American Experience

Buffalo, New York

"I had envisioned Buffalo, which was to become my American home, as a utopian city beneath an ever-blue, brilliant sky, and had dismissed Paris, London, and New York, my way stations to this Utopia." (Klein, 248)

After Kurt and Gerda got married in Paris, France, they traveled across the Atlantic Ocean for the United States. They arrived in Buffalo, New York on August 30, 1946, to start their new lives together. (Klein, 248) In several interviews, Gerda talks about the fact that Kurt stated when they arrived in New York that he would no longer speak to her in German. She states that he said that she could speak German to him, but he would only respond to her in English. It was a way for her to learn the language faster and to become integrated into American culture. In several of the interviews, Gerda has stated that this was the wisest decision that Kurt ever made for her. (Klein, USC Shoah, Segment #135)

While settling into her new life in the United States, Gerda decided that it would be beneficial to her healing to write about her experiences during the Holocaust. In 1957, the first printing of her memoir, All But My Life, would be available to the public. She eventually started to travel to the local schools to talk about her book and her experiences. Since then Gerda has received thousands of letters from students that she has met or that have read her book about the inspiration she has given them.

Gerda and Kurt enjoyed their life with their three children and eight grandchildren.(Klein, 253) As time passed, some of the kids would move out of New York to Arizona. It was time for Gerda and Kurt to make the decision to venture out of their comfort zone of New York to move closer to their family in Arizona.