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

Paul Reisman was born 1923; his family lived in Vienna, parents Oskar and Hermina and younger brother Eric. After the Anschluss, he witnessed the murder of a Jewish classmate in their school. The family received a visa from Feng Shan Ho, the Chinese Consul, and sailed to Shanghai. There Paul was apprenticed in the China General Omnibus Company, where he worked for 3 years and learned Chinese. His parents sold fruits and vegetables in the open market, and he eventually became a food wholesaler. After the creation of the Designated Area in 1943, he sold to the Kitchen Fund at the Alcock Heim. He also played soccer for the Brit Noar Zioni team. In 1944 the family lived in Tong Shan Road. After the end of the war, Paul got a job with the American Air Transport Command as an airplane mechanic. He married Trude Zalusky in 1946.

Gertrude Zalusky was born in Vienna in 1928 and lived with her parents, David and Stella, and older sister Lore. Her father was arrested after the Anschluss and spent 6½ months in Dachau. Her mother sold their furniture and got a ship’s ticket so he could go to Shanghai. Then her mother was arrested and spent a week in jail. Trude at age 9 went to the Gestapo office and demanded her mother’s release. Her sister Lore was able to go to Palestine at age 13, and then Trude and her mother took the “Conte Biancamano” around the Cape of Good Hope to Shanghai in 1940. In Shanghai, Trude attended the Kadoorie School and took singing lessons. Her father worked as a leather tanner. She sang in various refugee productions, including the “Zigeunerbaron” by Johann Struass. She apprenticed for 3 years as a hairdresser. In 1944 the family lived in Kwen Ming Road. After the war, she opened her own business at age 17.

Paul and Trude Reisman left Shanghai in 1947 for Bolivia. In 1949, they moved to Israel to be with Trude’s sister, and their son Daniel was born shortly after they arrived. They lived on a kibbutz and Paul worked for the Israeli Air Force as a civilian. In 1952, the family moved to the US, where Paul worked for Sikorsky Aviation. The Reismans live in Connecticut.