He would wait in Poland in the city of Cracow, in the house of Joseph Greenberg, a Jewish cousin, until the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service sorted out a few "complexities" in his mother's application to immigrate. Little did he know that it would be a two-year battle with the U.S. bureaucracy. It seemed that America didn't want Germans migrating to the United States. They could see how volatile things were in Europe, and after a rally of 22,000 German‑American Nazis took place at Madison Square Garden, New York, they virtually closed the doors.
Joseph Greenberg was a cheerful man. He had changed his name after his relatives had been arrested, and looked a little out of place in Cracow because made himself look like a Texan. He was a large man with a large belly, standing a large six foot two inches, and he had a large moustache, reminding Samuel of the long horns on longhorn cattle. He didn’t wear a large ten-gallon hat, but he insisted on wearing his well-worn boots that many years earlier he had brought with him when he emigrated. Joe didn’t had never cared what people thought of him when he was a child. Samuel remembered him when he lived in Texas. He was always entertaining, either with bizarre hats with feathers sticking out of them, or telling jokes and laughing. He had endless stream of jokes. He would burst into a room and say,
"I have six eyes, three ears, and two noses . . . what am I?" When people couldn't guess, he would say . . . really ugly!" and run out of the room. He still delighted in making people laugh although his concerns about the Nazis weighed heavy on him.
Samuel also was deeply concerned in Poland as he carefully followed what was happening back in Germany. Early in 1938, Hitler promoted himself to military chief giving him unprecedented power. He named himself the "Supreme Commander of the German armed forces," and seized direct control of foreign policy. In March of 1938, he returned to Austria, his native homeland and proclaimed "Anschluss." This was a union between itself and Germany. Any opponents were immediately arrested. Hitler held a referendum and concluded that 99 % of the Austrian people approved of the confederation.
Joseph told him that on April 26th, 1938 Hitler had passed a law saying that all Jews had to declare their wealth. This came with the threat that those who failed to comply could receive a hard-labor prison sentence of ten years, as well as having all their possessions seized by the Nazis. Joseph said that his German relatives were terrified and immediately complied. They had to list everything—from how much they had in savings, the banks in which the savings were kept, describing jewelry they owned with its estimated value. They even had to give details of his insurance policies. They listed everything of value. He said that every one of his relatives had been arrested and put in Concentration Camps. Samuel slowly put both of his hands onto his forehead, closed his eyes, and signed deeply, “That’s why! That’s why the Gestapo took away that family of four from church that day. They knew who they were looking for because of that detailed disclosure. They knew exactly how much they were worth because, like millions of other Jews, they had revealed it in detail a few weeks earlier. I think that those who filled out those forms were filling out their own death warrant!”
In October of the same year, Hitler’s troops marched into Sudetenland, a border area of Czechoslovakia. Large crowds lined the streets and waved Nazi banners and threw flowers into the street as they greeted the Fuhrer.
To be continued.