Home » My Middle Name is Israel: A Wartime Memoir of Berlin, London and Shanghai by Hans Ludwig Riess
My Middle Name is Israel: A Wartime Memoir of Berlin, London and Shanghai Hans Ludwig Riess

My Middle Name is Israel: A Wartime Memoir of Berlin, London and Shanghai

Hans Ludwig Riess

Published January 1st 2001
ISBN : 9781588209672
Hardcover
260 pages
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 About the Book 

My memoir covers my life in Berlin, London, and Shanghai. I was born in Berlin in 1921. I grew up in the early 30s as an assimilated German Jew of an upper middle class family where I witnessed the rise of Nazism, I also rode my bicycle in FebruaryMoreMy memoir covers my life in Berlin, London, and Shanghai. I was born in Berlin in 1921. I grew up in the early 30s as an assimilated German Jew of an upper middle class family where I witnessed the rise of Nazism, I also rode my bicycle in February 1933 to see the Reichtstag fire, which started the arrest of Communists and Jews. The race laws in 1935 stopped sexual relations between Jews and Christians. I took my bicycle on Kristall Nacht (Crystal Night) in November 1938 to see the smashed windows of stores owned by Jews and burning synagogues. I was warned by my Christian teacher not to go home, but to stay with Christian friends. My father was a dentist and the last patient that night was a Gestapo agent who arrested him and took my father to police headquarters for transfer to a concentration camp. He was released in 3 1/2 weeks, and my parents worked with the Church of England to find a family who would take me in.I went to England on a childrens transport and lived with a British family who paid for my engineering studies since I was only allowed to take $ 10.00 out of Germany. The war broke out in September 1939. I was declared an enemy alien. After much effort, the Bow Street station court declared me friendly and I could continue my studies. After graduation, I wanted to get out of wartime England. It seemed impossible, but I found an advertisement in the London Times for an engineer to go to Shanghai for a large British trading company to convert a steel window manufacturing plant to make machine tools. I was hired but had to find a ship to leave from the only open port which was Liverpool. I found a Japanese diplomatic ship (Haruna Maru), which was transporting wives and children of Japanese diplomats as well as Mitsui and Mitsubishi bank people to Kobe, Japan. I got my German (Nazi) passport extended by the Swiss ligation and embarked in 1940 on a long sea voyage to Shanghai.The ship went through the English Channel in the blackout. Our first stop was