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Frederick R. Wohl

Baden-Baden, Germany

Frederick was born to a Jewish family in the resort city of Baden-Baden, located in Germany's Black Forest region. His father owned a pharmacy there. His parents were proud German citizens and Frederick's upbringing was not religious. He was sent to Switzerland on a student exchange program just before the Nazis came to power in 1933.

1933-39: Back in Germany I worked in a machine factory for two years but was fired for being Jewish. In Frankfurt to look for work, I went to a Mardi Gras festival. SS men suddenly appeared from a side street, wielding weapons and swinging at anyone in their path. After this I decided to leave Germany. In 1936 I left for Athens. My family joined me two years later, but in March 1939 we had to leave for the British protectorate of Cyprus.

1940-44: Since we were German, the British interned us in a camp for "enemy aliens" after war broke out. Most of the people interned there were Jews. We were freed after the British authorities checked our documents and verified that we weren't Nazis. When Germany invaded Crete in May 1941, the British evacuated all Cypriot Jews to Palestine. There the British gave us money to live on, and in November they moved us to Tanganyika, in Africa. We arrived a few days before Christmas in 1941.

Frederick remained in Tanganyika working for a diamond mining company until 1946, when a relative sponsored his emigration to the United States.

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