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

Ernest Culman (formerly Ernst Culmann) was born in Liegnitz on 2 December 1929. His father, a doctor, was arrested on Kristallnacht. Culman, his brother Hans, and their parents sailed on a Dutch ship to Shanghai in June 1939. His father had difficulty establishing himself as a doctor, so his family and some friends started a luncheon business. Later his mother baked cakes and took in sewing. Culman attended the Shanghai Jewish School, then after 1942 the Kadoorie School. He made his Bar Mitzvah in Shanghai. The Culman family lived in the SACRA building, which was bombed by the Americans on 17 July 1945, but none of them were hurt.

After the war, Culman apprenticed in camera repair. The family left Shanghai in January 1947 for San Francisco, and settled in Baltimore. Culman continued in camera repair, was drafted during the Korean War, and later became a manager with Industrial Photo and Pen Camera. He and his wife Anya Hoffman live near Washington, D.C.