In the 1930s, Jews began fleeing the escalating persecution in Germany. Partially with money from Dutch Jews who wanted to provide them a safe haven, Holland built a reception camp at Westerbork. But by 1939, when the St. Louis docked in Rotterdam, it had become a detention camp,  a prison where Mother and the last passengers were sent. Conditions were far from pleasant. Everyone believed Germany would soon invade Holland and Mother felt the Jews were being held there until then just so they could be conveniently handed over to the Nazis.

Meanwhile, her father in Berlin still had powerful academic connections in Holland. One night, someone wrapped Mother in a blanket and a rug and smuggled her out. She told me it was a doctor. I still have a picture of him and his family, though I never knew their name. They kept her hidden until they could get her on a tramp steamer to Cuba where she was re-united with my father. Months later, the Nazis invaded and Westerbork became a concentration camp before sending Jews and Gypsies “east” to Auschwitz. Mother had escaped just in the nick of time. I tried to interest the Dutch media in publishing the picture of the doctor and his family. I thought it was a great human interest story and someone was sure to recognize him. The Dutch consulate in LA was polite but they could do nothing.