JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Travel into and out of Germany for undocumented "Ostjuden" #general

Jeffrey Knisbacher

My late father, Max KNISBACHER, fled the Nazis in the spring of 1933,
after having successfully completed one year at the prestigious Kaiser
Wilhelm University medical school. The career he had worked so hard for
was gone forever, but at least he saved his life. In researching his
life story I have run up against two questions that this group might
have answers to.

1. His parents had come to Berlin >from Galicia (Lysiec for his father,
Tarnow for his mother) some time in the early 1900s when those towns
were part of Austria-Hungary. They never became German citizens and, in
fact, were married, in 1911, not in Germany but in London--possibly, I
hypothesize, to be able to keep the KNISBACHER surname for their
children. Question: How did they get into Germany? Presumably they had
no papers, or was the border between Austria-Hungary and Germany open to

2. When my father fled the Nazis, in May or June of 1933, he went to
Alsace in France, and spent most of his year there in the Strasbourg
suburb of Bischheim working for a Jewish carpentry firm. His medical
school records, which he kept, list him as a citizen of Poland, a
country he never was in, nor did he ever know Polish. Presumably that
idea came >from the fact that the towns his parents had come >from had
become Polish at the end of WWI when the Austro-Hungarian empire
collapsed. When his mother managed to cross the Swiss border in 1943
after years of evading the Nazi and Vichy police in France, she was also
listed as a Polish citizen. So the question here is how did my father
get into France? Was the border between Germany and France open to
anyone >from Germany in 1933, or did he somehow manage to slip across

Jeff Knisbacher

ps And one more question: Are children and further direct descendants of
"Ostjuden" (who, in this case, was born in Berlin, in 1913) eligible
today for German citizenship?

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