• Interviewee: Gurstelle, Samuel
  • PDF Interview: gurstelle_samuel.pdf
  • Date: March 18, 2002
  • Place: West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Interviewers:
    • Jonathan Gurstelle
  • Transcript Production Team:
    • Domingo Duarte
    • Jonathan Gurstelle
    • Ashley Perri
    • Samuel Gurstelle
    • Sandra Stewart Holyoak
  • Recommended Citation: Gurstelle, Samuel Oral History Interview, March 18, 2002, by Jonathan Gurstelle, Page #, Rutgers Oral History Archives. Online: Insert URL (Last Accessed: Insert Date).
  • Permission:

    Permission to quote from this transcript must be obtained from the Rutgers Oral History Archives. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jonathan Gurstelle: This begins an interview with Sam Gurstelle in West Palm Beach, Florida on March 28, 2002 for the Rutgers University Oral History Archives of World War II. Thank you for participating in the project. Can you tell me a little bit about your parents?

Sam Gurstelle: My parents came from Russia, Poland. They came to New York in 1905. My father worked in the sweat shops as a tailor and witnessing the long hours and terrible working conditions, he became an unpaid organizer for the ALGWU [Amalgamated Ladies Garment Workers Union]. Then when he couldn't find a job anymore, it was because he was blacklisted and the bosses knew he would cause trouble in factories, he became a paid organizer for the ALGWU. He was the general organizer through the years. He was also an organizer ... for the Textile Workers of America, for the stitchers and pleaters and hem union, the Theatrical Custom Workers of America and so on. Later he left that and became a bookseller. He had a bookstore and that was ... his great joy and love were books and, in fact, when he was an organizer in the union for Local 41, it was the first union that established a library. He encouraged the workers to read, to go to school and learn the language of the country, find the culture and become good Americans. That's it.

JG: What were your parents' names?

SG: Julius, and my mother was Sarah Litwin. During the war, she worked as a sewer. I don't know what she was sewing for the army during the First World War. She went to night school, graduated from public school. The family was always one interested in culture and literature, education, politics.

JG: Did your parents meet here or in Europe?

SG: They met in Europe, and, I guess, my father, my father's history, going back. After his bar mitzvah, he went toKiev and became an apprentice to learn to become a tailor. When he was there, he found that the workers were sleeping on tables and not having pillows but wooden ... blocks, which they used for the tailoring, and he organized the first strike. He said to the owners, who although they were distant relatives, he said, "You wouldn't let your children sleep on blocks of wood," and they got pillows. But he didn't want to stay there because he had to sleep in his clothes because you had to have special passes to live in certain cities in Russia during Czarist times. So, the soldiers made raids. You always had to be ready with your clothes, dressed and your suitcase, and get out on the street and walk. ... If they caught you, the soldiers walked you back to the place where you came originally. So he left that for Ekatrinislav. As he grew up, he became involved in the revolutionary movement in Russia, because of the terrible Czarist conditions. When he grew up, he went back to his town. It was in 1905, the Russo-Japanese War, which was very unpopular because the home soldiers had to be sent by the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Vladivostok and it was a one track line going, and there was a lot of opposition, and also he would have been sent into the army. So he married my mother, and my mother had been taking English when he met her, and they fell in love and they went to America. But on the way, when you came to the border between Poland andGermany, you had to steal across the border. You couldn't get through because you didn't have visas, so at night they would be led across the border secretly, and then into Germany. He went to England where there were relatives living there, and then from there he went to America. So that's when he came here in 1905.

JG: That was after the 1905 revolution in Russia?

SG: There was the 1905 revolution in Russia, partly because the conditions caused by the Russo-Japanese War, and also the struggle for the Russian people to have some sort of representative government. They were promised a Duma and they were rejected. There was a big massacre in St. Petersburg in front of the palace where hundreds of demonstrators were killed at the time, that was the 1905 revolution, but he left before that, or during that time.

JG: What did your father do during World War I in the United States?

SG: He was an organizer for the ALGWU. In fact, he opposed the war. He thought it was unfair to divide up forFrance and England the colonies of Germany.

JG: It sounds like your father was very active politically.

SG: He had no political party. He never believed in joining any party. He was an independent thinker, because he would not adhere to any policy of any particular party, which he did not like. But he opposed the war. In fact, he knew Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman [a well-known anarchist leader in the United States during the early 20th century] and people like that who also opposed the war, and they were deported. He opposed the war on principles that it was an imperialist war. We've seen that Woodrow Wilson disappointed at the Versailles Treaty, which divided up the colonies of Germany, and also grabbed the lands of Turkey.

JG: Were your parents religious people?

SG: No, my parents were not religious. No. They believed that religion divided the world even more. They didn't believe in the interpretations, religious interpretations [of the origins of humanity and the universe]. In fact, my father had the Darwin's Origins of Species ... We always had a library, there's a library where he had all the works of great literature ... In fact, he introduced the children in my family, myself, my sisters into the world of literature. When he had the bookstore, he used to direct people from the Frank Merrywells and detective stories, and as they grew up and came, he would direct them towards reading good literature.

JG: He was obviously well read. Did either he or your mother receive any further education when they came to the United States?

SG: No, [they were] self-educated.

JG: Where and when were you born?

SG: I was born in the Bronx on July 20, 1910. That was during the great general strike that went on in New York, and I remember constantly while growing up that there were always flowers in my home because of the strikes that my father led ... flowers were sent [to him]. There were always people coming to the home ... which I can always remember as a child. Then, I think, in 1921, my father left the unions because the gangsters started coming into the unions, and he said he wouldn't work with the gangsters. Those were the times. Then we moved to New Jersey.

JG: What year was this?

SG: 1921, 1922, and '23. I kept changing elementary schools, moving all back. We moved to New York, we moved back to New Jersey. He was called back to organize and then he left and we went back, so I went to about eight elementary schools. We lived in a place where the owner of the house owned stables, called Stonewall Jackson Stables, and he, the owner of the stables, used to get them from the West, break them in, and sell them to the farmers. I used to go with him to Metuchen, to the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and riding a horse to bring those horses back ... When the horses came out, the first one, who's a leader horse, was already broken in, and the others will follow that horse, and we'd go through the towns. He'd go ahead with his old Buick and directed ... make sure the traffic was directed, and we would be riding it down. So, I was brought up in that way. Then we moved to New York. Also, I was interested in music. I played everything. My aunt and my sister took lessons till the age of eight. When I was eight, my sister was older, five years older, she took lessons, I didn't, and I played everything that she played by ear, but I hadn't taken lessons till I was twelve years old.

JG: That was on the piano?

SG: Piano, yes.

JG: Your parents owned the piano?

SG: Yes. There was always a piano in the house, for as far back as I can remember.

JG: Did your father play the piano as well?

SG: No. When we lived in little towns, he organized a little band. I played the piano, my father sang, my sister played the kazoo, and we sang folk songs. We entertained ourselves. That was before radio.

JG: What town in New Jersey did you live in?

SG: North Plainfield, New Jersey. By Watchung down there.

JG: Very close to Rutgers. Is there any other story that you can particularly remember about growing up as a boy in the '20s?

SG: Yes. Our house in North Plainfield was close to a place called Freedom Hill, and workers who had a slack season were off for the summer. So they'd go out to this place for the summer, live very primitively in little huts, dugouts, whatever, and they would all pass by the house and they would always have refreshments on the way from Plainfield, when they'd come from Plainfield, and go up to Freedom Hill. There at night, they used to have camp fires, and singing of folks songs and dancing. In fact, James Cagney had a place right near, next to Freedom Hill, where he used to train as a boxer ... so James Cagney was there in the summertime. Those were beautiful times and all kinds of people came there who were, not only workers, but it attracted musicians and authors and writers and people of all, chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, Rosecrucians, Catholics, every political and cultural ideal. I heard all that, saw all that and listened to all that. That was from 1921 to about 1924. So I came in contact with all these people. In fact, one of the pianist that came there, heard me play and she thought she would teach me piano, so I used to travel always to Brooklyn for lessons, and finally, when we moved, I went to the Third Street Settlement. By that time, I was fifteen years old and I started studying music seriously, piano, seriously at the Third Street Settlement. I was there for several years and then I studied privately, and when I got out of high school, I applied to two places: the Institute of Musical Art , which became part of Julliard, and also NYU. I thought I'd major in history and I went down first to NYU. I was admitted and I applied to register and I was two seats away from registrar's office, and I decided, no, I didn't want to be a history teacher. I took the train up to the Institute ofMusical Art on Claremont Avenue and I took an exam, a performance exam, ear training, and everything else, and I was admitted there.

JG: Did you have to audition for Julliard?

SG: Yes, I had to audition, yes. I played Liszt, and played Beethoven.

JG: You went to high school in New York?

SG: Yes. Thomas Jefferson High School.

JG: Where was that?

SG: That was in East New York, Brooklyn. During the years of moving around in New Jersey, I experienced a lot of anti-Semitism. ... I was singled out, when I riding the bus, they pulled my hair, called me all kinds of names. That was in Sterling, New Jersey. In Plainfield, New Jersey, when I went to school, they would all start up with me ... when I came in with my bike, they'd get the little kids to push me off the bike, and if I hit the little kids, then they all jump on me. So those are the things ... then in the classroom, when I sat down, all the chalk start flying at me, or things like that. The teacher turned around, she saw me standing up, so I was the one that went to the principal's office. So in the principal's office, while I sat there, I read books on astronomy. ... I remember my father was encouraging the books of Sinclair Lewis, Swift and Verne to read. I was in seventh grade ... when we moved toNew York, I went one year in elementary school and graduated finally, and then I went to Thomas Jefferson High School, where the faculty was mixed and there was never a question of anti-Semitism. There was a Doctor Elias Lieberman who was the principal, and he was an idealistic man who wrote poetry. The school was ... the most wonderful period in my life at that time because of the ambiance of the place and the friendliness.

JG: Did you do any activities in high school?

SG: Yes. I was on the debating team. I was in the German chorus. I took French and German languages, and there weren't any physical sports that I can remember.

JG: Did you have a job at that point?

SG: No. I used to give piano lessons [from age sixteen]. In fact, when I was older and going to Julliard ... I also went to City College to take courses in political science, and I got straight As in those courses in City College, at the same time going to the Institute of Music for music theory and composition. Then I got married in 1932, I changed the course to education, music education. [There were also] academic courses that I took at Columbiawhich were used towards the credit, so I majored in composition and conducting music. I graduated in 1935. In fact, when I met my first wife, Jeanne, she introduced me to her mother. She spoke to her mother about me. Her mother said, "What does he do?" So she said, "He gives piano lessons." So her mother says, "With that you make a living?" So she says, "Well, he goes to college." "Oh, that's good." So the concept of education was very strong among Jewish people. I went to college. My last year at Julliard, my wife got sick with cancer, but I still graduated. A couple of years after that [my oldest daughter] Maxine was born, two years later Rima was born. Then when the war broke out, in 1941, I was thirty-one years old. Should I go on with that?

JG: Yes.

SG: Well, when the war broke out, I got the draft number ninety-seven on the draft board number. I was called down immediately. I went for my physical exam and I was 1A. The draft board called me down and they said, "Since you have children, at thirty-one, we'll put you in 2A, but you have to go into defense work." So, I got a job at National Can, carting the bomb casings into their trucks, and that was for two days. Then they took me out and put me in as a timekeeper ... They eliminated the job, so I decided to go the aviation trade high school at night from nine in the evening to one in the morning [for] six weeks to become an inspector. When I got out, I got a job at Sperry's as an inspector, for seventy-five cents an hour. The union said, "for his work he has to have eighty-three cents an hour." That was it. I worked there from eight in the morning till four in the afternoon until we heard that the war was over.

JG: Did you still teach piano lessons at that time?

SG: Yes, after work I gave piano lessons because I couldn't make a living just on eighty-three cents an hour.

JG: Were you aware of what was going on in Europe and Japan before 1941?

SG: Oh, yes. We sent the 3rd elevator [3rd Ave L] in New York City into Japan. They took the elevators down and sent the steel to Japan.

JG: The elevator train?

SG: Yes. Also we were very aware of what was going on with fascist Germany and my sentiments and feelings were for the Soviet Union, but when they signed the pact with Germany my feelings changed.

JG: The non-aggression pact.

SG: Yes. When they tried to say that English democracy was worse than German Facism, that was the end of it. But I always felt that that experiment could have been better.

JG: The Soviet Union you're referring to?

SG: Yes.

JG: You said your father was against World War I, did his isolationist views changed at all by the time World War II came?

SG: Oh, yes. He opposed Nazi Germany and we knew about the things that were going on in Germany with the, at first with the Social Democrats, with the people who opposed them, with the musicians and thinkers and writers and all, and then the Jews. We heard all the things that were going on. The United States refused to take in émigrés at that time, these people who were running away from there. We knew that a ship went to Cuba and then it came here and they turned them away, back to Germany. So you know, those are the things, because Roosevelt himself, he had Jewish advisors, and they felt that the anti-Semitism in this country could blossom because the American Firsters and the German-American Bund in this country, and the Father Coughlins. In fact, Kennedy's, John Kennedy's father ... what was his name?

JG: Joe Kennedy.

SG: Joe Kennedy, yes. He was the Ambassador to England, but he had been doing prohibition rumrunners.

JG: Did you believe the United States should enter the war when it broke out in 1939?

SG: Well, it was called something like the "phony war" or something like that. ... Poland was attacked, then Russiaand then the big front and then Hitler. ... The Nazi's occupied Belgium, Holland and then went south to France,Vichy France, occupied France. We were surprised that France fell so fast because the French had opposedGermany in World War I, and France had [fought] with Bismarck and Germany. All different wars went on. We could go back to Napoleon. I was surprised that the French generals should become part of the Vichy regime. It was disappointing. But the war, we saw Dunkirk and everything, went through that. But then, with Pearl Harbor... I was returning from a piano lesson. I had the radio on and I heard that. That changed the whole course of history, my history, and all, the history of the world, when I first heard of Pearl Harbor.

JG: Did Pearl Harbor in any way change your opinion about what American foreign policy should be at that point?

SG: Well, my American foreign policy was anti-German. It wasn't pacifist at all. I can remember way back when, in the early time, when the students on the campuses took the Oxford pledge against getting to any war in Europe. But the whole situation and everybody's thinking changed, not only with Pearl Harbor but what the Nazis were doing. People never expected that type of human behavior, towards its own people and its neighbors.

JG: Were you ever called up for service?

SG: No, I was in defense work until the end of the war.

JG: Did you have any desire to serve?

SG: I don't know. I had two kids. I had to make a living. I didn't think about it.

JG: Did you or your family benefit from any of the New Deal programs under FDR during the Depression?

SG: Yes. During the Depression ...

JG: Let's discuss the Depression.

SG: The Depression years preceded the World War II. It was 1929, the stock market crashed, and the depression [ensued]. There was also depression in Europe. It was a worldwide depression. It was a deflationary ... an inflationary depression ... in Germany. But in this country, it was I think a deflationary depression because prices fell, but people couldn't buy. I got on the Federal Music Project.

JG: What was that?

SG: That was in 1936. I was on the Federal Music Project. They opened a music school, and with my background, I had taken exams, too, ranking highest on theory and composition, and I became the theory teacher and also conductor in the Prospect Plaza Music Center in Brooklyn, that's near the Grand Army Plaza. We had a couple of thousands students there and also, I became the conductor of Light Opera. At the World's Fair ... my opera company performed at the World's Fair representing the Federal Music Project.

JG: What year was that?

SG: I think it was in 1937.

JG: Do you remember what you performed?

SG: Yes, Bohemian Girl by Balie. ... I was trying to work on something more serious ... but the project folded up.

JG: Is there anything else you want to discuss regarding the Depression?

SG: The Depression years? Yes. Things were bad. People were being put out of their homes. People lost their homes and all that. Well-to-do people lost their homes because ... the banks closed. In fact, my wife's brother was a ... worked in a bank, the Bank of the United States. He was a comptroller and the family had money in the bank. There was a big run on the bank and he said, "Don't go, don't take your money out, this won't look good for me." So my wife's family left the money in and the bank closed because there was a run on the bank. So, it was a terrible situation. People demonstrated. ... [With President] Hoover, there were many demonstrations. I remember on Union Square, different places, and the police would ride their horses and motorcycles, ride into the people, and that was Hoover's way of solving the Depression. But when Roosevelt came in, with a more humane stand, and they started home relief, they started the CCN camps, which sent the young fellows to constructive work in the forests, fields, and wherever. They would give work to architects, everybody, were building post offices, building roads, and building schools and there was an entirely different approach because if it had gone the way of Hoover, there would have been a revolution in this country. But the Rosevelt concept of capitalism with a humane idea, took hold, and the American people were very happy with that. [They were] very thankful because it provided work, provided food, it provided lodging for people and so, it was a very different approach from that of Hoover, which was forceful. Those were the years of the Depression. But somehow, with all that, no matter how the conditions were, people were never really depressed. They never felt depressed. They always felt that ... the sun would be coming up. They always looked optimistically on it. It was never despair or so, no matter what the conditions were. That was very unusual because of the Depression. When it first hit, you know, in Wall Street, they were jumping out of the windows, committing suicide. That was the unbridled capitalism and no controls on Wall Street, when people bought on margin. So, when the market fell, they couldn't come up with the money. ... There was a great over-abundance and until that time, the idea was to destroy the abundance in this country. They dumped the oranges, they dumped the food, but under Roosevelt, they distributed those surpluses. That changed the whole course of our country.

JG: Did you vote for FDR?

SG: Oh, yes. You know, when he died, people cried. I cried, people cried because there was such affection for the man, and, also, there was a great affection for his wife, too, because she was interested in the affairs of the people. In fact, my father knew his wife. He knew her from the trade union where she used to come. That was Eleanor Roosevelt.

JG: Do you remember where you were when you found out the war ended in '45?

SG: Yes. I was in Sperry's and they all called "The war was over, the war is over!" The next day I got a pink slip, and I was the happiest man to have lost a job. So I could now give my piano lessons, and try to get some more pupils and build a good life.

JG: Did you have any friends or relatives who died in the war?

SG: I can't remember now. But I remember, go back to World War I, I remember the neighbors, Gordon, a young man who died. I remember the infantile paralysis that was before that ... and also after the war, there was the influenza. People died right and left all around. People kept dying and dying. I remember World War I when they were training out in Seahead Park, the young men with sticks instead of guns, they were training there before going in. There were pictures, you know, that go through your mind.

JG: What did you do after the war?

SG: I gave piano lessons. Then, let's see, in 1958 I went into the public school system to teach because there was no future in just giving piano lessons, no pensions, nothing. So my first wife said to me at the time, "What are you gonna do all the rest of your life? Piano lessons?" So I went to the school system and I stayed there. My wife [Jeanne] died and I remarried. I went to Europe during the summers, Mexico, and spent the summers abroad or inMexico, and when I got the sabbatical, I went for six months traveling all around Europe, Africa and Asia. [I was] gathering material that I could use in my courses, too, because in teaching music, I always connect music with the culture and history of a country. I did music of Spain, music of France and music of Germany... I never taught music just as a subject, but always associated with art period of the time, how the political and social conditions affected the music and art because art is the reflection of the time in which people lived, art, literature, music and so on. I always connected those things and looked for them in my travels.

JG: Where did you teach?

SG: I taught in Levittown, New York. [I taught] junior high school, [which was] pleasant. The kids had problems, not many, most of kids were very nice, and I got along well with the kids. Some of the administrators thought I wasn't strict enough, but I felt that you can win children with kindness and show that there's an affection, and they will feel that you really love your subject that you're teaching and that you're not just wasting time. You feel that was part of your life, and if they feel that, they come in ... and, of course, there are always a few individuals, in fact, this kid came in late. I said, "why are you late?" "I had to take a test, I didn't finish." So I said to the kid, "How did you make out?" The whole class would burst into laughter and so on. How'd you make out? Of course it had another meaning for the kids than it did for me. So that was it. I got along well with the kids all the time.

JG: Did you live on Long Island as well?

SG: I lived in Westbury [Long Island].

JG: When did you move there from New York?

SG: I don't remember the dates exactly. It must have been after the war.

JG: What was your opinion of the Korean War?

SG: We had no business there. I don't believe in the domino theory... I believe the self determination of people should be determined by the people themselves and not by outside powers trying to interfere. France was driven out of Indochina by Japan. When the French went back, they could not [succeed], their whole officer classes were killed off by Indochina. That was Vietnam and when they went out, we went in. We had no business going in because we've seen that the domino theory didn't work, that China did not go into those areas, and that Vietnam is now our friend ...

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JG: This is side two of tape one of the interview with Sam Gurstelle.

SG: When the French were defeated [at Dien Bien Phu] and left, they couldn't get back into what they called the French Indochina, we went in. We tried to establish governments there that were not popular with the people and that, we finally realized, that the domino theory was just a propaganda myth because the domino theory did not work. We also saw that in Korea. We had no business going there because the Koreans had suffered for many years under the Japanese occupation and persecution, and it was for the Koreans themselves to decide what type of government, what type of social system they wanted to live by, and we tried to dominate that, to establish one. So in Korea, when MacArthur was told not to go beyond a certain point, the Yalu River, because the Chinese could change the course of the war, but they had no business being there in the first place. Of course American foreign policy became an imperialist policy. We tried to regulate what type of governments [there were] in Africaand different parts of the world. In Africa, with Lumumba, who was assigned to establish some sort of a democratic government there, maybe socialist government, or whatever, amongst these people, but we promoted civil war. Then look what's been going on in Angola, which was occupied by Portugal. Portugal had a social government that left there, and when they left Angola, they left with a government there, which the United States fought ... South Africa was not sympathetic with them and encouraged a civil a war there, ... a civil war which has been raging there for years. In Nigeria, the Congo and all these places, when we interfered, our interests [were] in diamonds and gold mines. In fact, has had gold mine interest in Africa. So, those interests grow. So, the United States has played an unpopular part in many of these parts, of these countries. But as I told my grandson that, in spite of our policy, we are not hated in Japan, we're not hated in Vietnam ... but we're hated in the Middle East, hated in Iraq and hated in Iran, hated in places in the Middle East and places in Africa, Egypt, because in Egypt we have sent the military aid to uphold the government but not to improve the living conditions of the people. ... Many of those countries, the living conditions, all the social work they'd done for social services has all been done privately, in education. Even in education, it gets left in the private hands of those who give the money, the ones that influence the political thinking. Egypt has a big population, unemployment, and no hope. So, it becomes revolutionary, but the revolution in what way? It's been a revolutionary of fundamentalism and those are the revolutionary things that even in Saudi Arabia, where young men are graduated with liberal arts degrees from theUniversity of Saudi Arabia have no work. They are unemployed, they are out of work, so what do they turn? They turn to the fundamentalism. The masses of the people are influenced by the mullahs. After the Friday night sermons, when they go out, they are influenced by the fundamentalist ideas of the Muslim religion. As a young man, in my early twenties, I had a friend, who came from that part of India where the Punjab lived, which is nowPakistan. His father was the head of the irrigation, he was a Muslim, and he was supposed to come here and study aviation, but he came here and studied art. He liked to paint pictures of girls or posters on magazines across pages. He was a very close friend ... Sheik Amid, we called him. In fact, I roomed with him for sometime and we're great friends. There was never a question of any religious things. He took it like I took religion: that it was just there. There was no fundamentalism, or anything. That was the time, before the outbreak of World War II, when he was called back to England and I lost track of him. He was a great guy, Sheik Amid. He was the closest friend I had. He was a Muslim. Usually it's the economic conditions, which either religious leaders and political leaders exploit [for power and control over their people] ...

JG: Were you politically active during the 1950s and '60s?

SG: The '50s and '60s? My mind was politically active.

JG: Did you ever demonstrate?

SG: Well, I did go on demonstrations for Depression relief. I did go to Union Square, I did go to the Columbia, for the Oxford, which I later repudiated in my thinking. I remember in City College, they used to speak out on questions of academic freedom, and freedom of speech, so at that time, my mind was mostly philosophic thinking.

JG: How did living through the Depression and World War II help create the person you are today?

SG: Well, it molded my political thinking. I molded my political thinking and my thinking on religion, politics, the relationship of people, and so, the role of government in affecting the lives of people. In one way, I'm a libertarian. In another way, I feel that the government, in our constitution under "general welfare" should mean a great deal more, and it has done that because we have social security, we have Medicare and so on, but we still need advances in medical care for the people, because under general welfare we are very much behind European countries that have much better government services for health of the people. Canada has a health system, which we have said is not so good, but the Canadians, we talked to Canadians, they said they'd never give it up. They say that a person needs an emergency operation or something, the Canadian government pays, otherwise if it's not an emergency, and they will put you on hold until they're ready. So it is a system that they would never give up, neither would the Danes, or the French, or the Italians, so that we have a place. Italy has a better health system than this country. In fact, the social security system, in its wide term, goes way back in Germany when the Social Democrats were advocating that policy, when they were running for government office, and Bismarck stole their thunder and made that his platform and accepted these social services, including free education in universities, and that goes back to the 1880s, '70s. Germany was far ahead of us in that idea. So we are a little late at the things that we should do for the American people. The richest country in the world should also have the best health system. It should have ... a better educational system for the economically disadvantaged because education is important, and many of them are, do not have, the social disadvantaged people usually don't have that drive for education. In fact, the young people discourage some other young people when they see some of the kids want to study and learn, and the others don't, and all most of our social problems come from the underprivileged people. I think our government has much more to do because it is the government of the people, by the people, should be also for the people in its widest term. That the government has the most concern for people is the best government.

JG: Is there anything else you would like to add to this tape?

SG: I can't think of anything now.

JG: Well, thank you very much ...

SG: Oh, yes. [I would like to mention] my interest in musical composition. I was always interested in music composition, but through the years of constantly teaching [I did not have time to write]. It was when I retired I started going to composition and I've written extensively. I think the music is good. The music should not have to be imitative, but it should be expressive of one's feelings and reaction to what one sees and feels, and not to imitate the styles, of course, because the particular style seems to be popular at a certain time. So [I hope that] someday my music appears to the world.

JG: Thank you very much for your contribution to the Archives.

SG: Okay.

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Reviewed by Jonathan Gurstelle 6/20/03

Edited by Ashley Perri 4/7/04

Edited by Samuel Gurstelle 7/7/04

Reviewed by Jonathan Gurstelle 1/11/05