Marian Goldstine and Susan Goldstine

Recorded August 7, 2010 Archived August 7, 2010 39:12 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX006997


Marian Goldstine, 67, talks to her daughter Susan Goldstine, 38, about her grandparents, parents, and extended family, who fled Germany during the Holocaust.

Subject Log / Time Code

MG’s parents fled Germany after Kristallnacht. SS guards raided their homes (and MG’s grandparents). When MG’s father retaliated, he was forced to stand naked in public for 24 hours. MG’s parents were able to flee for Switzerland, where they stayed for two years before being granted entry into the United States.
MG and SG remember other extended family members.
MG and SG go through some of the pictures of family members that MG has brought to this StoryCorps recording.
MG shares stories of extended family members who moved to San Francisco after arriving in New York.
MG named SG “Susan” after a cousin of hers who died at young age.
SG cooks some of MG’s mother recipes as a tribute to her, despite knowing that MG’s parents were difficult to deal with.
MG reflects on how her parents’ and grandparents’ suffering has shaped her. “I had to learn it was their pain, not my pain.”-MG


  • Marian Goldstine
  • Susan Goldstine


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00:04 My name is Susan Goldstein. I'm 38 years old today is August 7th 2010. We're in Bellefonte Pennsylvania. And I'm here interviewing my mother. My name is Marion Rosenthal Goldstein and I'm 67. And today is August 7th 2010 in Bellefonte, PA, and I am talking about family history with my daughter Susan.

00:29 So I just wanted to start off your parents were Margaret and Leo Rosenthal. That's correct. And I knew them is Oman Opa will probably refer to them. What did you call them when you were growing up, Mommy and Daddy I think.

00:48 Although I called my own grandmother Rosalie. Rosenthal said she was the one who votes for the person in your life. Who was the only German is that right? She spoke only German and she was blind she had glaucoma in Germany and the Nazis wouldn't let her seek seek any kind of care to stop the butt, from ruining your eyesight. Right? And of course the family was originally from Germany that is where your mother and father were born. Yes. Could you talk a little bit about how they came to leave Germany? They didn't want to leave Germany and my father and mother love Germany. My father was basically the district attorney for a small town and kissing in in Franconia Bavaria Germany, and my mother was studying to be a dental surgeon. She had finished everything.

01:48 And was practicing with her father Max Frank. My mother's maiden name was Frank great of Frank. And this was in 1939. They were in kissing in which is a suburb of which Berg Germany and

02:10 It was crystal night. And this is going to be kind of hard but I've heard this story before I mean you remember I told you everything I don't know. If you remember that when I was in junior high for some reason part of some assignment. I ended up asking them to tell me the story and I was a little bit conflicted about that because I was sort of concerned that I was having them relive it a little bit Yeah, but I'll let you know if it's too much my grandmother and grandfather were in my parents apartment and kissing in what the SS did is they got SS and German officers from a different town not from the same town where they rated homes. They broke into Jewish homes. They destroyed Jewish Merchants, they destroyed the synagogue and they broke into my parents house.

03:11 And the first thing they did was kill the dog just behead the dog their pet. I'm sorry and I didn't I didn't know that my father took a gun away from an SS officer and somebody else knocked him out. He was made to stand nude for 24 hours the SS man wanted to kill him because he humiliated him a jewelry humiliated this German. My father was the district attorney of the area and the local police did not let the man do that and then at the same time my mother went

03:56 To all the people that you could get help from her professor was actually a high Nazi and they say she said she didn't sleep for two weeks, but she got passes to get them out and there's another story. I don't know if you've ever heard. My mother was working in a clinic a dental clinic and she operated on a young man German young man, and he was so grateful and you know, I'm always kind of pretty it came back to thank her and he was wearing a Nazi uniform.

04:39 So what did he know who she was Jewish? No.

04:45 Obviously not so they left Germany and went to Switzerland.

04:52 And they were in Switzerland for about 2 years trying to get the United States and the people in Switzerland weren't

05:06 That the American Embassy really try to keep people out and it was difficult. Each person had to have $2,000 in America to come in and now your grandfather opalwood has it had a doctor who was a doctor of law and the Nazis didn't let not my my mother had a doctor's medicine, but the Nazis wouldn't let her have it basically years later when my parents were in the United States many years later 40 years later, my father sold a computer program to Siemens or IG farben. I don't remember which for this was in the 1960s. So it was like $150,000 and he turned to me when he was saying that see I was worth it.

05:57 I was worth being let in that's so sounds like Copa. Yes. Yes. Yes and so they were in Switzerland your aunt Tia. This is Taylor Rosenthal worth lambertson. It actually in Germany was a very timer she used to sneak. She used to sneak behind line from Switzerland to Germany to bring people out without a passport. You know, she was like a Zsa Zsa Gabor. She was amazing. But yeah, this is so this was this was Leo sister Leo's sister. Yeah.

06:39 And my aunt who was my auntie Mame the complete that generation your father. He had a sister and a brother. The other was the one where there was a rift and they agree with Albert Albert Rosenthal. I never met him in my in my knowledgeable life. I was born in New York City in 1943 and he was there and there was a rift because my father was the baby and I

07:18 Uncle Albert was the oldest and when my father was born it was if the king is dead long live the king right lots of dysfunction.

07:29 Can't help it. Yeah what you got to do and and and and and Oma was an only child, was an only child of an only child.

07:39 Emma's dad. Oh my Oppa that I never met Max Frank was the head of the woodsburgh hospital clinic with around teeth and oral surgery are there's a distinction in Germany between a dentist and a medical doctor. So a medical doctor in German. Is it Saint hearts and the person who drills and does the technical part is a dentist. So Arts is the word the German word for 4.

08:21 So yes.

08:26 Is another interesting story around that that is the rest of the family, you know, I moved to San Francisco and my mother did not let my father do that.

08:36 Not right off of that right? Because I of course they they eventually moved to San Francisco. There was resistance because the rest of the family know because the my aunt married Louis that timer who was extremely rich on their portraits of my at pictures of her on camels in Egypt in the 1920s and 30s, and my mother said to my father if you go there you'll end up just running a liquor store.

09:11 For Louie and so my father who always loved math and didn't really want to be a lawyer.

09:20 Went worked and went to ccny. I think that is not his engineering degree.

09:30 Interesting. I mean, I remember hearing that part of the reason that he didn't go back to studying law was that since English was a second language. It was too difficult, but I hadn't true true, but I hadn't realized I feel so was that that Keen on being a lawyer and he was supposed to get his law degree. So he could be the legal counsel to this huge liquor distillery in emmendingen Germany. That was the largest producer of Cherry Brandy Kearse Buster Cherry water and this was connected solo pause family had a winery was this connected to that? No, absolutely not. I'm not know the winery was separate. Although in the world is very small right next to my parents Winery the from Alfred from and family was and he ended up running Christian brothers and

10:28 Paul Masson for the bronfman's for Seagram's so they were big do dads in San Francisco to you. You had brought some pictures here that you wanted to show me and write a maybe if you just want to talk about a couple of them and then we can do our best to kind of describe what I'm looking at you since you know, most of almost my mother's family died because of the Nazi stuff. You don't know as much I don't know and so what you're seeing is my mother and my grandparents and my father's assistant. Just walking leisurely in a park in Germany.

11:13 Go to dressed to the nines. Yeah, they are. They are your your your mother is in the white coat there the lighter code black and white. So, yeah, it's hard to tell and so this is your mother and let me look.

11:30 Yes, that's my mother. This is also at Saint artzt. He actually took over my grandfather's practice and that's my oma Maita Frank. Eisaman.

11:49 So just also Adam and I think I know this would all of the grandparents you only met one isn't that right? Right a new one. That was your father's mother. Yes Sally. Yeah.

12:08 Okay, so so that's that I think was important for you to know more little bit about my mother and her family cuz again, they are there but I brought a few other things first of all, you know, I grew up in the forties and fifties and this is he's in my sixth or seventh birthday party and whole extended family the people who survived are in there and if you point to someone else I know who they are. I'll tell you or I'll tell you just generally in the picture here. There are about seven adults in the back and wow a lot of kids. These are these are all family. No not all of them are family, but I'd say 75% and we're the adults are standing my father made a capital T otter which is the Punch and Judy show for me. He made it all himself. He took and I think that's where I got my creativity. Basically, that's what you used to actually make.

13:08 Mache puppets, right and I used to do back back when the the central Pennsylvania Festival the Arts used to have local people. I remember you sold some of the fee Adams and when you were a child three-year-old in in Chicago actually did do puppet shows with a friend that's cute. I was just noticing the photograph has little emboss stamp on it that says BK Miller San Francisco. This is a Miller was my father's friend at work. But he's the reason my house has also two interesting things in it. He had a banjo he had a spinning wheel. It was just a delightful child and he was a photographer. He actually did all the photographs for the Marin County a guide dogs for the Blind and they all the time with German Shepherds.

13:57 And this is the 1957 just 1950. Yeah, and that was probably the last time we were in it was a basement apartment house owned by my uncle. Wow.

14:12 Yeah, lyric there about I don't know 15 kids around the table.

14:16 Yeah, so they're the twins Jeffrey you met Jeffrey and Rodger Kauffman. You've met them while the twins are there. Here's an interesting thing and all the family pictures I hide so there I am. It's my birthday and I'm behind the Jimmy. Okay. Now look at this. This is the 75th birthday of oma and look at me down front and your head is down. I'm hiding but but I can but I can't see your face in this one. And this is this remind me about how similar we look as kids. There was a thing where I used to always look at your your, you know, childhood pictures and think they were me that's right.

15:02 And you know in so many ways. We are the same and Soma and we're also very different. It's kind of exciting.

15:09 You are your own person and I want to see this is also sign Miller. Yeah, so he really did do all the things. He really did all the stuff he does. I think my father was actually when his wife died and my mother would take care of them. This is when they were very old. He stopped it. He didn't let my mother visit him and and Ken Miller was a lot older than my parents so

15:36 Yeah, well that also sounds like oppa have been in to control just a bit. That's a family only thing that has been passed down. Yeah. So yeah, I guess the the cousins that we have the most contact with now or tears grandchildren, right and Michael. Is there Michael a house opa Michael Michael house is Pez first grandson first grandson, and if you look in the back, you'll see he's being held by Uncle Louie.

16:18 I must have seen pictures of Uncle Louie before but it hadn't really registered is very tall. He's very tall very big and he was a captain in the German Army in World War 1. Well I saw pictures that he took when he was in France. I think that album that that album isn't there anymore. I wish of all the things that's the one thing. I wish I had there was a picture of of skulls on the road and it was a whole album on World War 1

16:53 Also that we have I have a picture of a wounded World War II soldiers in the hospital where your opalia rosenthal's uncle was the one thing is they were proud Germans. They love Germany. They left Germany. Remember to their names the family friends who overused always have the argument with because he used to talk about how wonderful the Germans were in Black lyrics to say. Are you crazy? Right? Right. It's it's interesting how people react to you are, you know, my parents went back to Germany, but and he kept their their people in Germany that really took care of them to yeah. That's the reason they could Escape. So yeah. I also if I remember correctly, I think Eric Story, I mean he got out later and it was more difficult for him, wasn't it?

17:53 Because he took care of Yvonne if you look at the seawall at the Bon worth is in the family picture here. She's the older child. So Yvonne worth. This is a letter in France, right? I remember I stayed with him. This is this is from his family. This is Taz the family family by Blood. Yvonne worth was the first woman to go to Harvard Business School in the 60s.

18:26 She was not let in Stamford. Although she was straight a day all the way because there was a Jewish quota at the time and you know what the guy telling the story how I thought she was a snob. No, I don't think you did. Well, I thought you was a snob and you know, we were it was about seven years older than I was and you know and my parents always said Phi Beta Kappa this and all of that and she didn't talk to people. So when I was 21, I called her up, and I said Yvonne I'm your cousin and we don't know each other. Let's get together. So she was something like 28

19:09 Yep, she wouldn't go anywhere. If I didn't go with her, even her mother died even to to the mausoleum where all of our family is actually on my side of the family. Yeah, I guess I've been there I think yeah, I think you have to

19:29 So so what what are some of these other things you also brought some non photographic things as well? I brought I brought things because you know, the way you play is differently and if you look here, what do you see off a little it's not even a safe. It's you know, not bigger than a know where you put card three-by-five cards in a little metal box. It looks lit. Yeah, it looks like something that you could stack index cards in. Well, if you look inside their lots and lots of rings and their gold well actually Mike my grandmother on my father's side, other side rather. She did the business for his his dental and surgical practice and she was not very good and lots of people couldn't pay so they gave rings

20:21 But for me, this was a toy box and they there were a bunch of keys. I did not bring the keys in. So I always know what key. It was to open the box and I spend hours playing with the Rings when when you were how old she is probably from age for on. You know, I know I know wherever anything on my parents hit anything.

20:48 Really? Well, that's that's what kids are for right right bring out where the stuff is hide actually died in 1999 and I thought I'd want to give you this is his wedding ring. This is what he wore, you know as a wedding ring. This is a gold band and it has you know, what the stone is. I don't know what the stone is. I have no idea if it's worth anything or not worth anything. It's interesting. It's it's well, I mean, I guess it makes sense for a man's ring. It's fairly flat rice smooth.

21:22 And where is it when he wore that symbol that he was married. My mother always wore ring, but

21:31 He went good where that your mother was were ring. But what my dad didn't. Was it wasn't, you know, I grew up where everybody brings but he didn't always everybody. So you mean men wearing Rings was more common is that

21:49 One thing just popped in mind and that is about adjusting to American life. I don't know if I ever told you about the shoes. I don't think so when he worked for the Standard Oil Company of California for maybe 40 years and

22:08 Xxi work there. Somebody came up to him and said, you know, I know this man comes from Germany and you won't believe what he does and my father said what and the man said she polished his wife polishes his shoes and then he looked at my father and he said do you do that?

22:28 And my father said no and he came home and told my mother. He should never to polish your shoes again.

22:37 And that's true. He polishes shoes from that point on.

22:45 That's that's actually. You know of the German Jewish people that went to San Francisco. Some never changed my pediatrician. Dr. Harris who had scars on his cheek from fencing and I fighting for Trinity your father used to do too but he never got a scar only once when he won again to Drew fighting a German as he was walking away. Somebody took a saber and hit him in the back of the head and then Germany you actually wanted to cut the cheek. It was right a badge of honor to have these scars so doctor hurts for me. I was chased illness away cuz that was a day of you know, why the doctor this issue I tell you about the dog know my pet dog. Tammy was in bed with me sure for the other day.

23:45 The part of some kind of Shepherd. So tell me was in bed and I was sick and he came in and my father said to Dr. Haratz adoption being done with it's not good for Marion for the dog out to be in bed. I am doctor said oh, yes. Yes, you're right about that. We have to worry about whether the dog catches what?

24:07 But he he never changed and he actually died in Germany. He lived as if you were a German in San Francisco where I saw my parent's doing major amount of change in experiment. Yes, when you know, the major dinner is at 2 in the afternoon, and dr. Hertz would always do that. He would always eat in a certain Manner and be in a certain manner that kept the German style my parents on the other hand would be fascinated with football and would learn something as simple as having friends. That weren't German one of my favorite stories around that one of my favorite stories around that is really when we went to dinner to BK Miller to Ken Ken in Iona Iona was my mother's best friend.

25:07 And they were sort of they came from Philadelphia. That's where I learned how to make sticky buns. But any rate the first dinner, they had Christmas dinner at Cannon. Iona's my in Germany. When you go to somebody's house for dinner. They always ask you if you want seconds and then you have to say no.

25:30 And then they ask you again and you say no and then maybe the third or fourth time you say? Yes. So Ken Miller who was a Quaker.

25:41 And also was the head of a school in Philadelphia Quaker School said would you like seconds and my father said no, and he never was offered to someone.

25:55 So we caught on after that we caught on after that and the other part of it is Ken and Ayana would have cocktails and in Germany its wine wine wine hard Liquors not a big thing in Germany at that time. So my parents learn to make cocktails, they had dinner parties and you know, I still have a ticket of them going to the Cal Stanford football game with Susan house in 1948 and someone after for my name Susan you're named after her she was born in Germany. She really had a tough and so she went through the immigration.

26:50 And she made some poor choices in her life and her husband's actually at what you don't know is she was married for about 16 months to a soldier. So I didn't know she actually made it to Berkeley but actually like me she flunked out but and then she married Harold house had three children Michael Terry and Debbie and

27:21 Eventually, she always had a rough relationship with. The Taya because Tad did not want to be called Mom and Te'o was really the San Francisco Giants. There's no other way of putting it by the way also just to set the record straight for posterity. You did subsequently later in life go back and get your degree have a masters of social work. Yes, and I was Phi Beta Kappa Penn State.

27:52 So yes, I I did my cousin never was given the chance because she died of blood poisoning and when she was 34 and when you were born

28:06 Calling you Susan was sort of a way of connection. I don't know how to explain it still makes me cry. She was a wonderful person. She was a wonderful person and I could go to her anytime. I used to take the bus in San Francisco to her when I felt like it cuz she always listen. How old were you when she died. I was 16. I was just becoming the age that we could really have been friends somehow. I thought you were a little older. I didn't realize it was that know I can remember his like the Kennedy thing. I can remember where I was and

28:43 I am where were you I was forced to go to the neighbors thing, which I hated.

28:52 You know, sometimes they're good sometimes so I was not I didn't like to join things. But in any case that's where I was and it was you just didn't want to believe it. I think that was one of

29:14 You know when somebody dies before their time and I felt like I was getting old enough to be more of a friend and she was actually giving me clothes. She was beautiful just beautiful.

29:28 And beautiful inside and outside

29:31 That was hard. I believe it. So speaking of some of the more difficult things. I know you brought along these postcards from from your grandmother. Are you are you okay talking cuz I'm okay talking about it because I actually haven't seen before this is actually you could starts will actually the post guards were written in Auschwitz. Amazing. How did they get out? That's something I've always stronger Swedish Red Cross and they're here and in one of the cards my mother actually my grandmother found out I was born

30:10 Oh, wow, and these are 42 43. You were born in 43. Yes. Oh my God. So look at this. So this is maida Frank and this is stop and look at she started interesting science race and start with sort of the Showcase concentration camp at the Nazis used to show off to say no really there. Okay right there. Okay, and it was usually the top of Jewish Society like the Medics like my father was the head of which birds clinic and actually the one from trays and stuff and then after that their hand, I know she died in Auschwitz three months before The Liberation and I have a relative

30:56 Greta it's that's that's Margaret. That's your greatest Margaret and Meta Meta Meta is my grandmother.

31:03 It's really you know, it's amazing. These aren't these are little paper cards and the whole time because of my dad he say is everything and yeah, this is all from traces that I guess an hour since he died. This is something new to me. I didn't realize that I thought you was enough. It's I know she died enough. It's so you thought that they were supposed to come through there is well, right. It says good the Berg Sweden is where it came through the Swedish waiting for us, right? And of course, it's Teresa stop because that's where they were trying to look good. Right? That's what I was that what I was wondering about that does make sense.

31:45 Yeah. Wow, this is amazing.

31:49 That's really interesting to see your handwriting to this is very distinctive, you know style of German cry it right right on used to sing that that looks different.

32:00 You know, it's amazing. I don't give enough time to this stuff to realize that as we talk. I'm learning the history as well. Amazing what you know, I have to say to a man. I'm reminded of I'm trying to remember exactly when it was when your parents were still alive. When did they die, by the way, I was trying to my mother died in June of 1999 and my father died in November of 1999 in State College, Pennsylvania. All The Way live there American Life mostly in San Francisco. So I remember shortly before they came here. I think that was when it was when you you mentioned to me that you really wanted to teach me some of Mama's recipes right? I'm really I'm really glad you did that. And by the way, a lot of my coworkers are very glad that you did that as well. I literally I just had a conversation. I was out to dinner with some people and

33:00 One of them mentioned so it must be about time for the plum Tarts. Yes. My mother was a wonderful cook and although I learned by watching because she said only one cook in the kitchen, but during you know, they celebrated Christmas they make Christmas cookies and Crystal and all sorts of wonderful German food. And the biggest Roi for me is knowing that you're doing that. I'm glad it's been it's been a pleasure amazing. They were not easy to get along with not not even not even close to my relationship with them. But I mean, you know, I think we both had this experience we talked about this and it was easier when when we were both younger for me when I was a kid, you know, they're still like all the wonderful grandparents and at some point it became more difficult. It feels really nice to serve connect with her in some way.

33:59 I mean, it's it's kind of a way of honoring her to be able to make these recipes and it was always my favorite. My mother used to hide food for me. And I know where she would would hide it and I'd find it. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes and this is this is It's a fairly elaborate recipe to this is the one where you have to take the almonds and put them through a meat grinder to get a particular texture of the oils come out a little bit and you know, and then you bake it and you let it sit for a week or two so that it kind of ripened right? Yeah, really good stuff. Yes with raspberry jam and you have a sort of lattice top and it's hard and it's yeah, it is hard until it softens and typing that's why the two weeks of storing I waited 2 weeks.

34:56 But in fact, we're going to go home and enjoy special Bluff. Yes, that's so I probably told you a little bit about this but I've had some people recognize the Tuscan Flats. They all seem to know when under the name steps. Can. She really just yet? It's a different. So it's I think the name is a little bit more plum cake it at some point. I looked up for nothing less terrible isn't a whole lot but it is kind of you know, if I remember correctly Eatontown in Germany has their own special ditch me so you can have different special glasses and different sauerbraten.

35:38 You know summer sweet and sour some art.

35:42 This is just been a wonderful experience Susan.

35:49 It's a must be buried at you know, this is a very difficult story that that that you came to tell at the beginning. I am just wondering what what impact has this knowledge of History had on you and then on your identity as usual. I had an absolutely tremendous impact amazingly tremendous and and it's interesting I had to learn this is was there hell not my help and I had to at one point as an adult understand that I could no longer feel their pain and know their suffering because their suffering in life for every one of us. That was really that was the most important thing but it is what made me I never knew my grandparents.

36:49 Never knew a world that was safe.

36:52 My heart goes out to the children of the world the children in Belfast or in Ethiopia Eritrea anywhere Sudan who never know that the world can be safe sometimes but for me going through with my family went through and what I went through and liking myself as a human being means I can't change anything even the horror and that's amazing cuz boy lot of my life. I wanted to change it a lot of my life on what my grandmother just said. I wanted to kill Hitler myself is already dead. I wanted to save people

37:37 I think

37:39 It is it is who I am. There's no getting around that I am a psychotherapist. I do a lot of marriage therapy. I work with a lot of survivors of abuse.

37:53 And that's because of what I learned I think.

38:01 Yeah, I can sympathize mean obviously my experience is very different, but I can sympathize with some of that. I know it's it's always struck me that there is a part of me that always thinks wild things are great now until the next Holocaust. Yes kind of in the back. That's exactly and when is it going to happen if who's going to happen to? Yeah, it's it's it's taking me a while to let go of that but I think for me it used to be why me why Jews until I realized there's idiom in there's the hutus and the Tutsis. There's the Turks and the Armenians I as a juul not being selected out. There is a part of humanity that we can't ignore and what we go for life and we go for not being

38:50 And a person that's evil.

38:53 Thank you so much for for sharing this I'm really happy that we were able to have this conversation. This is the most wonderful thing you've done for me. If I ever thought you didn't love me. I could never say that now. I know this is sometimes hard for you. So thank you. My pleasure. I love you. I love you, too.