinkles990 karma

What did you feel when the news of the concentration camps came out? Was it a sigh of relief that you got out of there, sheer guilt?

Youngladyof951588 karma

No, it was a sigh of relief that we got out. My father tried to get his brothers and sisters out to America. One brother was single and one owned a factory, but by the time they were ready to leave, it was too late.

We tried to give as much as we could at the time to help and to release jews.

burgerboy5753963 karma

was it difficult adjusting to life in the united states after you emigrated?

Youngladyof952010 karma

Well for me being 16 it took a while to adjust myself. I was scared to go on the phone because of my accent. My clothes were German. Although my shoes were stylish at the time because they were rubber boots. Everyone wanted to know where they came from.

Fernlund856 karma

Is there a fond memory before you moved to the US back in Germany? And what was it?

Youngladyof952095 karma

Yeah, I had a very nice childhood. In the summer time, we had a garden next to the wood warehouse (hardware store), so my father used to say "get me a tomato and a beer." So I had the bierstein and and I would go to the tavern and got the beer. And on the way back I would drink the foam off the beer.

thediverswife833 karma

Not a question, just sending you lots of love ❤️

Youngladyof95764 karma

Thank you very much for your thoughts! And wish you all the luck in the world.

dick-nipples831 karma

How does it feel to have the best name ever?

Youngladyof951384 karma

I'm perfectly happy with it. People used to make fun of it.

My maiden name is Marx. When we arrived at the american embassy to apply for our visa people asked if we were related to Carl Marx. My father said "No, but I wish I was related to Groucho Marx."

Youngladyof951387 karma

By the way, how does it feel that YOU have the best name ever? ;-)

robm111387 karma

I like to imagine that the grandmother actually responded this, but I know it's the granddaughter.

Youngladyof95661 karma

That was the grandson, the granddaughter is just happy to see a reddit celebrity in action.

Woodie626707 karma

What's the greatest thing you've ever eaten?

Edit: a word

Youngladyof951366 karma

My favorite was always wurst. (german sausage). Since my grandfather had a butcher shop he always had fresh sausage/wurst for me.

coleman63646 karma

Do you ever wonder what life would have been like if WW2 never happened, and you had stayed in Germany?

Youngladyof951652 karma

I would want to be a doctor today if I was alive. But, you know, I couldn't finish high school. I was 50 when I got my high school diploma.

zidanetribal603 karma

Have you been able to watch any movies involving the Holocaust? Which one would you say is the most accurate?

Youngladyof951454 karma

I have seen a few movies. The movies never show the true horrors of the holocaust.

StuHardy587 karma

Hi Hanna - have you (or any of your children/grandchildren,) ever visited Auschwitz or other former concentration camps as part of a tour? If so, how did you feel to experience being there after such a tragedy?

Youngladyof95964 karma

Hi, I'm her granddaughter, and I have visited Poland and many of the concentration camps. It was an awe-inspiring tour, and very humbling. I know most of my and Hanna's family were killed in those camps or elsewhere.

dickfromaccounting559 karma

what do you see as life's greatest joy?

Youngladyof951144 karma

My children and grandchildren make me happiest.

jest3rxD233 karma

How many children and grandchildren do you have?

Youngladyof95483 karma

2 Children, 4 grandchildren

MarioPol517 karma

How much did life change after Hitler rose to power?

Youngladyof951152 karma

My school friends couldn't sit with me in the train cars. They weren't supposed to talk to me. I was more isolated. I had to go to a different school. I had to go to elementary school when I should have been to high school. I also went to sewing school, nuns took us in when no one else would.

skywalker1738485 karma

Did a lot of people around you oppose Hitler (in private)?

Youngladyof951020 karma

"Some of them, but they were afraid to say something."

trollface66391 karma

What music do you like?

Youngladyof95618 karma

Classical, Opera's, symphonies.

CommieRevolutionary330 karma

I assume the political situation of Germany back then was already indicative that Hitler would rise to power. Why do you think so many jews stayed in Germany even though it was obvious that an anti-semite was going to rule the country?

Youngladyof95779 karma

"Their business, their money, they had nobody to give them a visa. People thought it wouldn't happen"


Was is just your mother and father? What about other family?

Youngladyof95422 karma

At the time, it was only me and my parents that came over. Some aunts and uncles came over to the US in 1943. Prior to that, they were interned in Cuba because the US would only allow so many ships to dock and immigrants to come in.

My grandfather, on the other hand, was killed in Holland by the Nazis. He was thrown down a flight of stairs.

Crypriot_176 karma

What she gets up again, could you ask her how did she feel when Germany got reunited as one in 1990?

Youngladyof957 karma

I had no feelings about the reunification. I'm an American, so it didn't bother me.

TooShiftyForYou170 karma

Fantastic username! What daily routines or tips do you credit for your impressive longevity?

Youngladyof95320 karma

Sorry, no secret tips. I just live my life from one day to the next

practeerts104 karma

What do you think of the current resurgence of white nationalism and anti-Semitism in the U.S.?

As an alternate question, what do you think of an education system that seemingly failed to provide a balanced history of Nazi Germany to the the "alt-right" demographic?

Youngladyof95256 karma

I'm not crazy about it. There's not much you can do about them. My mother used to say "all you need is a match and the anti-semitism will blow up here too."

InTupacWeTrust92 karma

What do you think of groups like antifa?

PS: Hope you enjoy the Solar eclipse!

Youngladyof95215 karma

On the far left is communism, I never was politically active in any kind of political goings ons.

Youngladyof95135 karma

Oh, and as for the eclipse, we are watching it tomorrow!

The-Donkey-Puncher53 karma

Careful... don't go blind!

Youngladyof95348 karma

Too late, I'm already legally blind!