Rutgers Oral History Archives

The # 15 Oral History Website in the World

Kahn, Harold

Shaun Illingworth:  This begins an interview with Harold Kahn on June 9, 2009, in Boynton Beach, Florida, with Shaun Illingworth.  This interview was made possible by a travel grant from the Class of 1942 and a travel grant from the Class of 1949.  I thank those classes and I thank you for having me here, Mr. Kahn.  To begin, could you tell me where and when you were born?

Harold Kahn:  Where and when; Paterson, New Jersey, October 2, 1921.

SI:  What were your parents' names?

HK:  Bernard Kahn and Lillian Kahn.

SI:  Your father was originally born in Lithuania.

HK:  That's correct.

SI:  Do you know roughly how old he was when he came over?

HK:  When he came over?

SI:  Yes, when he immigrated to the US.

 

HK:  He came over, roughly, when he was ten, twelve years old.

SI:  Did he ever talk about what life was like in Lithuania?

HK:  No.

SI:  Did he ever talk about the journey to the United States?

HK:  No.

SI:  Okay.  Did he come over alone or did he come over with family?

HK:  No, he came over with his mother and father, and they settled in New York, Downtown New York, on the Lower East Side, and his mother and father lived there until they died.  My grandfather had a pushcart on, I think it was Eldridge Street, on the same street where they lived.  They had an apartment above a men's clothing store and the only thing I remember about the apartment was that it had a bathroom down the hall [laughter] and no modern plumbing and just a slab that you sat on.  ... That's it, that's all I remember, never knew them too well. 

SI:  Did they pass away when you were young?

HK:  Yes, they did, yes.

SI:  Do you know if, perhaps, the pogroms were the reason your family came to the US?  Did they talk about that?

HK:  I would only be guessing.  I don't know.  I would only be guessing.  I don't know.  I guess they led the usual life.  ... I say Lithuania, but it was really Russia, at that time.  It didn't become Lithuania until after the First World War, and my dad never talked too much about it. 

SI:  Your mother was born in North Carolina.

HK:  Yes, she was.

SI:  Was there an immigration story on her side of the family?

HK:  Her mother and father came over from Europe.  Her father came from southern Russia, in the Odessa area.  I can't remember where my grandmother came from, but they settled in Durham, North Carolina, and my grandfather had a general store there ... for many, many years, in Durham, North Carolina. 

SI:  Do you have any idea how they wound up in Durham?

 HK:  [laughter] I have no idea.  I have absolutely no idea.  My mother never knew why, how they ended up there.  There may have been another relative in that area, because I know we had some relatives ... who settled in Baltimore.  So, they may all have come over roughly the same time. 

SI:  How did your mother and your father meet, living in very different areas of the country?

HK:  How did my mother and father meet?  My father lived in New York, of course, Downtown New York, and I think he was recommended to my grandfather as a possible suitor for my mother.  [laughter] ... I guess they felt that she wouldn't meet anybody in the Durham, North Carolina, area, so, they brought her up to New York, or New Jersey, at that time.  There were other family members living in New Jersey at that time.  One thing led to another; you know, you let your guard down for a minute, that's what happens.  [laughter]

SI:  It was sort of an arranged marriage.

HK:  To some extent, yes, to some extent, [and it] worked out well, I guess. 

SI:  Did your mother ever talk about what it was like to grow up in the Deep South?

HK:  Not really.  She spent a lot of time with her sisters and brothers.  It was a rather large family and she had a lot of cousins in the area, but she didn't particularly like it down there.  I know she wanted to go up North.

SI:  Did she ever say what she did not like about it?

HK:  Not really, that I recall, no.  ... I don't know, I would be just guessing if I [said anything], wouldn't be fair.

SI:  Sure.  How long did they live in New York before moving out to New Jersey?

HK:  Well, actually, when they married, they came into New Jersey, and they lived in [Paterson].  My grandfather had brought his family up to Paterson, New Jersey, and that's where they ended up, in Paterson, New Jersey.

SI:  They sold the store in Durham and moved up to New Jersey.

HK:  Yes.  They either lost it or sold it.  I don't know what happened, but they ended up in Paterson.  It was about [the] time he retired, my grandfather, because he didn't work in Paterson.  He had some real estate, that's about it, and that's where they lived until we moved to Jersey City, around 1930, '31. 

SI:  Your parents were married in 1919.

HK:  I think so, yes, I think so, around the time of the big flu epidemic.  I know she lost a sister in that epidemic, an older sister.  [Editor's Note: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic wracked the world from early 1918 to mid-1920 and killed over half a million Americans.]

SI:  What are your memories of growing up in Paterson?  You lived there for about ten years, nine or ten years.

HK:  I guess, roughly.  I went to elementary school, and mostly elementary school, [there].  I don't recall too much about it.  We lived in a few places in Paterson.  It was nice, I guess, just an ordinary life, nothing spectacular.

SI:  What were the neighborhoods like?

HK:  They were what?

SI:  What were they like, ethnically or economically?  Do you remember anything about the makeup of the neighborhood or the kids you played with? 

HK:  I guess it was a middle-class, lower middle-class, neighborhood, certainly wasn't elite in any way, and we had our own friends and we lived there until 1930, '31.  Then, we moved to Jersey City.

SI:  Do you know why you moved to Jersey City?

HK:  Because of my father.  He worked for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and he was transferred to Jersey City.  So, that's when we went there. 

SI:  Did he always work for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company?

HK:  As far back as I can remember.  I don't remember him having any other job and I always marveled [at] how he managed.  He was a salesman and almost totally uneducated.  I don't think he ever went through [elementary school].  He never went through high school, he never finished grammar school, as far as I know, but how he sold life insurance is totally beyond me.  [laughter] I don't know, I guess I didn't have his talent, but he made out.

SI:  How did the Great Depression affect him and his work?

HK:  I don't know.  He made a living, as far as I know, all the time.  ... We never wanted for food or anything like that, and we managed, like everybody else did. 

SI:  I have interviewed other people whose fathers were in the insurance industry.  It seems like that was a particularly difficult time, that they had to run people down to get them to pay their premiums and their hours were often cut. 

HK:  Well, he put in a lot of hours.  ... He worked a lot of nights and he was a typical salesman, I guess.  ... I remember once asking him, "How do you manage, when you get up in the morning and you know you have to sell [a minimum number of] life insurance policies that day?  How do you do this?"  He said, "Well, it's worked out, ... just to use numbers, if you see ten people and you talk to ten people, you're going to get four prospects, three or four prospects, and out of those three or four prospects, the chances are you'll sell one or two," and, evidentially, it was true.  I never saw how he did it, but he did it.  I don't think I could have done it, but he did.

SI:  Did your family keep up any kind of cultural traditions, from either Lithuania or any other traditions, in the family?

HK:  Not that I'm aware of, only our religious institutions.  No, they didn't bring anything over that I was aware of.

SI:  Were there language traditions?  Did they speak Yiddish or Hebrew in the house? 

HK:  My mother and father spoke Yiddish, my grandfather and grandmother.  I never did.  I knew a few words, but that was it.  No, it was strictly [that], among themselves, they sometimes spoke Yiddish.

SI:  Was religion very important in your household?

HK:  Not really, not really.  We observed all the customs, as many as possible.  We went to synagogues.  I had a Jewish education and I was bar mitzvah-ed and we, yes, continued to observe as many traditions as we felt comfortable with.  We still do. 

SI:  It does not sound like your family was as affected by the Great Depression, but, in either Paterson or Jersey City, did you see those communities affected?

HK:  Not that I'm aware of, no.  They must have done without certain things, I presume.  They weren't immune, but [it] never had, that I can recall, ... too much of an effect on me or my brother.

SI:  Do you remember transients coming through town, looking for food or work, anything like that, hobos?

HK:  No.  I was never exposed to any of that, no.

SI:  What did you think of your early education in Paterson and Jersey City?

HK:  I don't have anything to compare that to.  It evidently served me fairly well.  I never had any trouble in school and [it] worked out well, I guess. 

SI:  Did you have a particular subject that you were interested in?

HK:  No.  ... In high school, I did a lot of dramatic work, acting and stage acting, which I really enjoyed.

SI:  Do you remember any of the productions you were in?

HK:  ... Yes, I remember one where I made a complete ass out of myself, called Big Hearted Herbert.  I have no idea what the hell it was all about, but that's the only one I really recall from high school.  [Editor's Note: Big Hearted Herbert, a comedy, opened on Broadway in 1934 and was quickly made into a movie later that year.]

SI:  Was there anything in particular that got you interested in acting?

HK:  ... No, no.  ... I can't recall any particular impetus, boredom, maybe.  [laughter] I did a lot of it at Rutgers, also.

SI:  Were there other activities that you were involved in, like sports or Boy Scouts, as a young man?

HK:  Boy Scouts, not sports, although I do remember trying out for the tennis team in my senior year of high school.  I made the squad, but I didn't make the team.  So, that's about it, yes.  God, I haven't thought about this for years.  I'm not sure I should thank you for this.  [laughter] I'm sorry, go ahead. 

SI:  Were your parents interested in politics?  Were you interested in politics? 

HK:  Not really, no, not that I'm aware of.  They were aware of what was going on.  My father was a, can be described, I guess, as a liberal, in the better sense of the word. 

SI:  Did they have any particular feelings about Franklin Roosevelt?

HK:  I think they liked him very much.  They didn't particularly like what he did with the ship full of Jews that he turned back from the United States.  I remember that.

SI:  The St. Louis.  [Editor's Note:  The M/S St. Louis was a ship that carried over nine hundred Jewish refugees from Germany to North America in 1939, but was denied entry into the United States, as well as Cuba and Canada, and was sent back to Europe.]

HK:  ... Yes, although there's been something recent out, someone wrote a bit just in the last few months, defending that action of his and how he was really working for the other result.  I don't know whether it's been proven or not.  ... However, that's it.  That's in the past. 

SI:  In the 1930s, was there any awareness among American-Jewish communities about what was happening in Germany?

HK:  There may have been some.  ... I never came into contact with it firsthand.  My mother and father may have been closer to the situation than I, and, of course, we followed it ... through the synagogue.

SI:  Do you remember if there was any effort to bring refugees into the community in Jersey City and help them get settled?

HK:  I can't recall any.  There may have been some, but I can't recall any, and I don't remember being involved in it.  I'm sure there were organizations involved who were concerned. 

SI:  Was the Zionist movement ever discussed in your household?

HK:  Not really, not really, no, no.

SI:  Obviously, you went to Rutgers in 1938.  Before that, had your parents been guiding you towards going to college or was it something unexpected? 

HK:  Oh, yes, I think they always wanted me to go.  As a matter-of-fact, ... I was enrolled at New York University and I was all set to start NYU night school, after my senior year in high school, and then, we heard, or I heard, about New Jersey starting a State Scholarship program.  ... I took the exams and I was awarded a State Scholarship, which was absolutely a fantastic thing, provided four years of college for me.  ... It's a marvelous, marvelous thing.  It was the second year they had the State Scholarships, New Jersey State Scholarships.  I don't know whether they still have them or not.  I don't know.

SI:  I do not think it is the same program.

HK:  It probably isn't, it's probably changed, but, back then, it was a tremendous thing. 

SI:  If you had not gotten the State Scholarship, would you have worked during the day, and then, gone to NYU at night?

HK:  Yes, that's what I was all set to do. 

SI:  When you were in high school, or even earlier, did you work at all?  Did you have any part-time jobs?

HK:  Sure, oh, yes, sure, had part-time jobs in some of the local stores, sure. 

SI:  What would you do there?

HK:  What kind of jobs? 

SI:  Yes.

HK:  I was a salesman in some kind of a store.  I can't remember what.  I was a shoe salesman for awhile, in a local shoe store, A. S. Beck, which I continued while I was at Rutgers. 

SI:  Okay.

HK:  Yes.  I worked at some of the stores in New Brunswick, A. S. Beck among them.

SI:  It was a chain.

HK:  Yes, yes, they've gone out of business.  I don't think you would know them, but it was a big shoe store at the time, chain of shoe stores, and I worked as a waiter on Somerset Street, in a restaurant there called Stollman's.  Is that still there?

SI:  No, it is not.

HK:  No, it can't be there.  It must be two hundred years old by now, [laughter] and I worked there for my meals, but I must admit, I spent most of my time at Rutgers away from Rutgers, at New Jersey College for Women.  I was very active in the Little Theater there and, every spare minute I had, I was over there.  Let's see, actually, the work at Rutgers, the school work, it came rather easily and I didn't spend a great deal of time with it.  I don't know why.

SI:  Going into college, did you have an idea of what you wanted to do with your life afterwards? 

HK:  Yes.  I wanted to be an actor, but my mother wanted me to be a pharmacist.  [laughter] She was much more practical than I, but I ended up taking accounting, business administration, at Rutgers.  It's probably just as well. 

SI:  Did you live on campus?

HK:  I lived on campus.  I lived in Winants Hall.  ... I guess that's still there.  It's right on the main [campus, Old Queens Campus], next to the chapel, [Kirkpatrick Chapel], and then, ... two years, I lived further up College Avenue, across the street from the Gym, [the College Avenue Gym].  There was a house.  There's ... some classrooms, and then, some rooms upstairs, a few rooms upstairs, and I lived there with a roommate.  You ever come across the name Safrin, S-A-F-R-I-N, Harold Safrin, [Rutgers College of Agriculture Class of 1942, Graduate School of New Brunswick Class of 1950]?

SI:  Not that we have interviewed him, but he may have come up in other interviews.  The name sounds very familiar.

HK:  I've never been able to [reconnect with him]; he was a roommate for two years.  ... I lost touch with him after we got out and I never knew what happened to him.  [Editor's Note: Dr. Harold Safrin passed away in 1982.]

SI:  When you first came to Rutgers, in those first few days and weeks, was there any kind of initiation for freshmen?  Was it a difficult transition from high school to college?

HK:  There was an orientation program.  I didn't particularly find it especially difficult.  As a matter-of-fact, it went very smoothly, as I recall.  I don't recall having any problem with the work or the subjects.  Maybe that was the problem. 

SI:  Did you get involved in the acting at Rutgers right away? 

HK:  Almost immediately.  New Jersey College for Women, as it was known at that time, had a Little Theater, with their own building.  I forget the name of the street, was ... right on the campus, and there was a woman running the program [who] was called Jane Inge, marvelous teacher, and we became very close and, as I say, most of my time was spent there.  [Editor's Note: Jane Inge was the head of the Speech and Dramatic Art Department from 1935 to 1950.]

SI:  What do you remember about Jane Inge?  She has come up in a few other interviews.

HK:  Really? 

SI:  She sounds like a very unique character.

HK:  I thought she was a marvelous person and she taught me a lot about acting and, for awhile, ... especially the last three years I was there, I guess I had all the leading roles in her productions.  I mean, she had an assistant also who was very good, someone named (Crawford?), but ... Jane Inge, I never knew much about her professional background, but she was a great teacher, great, and she ran the Little Theater there. 

SI:  Could you give me an example of what a production would demand from you and how it would go?

HK:  Well, it demanded a lot of time, number one.  I remember skipping a lot of suppers and walking across town and spending two, three, four hours, almost every evening, working on productions, but I never minded it, ... because I really enjoyed it.  It was very good.

SI:  Do you remember anything that Jane Inge tried to impart to you about acting, any kind of method or style?

HK:  No, not really, ... nothing specific.  She was very subtle about what she [did], how she taught, and most of it, you ended up throwing out yourself and developing yourself, but she was a very good guide, very good guide.  As a matter-of-fact, there were some older people involved in the productions, most of whom lived in the New Brunswick area, who also worked in the productions.  It was quite a good experience. 

SI:  Did you find any other outlets for learning about acting?  For example, did you go into New York to see productions or take classes?

HK:  No, no.  ... I remember, when I graduated, I went into New York and had an audition with some producer named James Elliot.  I've never heard ... what ever happened to him, but I do remember getting a hearing from him about six weeks later, when I was already in the Army.  I had been drafted, or ... I wasn't drafted, I enlisted.  I remember sitting on a camp trunk in the middle of Camp Crowder, Missouri, at some Signal Corps installation, reading a postcard, asking me to come in for another interview.  He had a part for me.  I cried for two days.  [laughter] Who knows what could have been? interesting. 

SI:  Do you remember the name of the production? 

HK:  I have no idea.  I barely remember his name.  I nearly forgot it, James Elliot.  I should have kept the card.  It would have been a nice souvenir, but that was it.

SI:  Do you remember any other aspects, traditions or practices, from Rutgers in the 1930s and 1940s that have gone by the wayside, like going to chapel?  Did you have to go to chapel, either for services or convocations?

HK:  I don't think so.  I don't think so.

SI:  Did you ever hear speakers at the chapel, people who would come in to speak?

HK:  Not that I remember, not that I remember.  I don't remember that going on at all.

SI:  What about any interaction with administrators, like Dean Fraser Metzger?

HK:  I remember being fairly close with a professor I had there in the Business Administration Department called Dr. Agger, Eugene Agger, A-G-G-E-R.  ... I also remember being close to someone in the English Department called, what was his name? Donald McGinn.  You know that name?  [Editor's Note: Dr. Eugene Agger was head of the Economics Department from 1926 to 1950.]

SI:  I have heard both names.

HK:  Really?

SI:  Yes.  What do you remember about Eugene Agger?  Does anything stand out?

HK:  I remember him teaching, ... taught banking, I think.  He was very good.  I had a lot of respect for him.  I don't know how I got close to Donald McGinn.  I don't remember.  ...

SI:  He was a Shakespeare expert, I believe.

HK:  He may have been, he may have been.  I did a lot of work with him.  We had a lot of conversations.  He was a very nice guy. 

SI:  That brings up the question, did you ever do any Shakespearean work? 

HK:  No, no, not that I remember. 

SI:  Okay.

HK:  I was never a comedian, either, [laughter] but I did a lot of work there.

SI:  Do any of the classes or other professors stand out in your memory as unique?

HK:  No, those are the only two that I really recall at this moment.  I can't recall any of the others.  They must have made an impression on me, in one way or the other, but I don't remember them.  Those are the only two names I remember, and I can picture them in front of me.  Why?  I don't know. 

SI:  You took ROTC for the first two years.

HK:  Yes. 

SI:  This was a unique time in American history, just on the eve of World War II.  Do you remember if that impacted the ROTC training at all?  Was the training more intense?

HK:  I can't recall any relationship between the ROTC program and what was happening in current events.  I do remember going through the program.  I did not take the Advanced ROTC. 

SI:  What did you think of ROTC?  Was it just an imposition or did you enjoy it?

HK:  I didn't particularly enjoy it.  It was required, so, I took it.  [laughter] I didn't particularly enjoy it, no. 

SI:  Do you remember current events being discussed, such as the war breaking out in 1939 in Europe or those types of issues, on campus and what people thought?

HK:  No, not really, not really.  There may have been forums where it was so, but ... it never made any impact.  If they were there, they never made any impression on me.  I was aware of the situation, I read the newspapers, maybe not every day, but a few times a week.  ... I was certainly aware of what was happening and what was going on, and, as time went on, I, of course, expected to go into the Army.  [As a] matter-of-fact, I enlisted in a Signal Corps program right after I graduated.  That's another story.

SI:  Before Pearl Harbor was attacked, had you had any opinions on whether America should get into the war or stay out of the war?  Did you feel like the war was going to come to the United States?

HK:  You know, I can't recall.  ... What was happening, I guess, I think I figured that whatever happened was inevitable and I didn't have any control over it.  I just had to go along with the flow, you know.  What ever happened happened.  I don't recall worrying about it.  I can't recall doing any great amount of thinking about it.  Of course, at that time, it was mostly before the war that I was in school.

SI:  Do you recall where you were when you heard the news about Pearl Harbor being attacked?

HK:  I can't remember. 

SI:  Okay.

HK:  I can't remember.  I don't know.

SI:  Do any of the events prior to that stand out in your memory, such as the day the war started in Europe, when Hitler invaded Poland, or the fall of France or the Battle of Britain?

HK:  No, I can't really put my finger on anything specific.  Of course, I've forgotten a lot of things since then.

SI:  Your recollections are similar to many people.  They have similar "non-memories," where it did not seem like there was a lot of debate or discussion over the war outside of just current events. 

HK:  I didn't find much.  I didn't find much.

SI:  Do you remember anybody who was particularly anti-Nazi or pro-Nazi?

HK:  No, no, not at all, just didn't come up, just didn't come up. 

SI:  How often would you go home from Rutgers?  Did you spend most of your weekends at Rutgers?

HK:  Yes, yes.  Mostly, my folks came down from Jersey City to visit me, but I very rarely went home, very rarely. 

SI:  In the summers, would you go back to work at the shoe store?  What would you do?

HK:  Yes, I worked.  One summer, I worked ... as a movie usher, at the Stanley Theater in Hoboken [Jersey City?].  It was a good job.  I saw all the movies, but the other times, I worked all the summers, ... sometimes in the Jersey City area and sometimes in New Brunswick.  I worked in the A. S. Beck store in Jersey City, a few summers. 

SI:  Was being a salesman during the late Great Depression era difficult?  Was it difficult to make a sale during the day?

HK:  No, no.  If it was, I didn't realize it.  [laughter] I don't think I made too much.  As a matter-of-fact, I can't recall whether it was commission or a straight salary. 

SI:  During either your time before Rutgers or during Rutgers, do you remember seeing the impact of any of the New Deal programs in those two places, Jersey City or Rutgers, like the WPA [Works Progress Administration] or the NYA [National Youth Administration] programs?

HK:  I was aware of the programs, and I was aware of some arts programs that the WPA was involved in, in sponsoring it, the government was sponsoring it, but I had no firsthand contact with any of those.  I knew they were going on, ... but I never had any contact with them.  I guess it was a pretty sheltered life. 

SI:  You mentioned that you did not play sports at Rutgers.  Did you follow the sports?  Was that part of the life on campus?  Did you go to football games? 

HK:  Rutgers football, yes, yes, sure.  I pledged a fraternity for awhile, and I remember one of the members, one of the brothers, was a player on the football team.  Why I remember his name is totally beyond me; his name is Gottlieb.

SI:  Okay, Arthur Gottlieb?

HK:  Who?

SI:  Arthur?  Was that his name, Art?

HK:  I can't remember his first name, but I remember him being on the football team, and being aware that Paul Robeson was in all the [football lore], and I remember his class, 1919.  He was also an All-American football player.  So, I knew all that.  I went to the games.  I went to some of the basketball games and the football games.  I had the usual school spirit. 

SI:  Back then, there were basically segregated fraternities, right? 

HK:  Yes.  There were three, I think, Jewish fraternities, Phi Epsilon Pi, Sigma Alpha Mu and Tau Delta Phi.  Those were the three Jewish fraternities.  ... They were certainly segregated.  Yes, it was a segregated situation. 

SI:  Which one did you pledge?

HK:  ... I pledged Phi Epsilon Pi, because, before I went to school, somebody, one of the alumni, came into my house and recruited me.  That's the only reason I was there, but I dropped out after pledging for four or five months.  It was not for me.  I didn't care for it, and I never joined a fraternity.

SI:  Was there a real split between fraternity and non-fraternity people on the campus?  Do you remember that being an issue?

HK:  I suppose there was a split; I don't remember how much of an issue it was.  There was nothing overt that I can recall, outside of the fact that there were separate Jewish fraternities.  How that arose, I have no idea. 

SI:  Were you ever subject to or aware of any anti-Semitism when you were at Rutgers? 

HK:  No, no.  ... In all fairness, I did, along with some of my classmates, I did feel, this was the second year of the New Jersey State Scholarships and there was always some feeling, among a lot of us, that Rutgers University did not fully realize the impact that these students would have.  Most of the winners of the scholarships, the recipients, were Jewish and we always felt, rightfully or wrongfully, that Rutgers was a little surprised by the sudden ... influx of so many Jewish students, because, under the ordinary course of events, this would never have happened.  It was only because of the State Scholarships.  I throw that out because I don't think it means anything, but there was always a feeling among us that this was the case.

SI:  That was something you would discuss with other scholarship students.

HK:  What?

SI:  That was something you would discuss with other scholarship students.

HK:  It came up, it came up.  It wasn't a big issue, but it came up.  ... It wasn't even a matter of coping with it.  There was nothing to cope with, because there was nothing overt happening, that we were aware of.  We just had the feeling, that may have been totally unjustified, in all fairness.  I don't know.

SI:  Did any of these other students talk about running into anti-Semitism, or was it just a non-descript feeling?

HK:  No, not really, no.  They may have, but either it was never deemed important enough or they just never mentioned it.  I don't think it was, no, I don't think it was very open, may not even have been present at all.  [It would] be unfair for me to say that.

SI:  Were acceptance quotas ever discussed?

HK:  They may have been discussed, but ... we were never aware of, as I say, of anything specific happening.  I think the school just accepted what was happening.  They went along with it, because they didn't have too much of a choice.

SI:  What about social events on the campus, like dances and concerts?  Did you attend a lot of those or were you involved in those?

HK:  I don't recall any of them, [to] tell you the truth.  I remember, ... there were other shows put on by Rutgers, ... by the main campus, which I went to and I enjoyed seeing, but I don't recall any of the dances or anything like that. 

SI:  Perhaps you saw one of the Big Bands, like Tommy Dorsey, or anybody who came there.

HK:  Did they ever come there?

SI:  I know that a couple of the big names came.  I forget if Benny Goodman came, but I think the Dorsey brothers came. 

HK:  Oh, really?  I can't remember them.  I can't remember.  I had their albums then, [laughter] but I can't remember any of them, any of them coming to campus. 

SI:  I know there was also, at that time, a little jazz club-type area down by the river.  Did you ever venture down there?

HK:  I know I hit a few bars ... between Rutgers and ... NJC, but I don't recall any jazz clubs, may have been there.  I don't recall, though.

SI:  Was there much of a social life outside of the campus, in New Brunswick?

HK:  My social life was centered around the theater and I dated mostly other actors, actresses, in the theater.  It was, all-in-all, a very pleasant experience.

SI:  After Pearl Harbor, were you concerned that you would not be able to finish your degree?

HK:  For awhile, I was, yes.  I was concerned, because it was just a few months before graduation and, as a matter-of-fact, that's when I decided to enlist, about a month or two after Pearl Harbor, early '42?  Yes, and I enlisted because they were going to send me to radio school, but they would hold off until I graduated. 

SI:  Did you investigate any of the other services, like the Army Air Corps or the Navy?

HK:  No, no.  I don't know why I settled on that.  It was available at the time; I guess that's the only answer.

SI:  Did the war have an immediate impact on the Rutgers campus?  Did a lot of students go and enlist right away?

HK:  You know, I can't recall any great reaction, not at all.

SI:  Were there any policies put into place, like Civil Defense-type activities, blackouts, rationing, any of that?

HK:  Not that I remember.

SI:  In that last semester, was it accelerated at all or did you graduate in May?

HK:  I graduated in May.  Yes, it was not accelerated at all.  ... I can't recall any changes that were made.  No, things seemed to finish up very normally. 

SI:  Does anything stand out in your memory about your graduation?

HK:  I remember drinking all night before the graduation, [laughter] and that's about it. 

SI:  How soon after graduation were you taken officially into the Army and put on active duty?

HK:  Must have been fairly close.  ... They put me in a school in New York for a few months.  It was a radio school.  I was supposed to be trained for radio intelligence, at a company level.  So, I went to school, I guess it must have been a couple of months, a few months, there. 

SI:  Was it in Manhattan or Upstate?

HK:  Manhattan. 

SI:  Okay.

HK:  It was in Manhattan.  That was '42, must have lasted most of that year, because I didn't go into the Army until early '43.

SI:  Okay.  You were a civilian when you were in this school.

HK:  Yes, technically, yes.

SI:  You did not have a uniform or anything like that.

HK:  No, no, and it was a private school. 

SI:  Do you remember the name of the school?

HK:  I have no idea.  I have no idea, might have been on a contract basis with the Army or something. 

SI:  Were you living at home or were you living in the city then?

HK:  I was home. 

SI:  Okay.

HK:  I was home.

SI:  At that time, from what I hear from others who were not in uniform, they could be openly harassed on the street for not being in uniform.  Were you ever in that situation?

HK:  No, not at all. 

SI:  You never had to explain to somebody, "I am on the track to go into the military."

HK:  I don't remember that ever coming up, never.

SI:  What kind of things did they teach you in this radio intelligence school?

HK:  Not much, I'll tell you that.  You learned the code, Morse code.  ... I had taken [German].  I was pretty well versed in German, the language, and they were trying to teach the extraction of intelligence from German messages being transmitted at a fairly local level.  It was interesting, I guess, although I don't think I learned too much. 

SI:  Was there any cryptology involved?

HK:  No, not at all. 

SI:  How large was this class?

HK:  How large? 

SI:  Yes, how many others?

HK:  I'm guessing now; there must have been twenty, twenty-five of us, and it was mostly a group of men from the Mid-Atlantic States and I remember a few from the Boston area, Massachusetts, Connecticut, but it was a fairly small group. 

SI:  Living in Jersey City and going into the city every day for that year, did you notice a lot of changes happening on the home front?  Were there blackouts and air raid drills, that sort of thing?

HK:  There were the usual blackouts, I think, but I didn't notice a great deal of change. 

SI:  Were you affected by rationing at all?

HK:  Gas rationing, but the food rationing, I left that up to my mother and father.  [laughter] I don't recall a lot of that. 

SI:  Were you being paid by the Army while you were going to the school?

HK:  No. 

SI:  No.

HK:  No, I wasn't officially a member of the Army. 

SI:  Okay.

HK:  I wasn't inducted until January or February of '43.

SI:  Did you work, in addition to going to school, then?

HK:  Yes, I was working, too, sure, selling shoes. 

SI:  Was that affected by the war at all?  I know shoes were heavily rationed.

HK:  Well, I don't recall it being affected.  They did business, [the] store was open.

SI:  Did you have to collect coupons from people?

HK:  I don't remember.  [laughter] Did they have rationing coupons for shoes?

SI:  Yes.  I think you could only buy a pair of shoes so often.

HK:  Yes?  Gee, I don't know.  [laughter] I don't remember that.

SI:  At the completion of the school, this course, then, you were officially inducted into the Army.  What was that process like?

HK:  What was it like?  I don't know.  One day, I was out; the next day, I was in.

SI:  Did you have to report to Newark or Fort Dix? 

HK:  ... I went immediately to Fort Dix, with a group of, mostly, the people I had been to school with, the class, and we were at Fort Dix for a couple of weeks.  We ran into one of the Army's favorite sergeants, you may have heard of him, he had quite a reputation, Sergeant (Lydack?).  As a matter-of-fact, ... I've got a couple of favorite stories.  He would get us out there at five o'clock, six o'clock in the morning, out in the street, in the middle of the street, this group of people from the Metropolitan area.  How did he word it?  He says, "All you men with college educations, fall out to the left."  So, we'd all move out, fall out on the left.  He says, "All you men with high school educations, fall out to the right," and they would go out to the right.  He says, "Now, all you men with elementary school educations or no education, you stay in the middle and you watch these two groups.  Maybe you'll learn something from them."  Then, he'd call us out there and he says, "All men who want to be Aviation Cadets, fall out."  So, that was a good deal, Aviation Cadet, good job.  We fell out and he says, "All right, fly your ass down to the kitchen."  [laughter] He was quite a character.  [He would say things] like, "All you men with college educations, you pick up cigarettes down the street.  All you men with lower educations, you watch them.  You learn how to do it," crazy, crazy, almost surreal.  I was there about two weeks at Fort Dix.

SI:  Did they give you any tests or was it just waiting?

HK:  ... Yes, I guess they gave us some tests, and then, we were all moved, most of us were moved, to Camp Crowder, Missouri, which was a Signal Corps installation, where I proceeded to get pneumonia.  So, I was separated from my group and I ended up in a hospital for [awhile].  When I came out, they assigned me to pole climbing school.  I climbed poles for a few weeks.  I don't know what happened to my group, the group of people I went out there with.  Then, they moved me back to; you want to hear about this?

SI:  Absolutely, yes.

HK:  Then, they moved me back to Fort Monmouth; Fort Monmouth? yes, I guess so, and they didn't know what the hell to do with us there.  They really didn't.  They moved us to Virginia, Warrenton, Virginia, which is maybe forty, fifty miles outside of Washington, [D.C.], and we were there in this little, small town, at an Army installation, with some lieutenant who was in charge of us.  We didn't do anything for weeks, didn't do a damned thing. 

SI:  You were taken out of the track you had been on to go into radio intelligence.

HK:  Yes.  I never had anything to do with radio intelligence, although, nominally, on my record, I was still in Signal Intelligence, and, while we were in Warrenton, they picked a few of us for OCS [Officers Candidate School].  I didn't make it.  I don't know where the hell I went from there.  Then, they moved me over to; they were going to ship me overseas.  We went to Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, got on a ship going to Europe.  This is all very dull.

SI:  No, it is not. 

HK:  They didn't know what to do with us there, really.  So, we ended up going to what they called; oh, no, back here in the States, at some point, ... I spent four months at Georgetown University.  I don't know what I was studying then.  It's part of a program called ASTAP [ASTP].  I have no idea what that stood for.

SI:  The Army Specialized Training Program?

HK:  Yes, that sounds like it might be.  ... What the specialized training was, I have no idea, but I got overseas, they sent me to another ASTP program, in Shrivenham, England, which is south of London.  [Editor's Note: During World War II, Shrivenham was a training center for, among other things, the European Civil Affairs Division.  After V-E Day, it was the site for the Shrivenham American University, where GIs could take college-level courses.]  I don't know what the hell I studied there, nothing important, and they really didn't know what to do with us.  They sent me up with a group to a GI prison in north England, near Birmingham, where I was a guard for American GIs who were in jail.  I don't know how much time I spent there, maybe several weeks. 

SI:  Did they give you any training in what to do there or did they just tell you to watch the cell?

HK:  No, no.  They gave me a Springfield rifle and they told me to stand guard, strangest thing I've ever experienced.  I remember, once, I was in back of a group of GI prisoners, stationed in the back of a line, with other GIs, and I had this Springfield rifle, which I'm not sure I knew what to do with, to tell you the truth, and, all of a sudden, ... I pulled the trigger, rifle went off.  Lucky, it was pointed up in the air.  There was deathly silence and the captain, or the officer in charge, who was at the front, comes walking down the side of the formation, comes over to me.  ... I thought he was going to hang me, right at the spot.  He takes my rifle, pulls the bolt, shoves another cartridge into the chamber and he hands the rifle back to me, didn't say a word to me, and he walked back to the front.  I was scared to death, but nothing ever happened.  It's crazy.  Well, to make a long story short, ... they sent me to Germany, and I can't recall whether this was before [V-E Day] or after the war, sent me to a little town called (Russelsheim?), which is central Southern Germany, and I was in a little town there.  ... It was a small group of us, maybe like a platoon, and I did some interviewing of German civilians.

SI:  Were you part of the military government?

HK:  I don't think I was part of any military government, and I don't know what the hell I was doing there.  I can't remember why I was interviewing them, and that stopped, and then, by now, it was early '46, or the end of '45.  War was over and we were accumulating points to come home.

SI:  How long were you in England?

HK:  In England? 

SI:  Yes, before they sent you to Germany.

HK:  Maybe a year. 

SI:  Okay.

HK:  Maybe a year, but I can truthfully say I had, I'm not proud of this, but I had absolutely nothing to do with the war, winning it or doing anything constructive, in the three years I was in.  As far as I was concerned, it was a total three-year waste, of education, of talent, and anything else that was good, didn't accomplish anything.  We were in Luxemburg, for instance, at the edge of the Bulge, at the time of the Bulge, in December.  [Editor's Note: The Battle of the Bulge (or Ardennes Offensive) began on December 16, 1944, and was declared over by January 25, 1945.]  I don't know what the hell I was doing there.  We weren't in the Bulge, we were on the outskirts.  ... We didn't do anything constructive, this whole group of people I was with.  It was a total waste and I never could figure it out.  Why?

SI:  What would they have you do every day in that type of situation?  Would they just give you work projects?

HK:  Well, it depended on where I was.  When I was in Germany, I hung around doing nothing, most of the time, did some interviewing of German civilians.  Where they came from, I have no idea.  Why they were sent to me, I have no idea.  Nobody ever told me, and, of course, while I was in England, I did nothing constructive there.  It was a total and complete waste of time. 

SI:  Could you do what you wanted with your day or would they give you orders to do things?

HK:  A little bit of both. 

SI:  Okay.

HK:  A little bit of both.  In England, ... there were a lot of classes, also in radio intelligence, signal intelligence.  I remember being in a class in some building, near Marble Arch, in London, but, most of the time, just wasted time during the day and went out socializing at night, made a lot of friends with the English people.

SI:  What were your impressions of England and the English civilians?

HK:  I enjoyed being with them.  I made a lot of good friends, a lot of nice friends.  ... It was a terrible experience. 

SI:  How did you feel about it at the time?  Did you think it was a waste of time?

HK:  Absolutely, absolutely.  I never did anything about it, because I was taught not to make waves, not look for trouble, but it was a total waste.

SI:  Were you going through this as an individual or was it the same group of people being sent around?

HK:  Mostly with the same group of people, mostly with the same group.  The group changed every once in awhile, ... and you know what was shameful about it?  A shame, there was a lot of intelligence in that group.  I'm not speaking for myself, but it was a group of highly intelligent people and they couldn't find anything for us to do.  I never did understand why. 

SI:  Just to back up, what was the trip from the US to England like?  Do you remember the ship you went on and what that was like?

HK:  I remember it was a big ship.  I don't know which one, but I remember the ship coming back.  We came back on a small, what they called a Liberty ship, and we took the northern route.  [Editor's Note: The Liberty ship was the name of the EC-2 type ship, 2,751 of which were built, each 441 feet long, fifty-six feet wide.]  It was a very vivid memory in my mind, because ... it was a very rough trip and I was the only GI who stayed on board outside, on deck, and I thought it was a thrilling experience, [for] which the only other people there were a few sailors.  It was quite a dramatic experience, [laughter] and I don't know why I didn't get seasick, but it stands out in my mind.  I don't know.  It was not too important.  ... Now, going over, we went over on a big, big liner, I don't remember the name, one of the big passenger liners. 

SI:  At any of the places where you were in England, were there any air raids or missile attacks?

HK:  Yes, in London, there were some air raids.  We saw a lot of ruins and spent some time underground, in their air raid shelters.  It was pretty scary sometimes, not an experience I'd recommend.  ...

SI:  You mentioned you were in Europe during the Bulge, but you were on the edge and were not involved.  At what point did you go from England to Continental Europe?  What was happening in the war at the time?

HK:  I can't remember, really. 

SI:  Okay.

HK:  I can't remember.

SI:  Do you remember if it was the fall or the summer?

HK:  I don't remember.  The timeframes elude me; I just don't remember the specifics.

SI:  Were you in Belgium at that time or France?

HK:  Yes, I was in Belgium.  I can't remember the name of the town, can't remember the name of the town.

SI:  Did you have an opportunity to interact with civilians in France or Belgium?

HK:  Only in Germany.

SI:  Only in Germany.

HK:  And in London, of course; in France, no. 

SI:  You were in France at least for a little while.

HK:  I was in France, Paris, for a week, two weeks.  On the way back, on the way home, we stopped in a little town called (Compiègne?), outside of Paris.  I was in a truck with some other GIs and I wanted to stop.  I had an uncle stationed in (Compiègne?).  So, I talked the truck driver into making a little detour, so [that] I could see my uncle for a couple hours, and we went from there to Belgium, ... to await shipping home. 

SI:  Everyone's experience is unique, but I have encountered some people who were kind of lost in the system like you were, who never really got a permanent assignment.  One thing they talked about in their cases was that they would have trouble just getting the basics, where they could go to eat, getting their mail, that sort of thing.  Did you have any problems with those types of things?

HK:  I don't remember getting a lot of mail, but I never went hungry.

SI:  Did you always have a place to stay?

HK:  Yes.

SI:  Were you billeted in buildings often or would you have to live in tents or on the ground?

HK:  I have no idea.  I think, in Germany, in this little town we were in, we were all in some house.  I don't know.  I can't recall any of the details. 

SI:  How was morale among this group that you were with? 

HK:  Morale was terrible.  We all knew we were being wasted.  ... You know, it's a funny feeling.  You end up being wasted, but, on the other hand, you didn't mind being ignored.  It was a very peculiar combination, could have been a lot worse, but you felt pretty useless, I'll tell you that, and, as I said, there were some highly intelligent people in that group, a shame. 

SI:  Did anybody ever go AWOL, or try?

HK:  No, no, I don't think so. 

SI:  Did you have the opportunity to go on day trips or leaves and see other parts of Europe?

HK:  We didn't do too much traveling, only the official movement from one place to another, which wasn't a lot, ... but I never did a lot of traveling in Europe. 

SI:  Did you always have the same officers or would they change also?

HK:  You know, I don't recall any of the officers we had over there.  As far as I was concerned, they came and went like the morning and the evening.  I don't recall any.  Nobody ever made an impression on me, and I don't think we had the same ones for too long a period of time, just don't recall any. 

SI:  Do you remember any tension between the officers and the enlisted men, or a real split between how the officers lived and how you lived?

HK:  No, not at all, hardly ever came into contact with an officer.  No, there's no, very little, contact, very little of anything, as a matter-of-fact. 

SI:  Do you remember the day the war ended, that V-E Day was declared?

HK:  Not specifically.

SI:  Okay.

HK:  Not specifically, but, shortly thereafter, we got our orders to move to Belgium, to some port in Belgium, and await transport home, but I don't recall anything specific happening.  I don't recall V-E Day at all there. 

SI:  You said you did not quite remember, when you were interrogating the German civilians, what you were asking them about, but do you remember your impressions of the Germans, what you thought of the Germans at the time, how they thought of you?

HK:  I remember I didn't have much use for them, ... speaking generally, and we were not in an area [of great activity].  As I say, we were in a little town called (Russelsheim?), which, as far as I remember, wasn't near anything in particular.  So, there was no question of any; for instance, it was not near any of the concentration camps or anything like that, but I remember talking to these Germans, some of these German civilians, and, for instance, asking if they were aware that some of these atrocities were going on.  They "didn't know anything about it," and, once I got an answer like that, I didn't pay too much attention to them. 

SI:  Do you remember if you asked them if they were members of the Nazi Party or if they knew any members?

HK:  I must have asked them that.  I don't remember what the hell their answers were, because I don't remember anybody being picked up or anything after an interview.  I just don't know, and we were never given any real guidelines as to what the hell we were looking for.  I have the impression that it was a total waste of time and it was just like "make-work," "make do," you know, just to be doing something. 

SI:  You said this town was in Southern Germany.

HK:  Yes, it's a little town called (Russelsheim?). 

SI:  Was it near the Soviet Zone at all?

HK:  No, it wasn't near the Soviet Zone at all.  [The] Soviet Zone was over [on] the other side of Berlin, as I recall.  This was the American [Zone], I guess the American Zone, yes. 

SI:  Do you remember seeing a lot of displaced persons when you were in Germany?

HK:  None at all, not at all, didn't see much of anything, to tell you the truth.  [As a] matter-of-fact, I'm surprised I remembered that we were there.  [laughter]

SI:  Are there any incidents that stand out that we have not discussed from this whole period, any anecdotes, when you think back?

HK:  Not really, not really, ... no, didn't make a great impression on me one way or the other. 

SI:  You mentioned that your uncle was serving over in Europe.  Did you have other relatives in the service at the time?

HK:  No, he was the only one.  He was in the Medical Corps.  He was a chiropodist, much older than I, but he was in this little town called (Compiègne?), outside of Paris.  It was nice seeing him. 

SI:  Did you ever get involved in any theater-type activities?

HK:  What kind of activity?

SI:  Theater-related activities?

HK:  No.  I do remember meeting Carl Reiner.  I remember going into a; I can't remember where it was, but it was in some hall.  He was sitting at a piano.  He was playing the piano and somebody told me that his name was Carl Reiner.  I had no idea who Carl Reiner was, until afterwards, when we got back, later on, but that's the only contact I had with show business back then. 

SI:  Was that a USO tour?

HK:  I went to some USO shows.  I can't remember who the headliner was, but I never saw Bob Hope over there.  [laughter] ...

SI:  During this whole three-year period, did you begin changing what you thought you wanted to do with your life?  Did you have ideas of what you wanted to do after you got out of the service?

HK:  I didn't think too much about it until I got out and, when I got out, I spent a few months in New York, in the Village, Greenwich Village, but I came to realize, you know, being three years older, ... that I just couldn't see myself wasting the time.  So, I stopped and I got the hell out and I went into accounting.  I decided to study for my CPA and I figured I'd try to make a living instead of breaking my head trying to get into show business, into the stage, stage work.  [It] worked out well. 

SI:  Did you always want to go into stage work or did you ever think of seeking other acting jobs?

HK:  I've always thought about it; yesterday, I thought about it.  [laughter]

SI:  You never thought about movies, or early television.

HK:  No, no. 

SI:  Always the stage?

HK:  No.  ... Now, after those couple months I spent knocking around in the Village, I realized I was just wasting time, waiting for some kind of a break, which may or may not have happened, so, I stopped. 

SI:  Did you make use of the GI Bill? 

HK:  What?

SI:  Did you make use of the GI Bill?

HK:  Yes, sure.  Did I?  What did I use the GI Bill for?  I'd already graduated.

SI:  To study for your CPA exam; did you use it for that?

HK:  I don't remember.  You know, I took a coach course for a few months, but I don't think I used the GI Bill at all. 

SI:  Do you remember using the "52/20 Club?"

HK:  Vaguely, yes, vaguely remember that.  What was that, like an unemployment [thing]?

SI:  Yes.  I think you could get twenty dollars for fifty-two weeks, for a year.

HK:  I don't remember that at all, but I took this coach course for about two, three months, took the CPA exam, passed it.  ... I couldn't be certified, because I didn't have the experience requirement.  So, I had to wait until I got my experience requirement, and then, I got my CPA license and I started working. 

SI:  Where did you work first? 

HK:  [I] worked for a couple small firms, one in New York, a very small firm, and I put one week in working for one of the largest accounting firms around, called (S. D. Lidesdorf?) and Company.  They've gone out of business since, but it was one of the largest firms at that time, and I remember, I worked for them for a week, started on a Monday morning and quit Friday afternoon, because I think I spent five days at Wallach's, Wallach's Department Store.  They were doing an audit and I spent five days, I think, checking off petty cash vouchers.  I figured I had to get the hell out of there, and I did, and I went from there to a small firm.  I got some more diversified experience, and I never had any desire to work for a large firm.  One thing led to another.  Most of the work I did was in the Metropolitan area, New Jersey, New York area. 

SI:  Were you living in New Jersey at the time? 

HK:  Yes. 

SI:  Still in Jersey City?

HK:  Yes, I lived in Jersey City; I never really went back there.  I went from there to Rutgers and I never really went home after that.  I lived there, of course, when I came back from the Army for awhile, but, then, I got married soon after, got married in '49.  So, I wasn't there too long.  '49? '49, yes, [we] just had our sixtieth anniversary.

SI:  Congratulations.  Had you grown up with your wife?  Where did you meet your wife?

HK:  Where did I meet her?  My mother and father were very active in an organization called the Eastern Star, and my wife was ... in one of the chapters and she was a president, and I met her during that time, at that [chapter].  Well, one thing led to another, you know.  You let your guard down for a moment and that's what happens.  [laughter] [Editor's Note: The Order of the Eastern Star is an organization established in 1876 for men and women with high spiritual convictions of all faiths that performs charitable works to support local and national charities.]

SI:  What is her name?

HK:  Zelda, Z-E-L-D-A. 

SI:  You said you were working in these small firms in the Metropolitan area.  How long did that go on for?

HK:  Oh, quite awhile, at a couple of firms, and I became a partner, eventually, in one of them.  Then, after awhile, we merged with a national firm, which we didn't like.  We got out of there.  We were not "big firm" accountants, we were basically "small firm" accountants.  That's the kind of work I liked, you know, small business, and that was our working lives, that was my working life, all in New Jersey.

SI:  What did you find most interesting about accountancy?

HK:  Not too much interesting, but ... most of it was tolerable.  I enjoyed the interplay between ourselves and our clients, getting involved in their problems.  You ... couldn't do that, or we couldn't do that, with a big firm, but, with a small firm, we became very close with our clients, which was the enjoyable part of it, and we had a good time.  It was interesting. 

SI:  Being in the profession for so long, were there any government policies or changes in the law that really affected your business?

HK:  Sure, every year.

SI:  Okay.

HK:  Especially the IRS, obviously, and some of the local legislation, state legislation, sure, the (chamber?) was constantly changing, and you had to keep up with it, which wasn't all bad, you know.  It was good work, wasn't my first choice, but it worked out okay. 

SI:  Is there anything else you would like to say about your career?

HK:  ... Nothing comes to mind.  I retired, '86, twenty-three years ago, at sixty-five, couldn't wait to get out.  By that time, I had reached the point where I got tired of all the problems, problems with our help.  So, I just got to a point where I didn't want to face them anymore, got tired of dealing with them.  So, I knew it was time to get out, and I did, in '86. 

SI:  In your career, or even afterwards, were you involved in the community at all?

HK:  Yes.  We did some pro bono work for some organizations, and we got involved, through our clients, in local activities. 

SI:  Did you personally get involved in any community organizations or particular charities?

HK:  I was very active in the Masonic Order.  I became a Past Master of our lodge, and that was very enjoyable.  [Editor's Note: A Past Master is a Master Mason who has fulfilled a term of office as a Worshipful Master of a lodge.]  That was nice.

SI:  Would you like to say anything about your family, any children or grandchildren?

HK:  What would you like to know?

SI:  Whatever you would like to add; how many children did you have?

HK:  I have two wonderful kids, a boy and a girl.  Of course, my boy is now sixty, [laughter] [my] girl is younger.  He's up in New Jersey, in Westfield, and she is now in a suburb of Orlando.  He's married; they're both married.  She's married.  She has no children.  He has two ... children, both in their twenties.  His daughter is a special education teacher ... of early childhood.  She teaches in a private school in New York, New York City, and his son has had a great career so far.  He ... made Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year and he's now employed by ... McCarter and English, which is, I think, the biggest law firm in New Jersey.  They're down in Newark, a very old-line firm.  He ... passed his bar exam, he got an apprenticeship or something with them last year, or a year ago, for a summer internship, and then, he got his law degree and they hired him full-time.  So, he's been working for them and he's doing a great job, I understand.  So, he's doing very well, great kids.

SI:  Wonderful.  Have you stayed involved with Rutgers at all over the years?

HK:  No, no, not at all, no, no connection with them at all. 

SI:  Did you ever, at any point, get back into theater work, perhaps community theater?

HK:  No.  I go to the theater, that's it, never pressed to be involved.  No, that's come and gone.  [laughter] I have regrets, but we all have some regrets, of one form or another. 

SI:  Is there any aspect of your life that I have not asked about that you would like to discuss?

HK:  I think you know more about me than I do.  I haven't even thought about a lot of this stuff in years. 

SI:  I asked you about Rutgers and anti-Semitism, but did you ever encounter anti-Semitism in the Army?

HK:  ... No, I never ran into any anti-Semitism in the Army.  If I did, I was totally unaware of it; no, not at all.  Of course, you've got to understand, my experience in the military was rather restricted, but, no, I never ran into any type of anti-Semitism.

SI:  When the war in Korea came along, were you concerned that you might be ...

HK:  When what?

SI:  When Korea came along?

HK:  Korea?

SI:  Yes.  Were you concerned that you might be called back into the service? 

HK:  No, why would they want me?  I never did anything the first time.  [laughter] ... No, that never entered my mind. 

SI:  Have you been involved in any veterans' associations?

HK:  No, no, [I would] be almost ashamed.  [laughter]

SI:  Is there anything else you would like to add to the record?

HK:  I can't think of anything important enough to say.

SI:  Again, it is a very interesting concept, where you have sixteen million men brought into the military and a great number of them, obviously, did not have the same exact experience as you, but they were never really put into the proper slot.

HK:  Really?  Have you run into that, really?

SI:  Yes.  Some people did eventually wind up going somewhere, but, yes, a number of people were just given these make-work assignments.  

HK:  Is that right?

SI:  It is a story that does not really get told very often.

HK:  I haven't heard it.

SI:  Yes, because people do not want to remember it.

HK:  Well, most people I know don't want to admit it.  I never mind admitting it.  It certainly wasn't my fault.  I was ready and able and willing to do anything they told me to do, just never told me to do anything, certainly nothing constructive, but I've always felt that it was sheer waste, sheer waste.  I'm glad they won.  [laughter] I'm glad they won.

SI:  Thank you very much.  I appreciate your time and your participation.

HK:  My pleasure.

SI:  Thank you. 

--------------------------------------------END OF INTERVIEW---------------------------------------------

Reviewed by William Nesson 1/18/10

Reviewed by Shaun Illingworth 1/25/10

Reviewed by Zelda Kahn 5/7/13

 

Rutgers Oral History Archives

A Rutgers History Department Affliated Center 


This website and all content

Copyright © 2016 ROHA

 

Contact Us

Rutgers Academic Building
15 Seminary Place
West Wing, Room 6105

New Brunswick, NJ 08901


848-932-0454
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.