was the youngest son of a family of thirteen. He never knew his father since the
man died of typhoid fever when Albert was three years old. His mother, a young
widow, worked hard to keep her children and stepchildren fed and clothed. She
took over the family store which was located on the first floor of the three
story house in the resort town of Bad Mergentheim where young Albert grew up.
His bedroom was in the attic where he slept on a sack of straw. He was not a
complainer and accepted whatever was given him.
always watched over his sisters and was a good and helpful son to his widowed
mother. There was never much money but there was always enough food to eat.
a year there was a fair in Edelfingen, a nearby town. Merchants would bring
their wares to sell; there was the carousel with its painted ponies which would
go up and down and round and round; stately horses and well fed cows were on
display and there was much fun to be had at the fair grounds. In preparation of
this festivity the Abner children would pick hops (dried ripe flowers used in
the manufacture of beer) for a farmer to earn spending money. The children would
give their earnings to their older brother Siegfried for safe keeping since he
was the oldest son.
his three older sisters and Siegfried walked the four miles to the fair. When
they got there they went their separate ways looking at the many displays of
farm products, animals and good things to eat. There was a stand that had
mountains of chocolate bars piled up. Albert looked around for his brother so
that he could buy one for his hard earned money but Siegfried was nowhere to be
seen. By this time Albert was very hungry and tired. He helped himself to one of
those chocolate bars. The merchant saw him and wanted to be paid. The man
threatened to beat him. Having no money, little Albert ran away as fast as his
legs would carry him. He was so frightened that he never forgot the experience
of that large man running after him shouting “Jew boy, I’m going to
a young man Albert was drafted into the German army where he served as a soldier
for four years during the first World War. There he distinguished himself by
being very brave. He saved the lives of several of his fellow soldiers by his
courage and strength. He was never permitted to be an officer since this was a
promotion that Jewish soldiers were not given. He did receive a medal, the iron
cross, for his bravery.
Droozy Papa was always a hero. He was so tall and strong. His handsome face with
its chiseled features and large brown eyes were a mesmerizing sight. Droozy
loved holding on to his hand as they walked. She was very jealous when Ruth
Landauer, her friend, held his other hand: “This is my Papa,” she would say
as she felt that big comforting hand in her small one.
It was on the Sabbath that the family
usually walked through the beautiful garden surrounding their rented house. At
other times Albert would sit on a bench under a large chestnut tree and play a
game of cards with his friend Mr. Landauer.
was the first of the family to leave for America since there was only one who
had the proper papers (affidavit) to leave. He would go first and send for the
family as soon as he could. When he arrived by boat in the United States he was
not permitted to land. By small boats they took all the passengers to Ellis
Island, a small island off the coast of New York City. They examined everyone
for any possibly contagious disease, and checked their papers to ascertain that
all had a right to be in the new land. They then let all those off the boats who
had a family member or friend waiting at the dock. No one came for Papa for a
long time. He knew that he would be returned to Nazi Germany and to perish there
if no one would come to claim him. He spent some time very frightened on Ellis
Island until his stepbrother arrived to welcome him.
While Papa was away Droozy wrote him many letters begging him to hurry and get affidavits so that they could all leave Germany. She knew that if they had to remain much longer their fate was sealed and they would be killed. Droozy had faith in her Papa. She always knew that he would do everything possible to rescue her!