Trude Kranzler

b. 1926

Trude Kranzler's life has always been filled with a rich variety of experiences, but her primary responsibility has always been her family. Born to an Orthodox family in Germany in 1926, Trude and her family left Germany for New York in 1938. Her father, a businessman in Germany, worked primarily at working-class jobs in the United States, in part because the demands of business would not allow him the leisure to observe the Sabbath. While a student at Brooklyn College, Trude married a young scholar--also a refugee from Germany--who was finishing his Ph.D. at Columbia University. He soon accepted a teaching position, and Trude temporarily abandoned her studies to care for their four children. Their home became a center of intellectual discussion, of Zionist activism, and of commitment to an Orthodox lifestyle. They moved to Baltimore when Trude's husband became head of the Talmudic Academy there. Trude resumed her studies and, when her children were old enough, became a teacher herself, in both private and public schools. Now retired and widowed, Trude remains close to her children and grandchildren, all of whom have followed her loving example and are committed to Orthodox Judaism.  

Scope and Content Note

Trude describes her early home life in Germany and being expelled from her public school for being Jewish.  She details the persecution her family and other Jews faced in Germany and her family's discussions of where to seek refuge.  Trude's family decided against relocating to Israel because they had more family connections in the United States.  She remembers her anxiety about leaving Germany for Poland, her family facing interrogations from the German authorities, and being shipped off to another town.  They barely escaped being shot and killed and went into hiding during Kristallnacht, barely avoiding being sent to the concentration camps.  Trude talks about her life before Hitler came to power, detailing how her old friends would no longer acknowledge or play with her, so her Jewish friends needed to stick together.  She saw many violent acts against Jewish men with beards and quickly learned that her identity was something people hated.  Trude remembers arriving in Manhattan, adjusting to a new culture, and being placed in a second-grade American classroom.  She quickly learned English and eventually attended Yeshiva College, where she met her husband, the school's assistant principal.  They were married in 1944 and had their first child in 1946.  Trude discusses further education, new motherhood, marriage, and job changes for her husband.  She and her husband worked for several Zionist organizations that sent students to Israel, took in Israeli refugees, and collected funds.  Her husband planned and founded a Women's College.  Their family believed in female education and gender equality.  The couple moved to Baltimore for her husband's new job, where she became involved in the Jewish community and finished her education at Towson State University, majoring in education.  She and her husband invited many students over for Shabbat dinners.  Trude continued her education at Johns Hopkins and earned a certificate of advanced studies in psychology and counseling.  Trude taught at Baltimore County public schools as a German teacher and then ESL teacher.  She was also a counselor for international students.  Finally, Trude reflects on her best and worst moments as a teacher and the importance of fostering a positive learning environment for her students.  

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Trude Kranzler. Interviewed by Jean Freedman. 28 April 2002. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on February 29, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/kranzler-trude>.

Oral History of Trude Kranzler by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.