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

Ralph Hirsch was born on December 2, 1930, in Berlin. After attending the Volksschule, he had to transfer to a Jewish school after Kristallnacht. The Hirsch family left Berlin in October 1940 by train to Moscow, and then with the Trans-Siberian Railroad to China. They settled in Hongkou. Hirsch attended the Kadoorie School. His father worked occasionally for the Joint Distribution Committee and as an accountant for some refugees’ small businesses until the war ended. His mother opened a hat shop, and when that did not succeed, a candy store. In May 1947, the family left for the United States.

Hirsch is a city planner and lives in Philadelphia and in Germany. He founded and directs the Council on the Jewish Experience in Shanghai, an organization of former Shanghai refugees. He is married to Angelica Hack, an art historian and museum curator in Germany.