Respondent
Oppenheimer, Asher
Interview Date
December 9, 1987
Abstract
Year of birth, 1922;
[T1S1] birth in Germany; leaves Germany for Palestine at age fourteen; joins Haganah at age sixteen; 1942, joins British Army and is promoted to sergeant; service with British Army until 1945; joins clandestine army in Tel Aviv as ordinance and transportation specialist; review of German high school experience; intelligence officer in the Six Day War; parents' affiliation with reformed temple in Germany;
[T1S2] his Uncle Baer, a founder of Rodef Shalom Temple in Pittsburgh; discussion of his work for Jewish Agency to get Jews out of Austria and Italy after WWII;
[T2S3] tracing family history to Germany, mid-1800's; family had a farm and winery; father's family immigrates to the United States around 1850; founds Kaufmann and Baer department store of Pittsburgh; recollections of anti-Semitism in German schools from 1933-36; receiving athletic awards inscribed with his name and a Swastika;
[T2S4] participation with Jewish sports clubs; destruction of Jewish club house by Hitler Youth; recalls seeing Hitler; stories of atrocities against Jews; left Germany to escape arrest; department stores in Karlsruhe, his birthplace in Germany; story surrounding his Uncle Max Weil, one of the richest men in Germany;
[T3S5] review of family names and relationships; father's anti-Zionism; failure of his business in 1937; mother's death; he and other youths go to Palestine; adult Jews refused to go there; a follower of David Ben Gurion after Israel won its independence; the trip to Palestine by way of Italy; living with aunt and uncle in Palestine; Palestinian unrest in 1936;
[T3S6] attending Max Fein Technical School in Tel Aviv; employment in citrus exporting business in 1939; conditions in Palestine; joins Haganah in 1939; not allowed to carry weapons;
[T4S7] recollections of arriving in Haifa, Israel; his awe at being a part of Haganah; his family's efforts to get other relatives out of Germany; 1941, training to be a squad commander; confiscation of weapons by British;
[T4S8] 1942, recruited for British Army support units; travels around Middle East, North Africa, Sicily and Italy in a transportation unit of the British Army; training in Tel Aviv; taken to Egypt to build roads; battle between British artillery and German troops; his injury and hospitalization; becomes interpreter for British Army in the Army Air Photo Interrogation Unit; achieves rank of sergeant;
[T5S9] marriage; data on wife and children; leaves Israeli Army in 1970; moves to Pittsburgh in 1971; son's adjustment to the United States, his present status and expectations; returning to Israel to do tasks for government intelligence; 1983, takes a job with the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) Council Care Program; discussion of Council Care, fees and sociology; comments on Jewish community in Pittsburgh; locations of Council Care facilities; clientele stories and comments; comparison of Council Care to other day care providers; 1943, story of battle between British "Malta" Brigade in Italy; Jews involved in battle; interrogation of Germans and Italians;
[T5S10] contracts malaria; after recovery, returns to Naples to interrogate prisoners; meets American Jewish soldiers; war stories unrelated to battle; return to Jewish unit near Venice, 1944; transporting Jews from Austria to Italian ports; interrogating Egyptians during the Six Day War; reunion with childhood friends from Karlsruhe in Germany;
[T6S11] 1948, Israel's War of Independence; his service with the infantry during this war; details of a raid into Arab territory; a major in Army intelligence during the Six Day War in 1967; his duties as a major;
[T6S12] the Yom Kippur War of 1973; interrogation of Egyptian officers after the Six Day War; works with the United States in exchange of Russian information at that time; retirement from army in 1970 at age forty-nine; ties with Israeli government after retirement;
[T7S13] further discussion of Council Care Program of the NCJW; discussion of attitudes toward aging in America; stages of aging; expense of Council Care; directors of Council Care; the function of Council Care; comments on United Jewish Federation Committee on aging; functions of Jewish Community Center and United Jewish Federation in the elderly community; philosophies of aging; the need for government involvement in elderly care
Subjects
Aging; Antisemitism; Germany; Haganah (Organization); Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945; Israel; National Council of Jewish Women
Birth Date
1922
City
Karlsruhe
Country
Germany
Emigration Date
1970
Profession
NCJW; Israeli Army; British Army
Work
Squirrel Hill
Occupation (father)
Farm, Winery, Cattle
Length (hours)
7
Interviewer1
Braun, Howard
Interviewer2
Karev, Aviva
Indexer
Braun and Karev
Collateral Materials
Box 104 FF 46
Identifier
ais196440.333
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh