My Father, Erich Silbermann, and his first cousin, Siegfried (Fred) Silbermann, went to Kitchener Camp in 1939.
They had lived until that time in München, Germany. My Father, along with his father, Joseph Silbermann, were arrested during Kristallnacht and sent to Dachau. My Father was kept in Dachau for three weeks, his father for three months, and then they were released.
My Father and his cousin, Fred, were allowed to leave Germany to go to Kitchener Camp through the program arranged with the German government.
My Father was a machinist and machine builder in Germany. He was born in 1921 and had wanted to go to university to become an engineer. The anti-Jewish laws didn’t allow him to go to university, however, so he chose to become a machinist apprentice.
My Father told me the program at Kitchener Camp was for young German Jewish men. In exchange for working to rebuild the camp in preparation for the invasion of mainland Europe, these young men received room and board and a small stipend.
In 1940 my Father was granted a visa to America and he came to New York City. In 1943 he was drafted, and after basic training was shipped back to England in an Amphibious Engineering Army unit. They landed at Utah Beach with the initial landing at 6:30 a.m. on D-Day. He fought through France and Germany until the war’s end.
Erich returned home on New Year’s Day 1946 and married his fiancee, my Mother, on January 6, 1946.
Family history kindly submitted by Steven Silbermann, for his father, Erich Silbermann