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

Robert Langer was born in Vienna on January 22, 1929. He lived with his father Ignatz, a waiter, and his mother Stephanie (neé Waldapfel) in the 9th District. Two uncles, Eugen and Desiderius Waldapfel, were arrested on Kristallnacht and sent to Dachau. The family left for Genoa in January, 1939, and sailed to Shanghai on the “Conte Biancamano”. The uncles were also able to get to Shanghai.

Upon arrival the Langers rented a room on Wayside Ave., and Ignatz got a job in the Klinger restaurant. Later in 1939 he and his brothers opened the Delikat Restaurant on Chusan Road. Robert first attended the Shanghai Jewish School, then later in 1939, he switched to the Shanghai Jewish Youth Association School, commonly called the Kadoorie School in Hongkou. When the Designated Area was declared in 1943, the Langers lived on the wrong side of Wayside Rd. and had to move.

Robert quit school in 1942 and worked in a weaving factory, as a goldsmith’s apprentice, and took secretarial courses at the Demans’ New Gregg School of Business. After the war ended, he became the first President of the Tikvah Club and sat on the board of the Jewish Community Center. He worked for Charles Jordan in the American Joint Jewish Distribution Committee office, which led to a career in social work.

In 1948, Robert came to New York on a student visa, and attended the Robert Louis Stevenson School, then Brooklyn College, where he graduated in 1952. After serving in the US Army, he began a career as an administrator of philanthropic organizations in Michigan, St. Louis, and New York. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Betty.