Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date



Copyright Steve Hochstadt. This transcript is provided for individual research purposes only; for all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: Steve Hochstadt, c/o The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240-6018.

Scope and Content Note

Michael Blumenthal was born in Oranienburg in 1926, where his family owned a bank. In the wake of the Depression, the family moved to Berlin about1930, and his mother opened a store for ladies’ accessories. He attended a public school until 1936 and the private Waldschule Kaliski until 1939. His father was arrested during Kristallnacht. In April 1939 the family sailed to Shanghai on the “Haruna Maru”. There Blumenthal joined the Boy Scouts and attended the Shanghai Jewish School. After leaving school in 1942, he worked for the Swiss company Lieberman Wälchli and for Mutual Chemical Industry. After the end of the war he worked for the American armed forces.

After coming to the United States, Blumenthal earned a Ph.D. in economics at Princeton University. He became CEO of Bendix Corporation and UNISYS, and served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Jimmy Carter. Blumenthal serves on the board of the International Rescue Committee. In 1997, he became Director of the Jüdisches Museum Berlin.