"Anyone can go to the Holocaust museum [in Washington DC] but not everyone gets this experience." ~A. Speitel (student, 17)
You can easily download and print Ralph's biography here (pdf)
Ralph Franklin was born in 1928 in Schlochau, Germany. His father was an office manager in the family’s business. Ralph attended both private and public schools up until 5th grade.
During Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938, Ralph’s teacher told him to return home because he was prohibited from attending a public school. When he arrived home the Gestapo was arresting his father and uncle. They were sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
His father was released in February 1939 after the US Consulate in Berlin sent a letter requesting an interview for emigration. His great uncle in the United States offered to sign an affidavit, agreeing to financially support the family.
In April 1939, the German government forced his parents to sell the family business. His grandmother sewed the proceeds into her clothes and the family moved to Berlin.
Shortly before the war began in September 1939, Ralph’s uncle was able to flee to England but was quickly arrested and interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien.
In late January 1941, the US Consulate informed them that their quota number had been reached and to appear in order to be given passports and Visa’s to enter the United States.
The train left Berlin on March 11th and traveled through occupied France, then Spain to Lisbon, Portugal. Ralph was limited to two suitcases.
The ship arrived in New York Harbor on April 3, 1941 and his family moved to Philadelphia soon afterwards. He was 13 years old. He attended Clymer Elementary School, Cooke Junior High School and graduated from Central High School in 1946.