Back in the U.S. the 1929 stock market crash had depressed everything. As what was being called “the Great Depression” deepened its hold, unemployment increased to an all‑time high. It was common to see long lines of hungry people waiting for food outside rescue missions throughout the country.
The Adamson's farming market had ground to a sudden halt. That was one of the reasons Samuel Adamson decided to leave his beloved farm in the trustworthy hands of a friend and move his small family to Germany. He had just enough money to pay for the long boat trip and set up some sort of business. His mother was a German Jew living in Waldenberg and even though many spoke of Hitler with a new sense of excitement, as every day past, he felt very uneasy about the policies of the Nazi party, especially with his mother being a Jew.
After the death of Samuel’s father, his mother carried on the family clothing store and over the years she had built up a number of regular customers. Until recently she was doing reasonably well, even without her husband's help. But the Nazis had posted billboards all over the country saying, "German people, defend yourselves! Do not buy from Jews!" They had publicly burned books that were "Un‑German," and he had also read that the school curriculum was being revised to teach "race science." Wilhelm Frick, the Nazi Interior Minister stated, "The schools must constantly emphasize that the infiltration of the German people with alien blood, especially Jewish and Negro, must be prevented."
The small Adamson family consisting of Samuel, his wife Esther, son Jerry and daughter Lilian, left New York on a cold day in January of 1934. Lilian was two years older than Jerry and had been named after the popular actress Lilian Gish. When her parents were first married they saw the star in Victor Seastrom's MGM film, "The Wind," and she left such an impression on them they decided to name their first girl after her.
Jerry was named "Jeremiah," after the biblical prophet; at the insistence of his Jewish grandmother. He hated the name and was pleased that his friends called him Jerry. But as he grew older he came to prefer the seasoned sound of "Jeremiah." However, even though he always introduced himself as such, people insisted on reverting to "Jerry."
After a long trip across the Atlantic on the French liner Normandie, the family arrived on the shores of France, then traveled by train to Waldenberg in Germany.
There was a climate of fear in the city. People hurried about and kept to themselves. Nazis were everywhere, with their neatly fitting uniforms and their rigid manner, forever checking documentation.
To be continued.