Post World War II

Binghamton, New York

Elkan Speyer had family who had managed to escape from the Netherlands to the United States in the late 1930’s before the German occupation. They were willing to help sponsor Mina, Elkan, Philip and Regina with their move to the U.S. The United States had quotas for the number of immigrants allowed to come to America from various countries. Once the family was notified they were eligible to immigrate, their sponsor then had the responsibility of promising that the family would have living and work accommodations when they arrived. Everything came together in January 1953, and the family made the 11-day voyage from Rotterdam, Netherlands, to the Port of New York, and finally on to their sponsoring family in Binghamton, New York. The newly immigrated family began to settle in, with Mina taking care of the home and Elkan starting his new job at a scrap metal yard.

Philip was twelve years old and started as a seventh grade student at Port Dickinson School in Binghamton. Not knowing more than a limited number of words in English, it was a struggle. However, he had a wonderful English teacher, Miss Brookes, who helped him through that time. She made a pencil drawing of him that he kept for many years as a special memento. Fortunately Philip experienced very little anti-Semitism in Binghamton, but he was occasionally called a “Dirty Jew.” A short time later the family moved to the adjacent town of Johnson City, New York, where Philip completed junior high school at C. Fred Johnson. Since he was turning 13 years of age, it was time to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah, which he did at the end of May 1953. He had some difficulty communicating with the Rabbi, because he was still learning English and also learning his prayers in Hebrew. Despite the challenges, the event was still successful.

Philip attended Binghamton Central High School and as a teenager worked at Hall Printing part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer. He earned $1.00 per hour melting lead in the printing plant. In his senior year of high school he was promoted from the plant to the office, where he eventually became a salesman.

In December 1958, Philip simultaneously became a citizen of the United States and joined the U.S. Army Reserves. He completed active duty in six months at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and then became part of the reserves for an additional five and a half years. In the same year (1958), Philip was formally adopted by Elkan Speyer, so he became Philip Pach Speyer. He attended Broome Technical Community College as a Marketing Management major and graduated in 1961. He continued his work as a salesman at Hall Printing, and five years later became sales manager. In 1967, he changed course and became a stockbroker in San Francisco, California, for Bache and Company. He underwent management training and had forty brokers working for him.

In October 1984, his mother Mina Speyer passed away at age 69. The following year, in October 1985, his stepfather Elkan Speyer passed away at age 72.