Chana Auerbach Isaacs

Note: Because Chana Isaacs was a baby and then a very small child when the events in Germany, Holland, England, and arrival in the U.S. took place, the record of her childhood was mostly told to her by her parents with few memories of her own. (See also entry for Rabbi Selig S. Auerbach and Hilde Fromm Auerbach).

Chana Isaacs was born Hana Helene Auerbach see also on March 28, 1937, in Recklinghausen, Germany, to Rabbi Selig Sigmund Auerbach and Hilde (Fromm) Auerbach. Selig was the rabbi of the town and the district rabbi for the surrounding area. Chana' s parents met when her father came to Recklinghausen as an assistant rabbi to Rabbi Breuer. One of his duties was to advise the synagogue's youth group. Hilde Fromm was its president and she was not at all impressed with the new young rabbi and his ideas. However, with a little help from Hilde's mother over Shabbat lunches and dinners, the two eventually became engaged and then married.

Life for Jews in the 1930's had become very difficult. Socializing took place mainly in people's homes or at the synagogue's social hall. Young people would amuse themselves by giving recitals or performing little plays. Travel was restricted for Jews, who were not permitted to go on vacations or to spas. Most Jews considered themselves loyal Germans, and felt that these little inconveniences "would pass" as they had before. Kashrut was difficult to maintain because kosher butchering was no longer allowed. Rabbi Auerbach had to import kosher meats and chickens from sources in Holland. Since Recklinghausen was close to the Dutch border, Rabbi Auerbach and another gentleman from the shul would drive to Holland and pick up the meat orders for the Jewish community every month. Traveling frequently across the border, he established good relations with the border guards.