Markus, Fanny, Jacob, Hermann, and Paul.
Many years ago, in National City, California just on the edge of where 805 and Sweetwater Rd are now, was one of the best egg farms. Fanny, with her beautiful smile, would greet customers selling the freshest eggs, even allowing children to play with the baby chicks. South Bay was growing and was the perfect location for a freeway to be built. Due to this the Schauder family relocated to San Diego, as the government took over their egg farm by imminent domain. They continued their visits to South Bay to visit and join in on Jewish activities.
After the family lost their egg farm, they pulled together just enough money to purchase a property in Kearny Mesa. They initially intended on opening a furniture store similar to Kaufhaus Schauder that was once owned in Germany. In the end, the family decided against the route of a furniture store and instead opened their liquor store. Paul and Fanny worked in the store full time and Jacob worked part time as he was also in the Air Force. The liquor store was a big success and the family would provide wine to be used for the Jewish holidays.
The Schauders originally came from Worms , German. Markus Schauder served in World War I for Germany and because of this he believed his family would be safe as he had proved his loyalty to the country. Fanny, Markus’s wife, was hesitant and wanted to move her family to Israel, but since Markus was so set on staying, she made the most of his decision. Together the family owned Kaufhaus Schauder, a department store, selling largely furniture and other expensive goods.
Everything changed November 10, 1938: Kristallnacht. That night Kaufhaus Schauder was destroyed and Markus was arrested by the Gestapo. Paul was just seven years old when the war began, and he had a long seven years ahead of him filled with many close calls and fear of whether there would be a tomorrow. The night that Markus was arrested, Fanny sent Paul with bread to bring to his father in the jail cell. He arrived and was mocked by the Gestapo when he asked to see his father, but finally after much humiliation Paul was permitted to see him. Little did young Paul know, he would never see his father again. Markus was murdered on March 28, 1942 in the Concentration Camp of Buchenwald. Paul was forced to become a man at just seven years old.
The next three months Fanny and her sons stayed in a small apartment next to a cemetery. After 3 months, the family was given notice that they had to leave the city because as Jews they did not have the proper permits to be living in Worms.
After being forced to leave the apartment, Fanny found a job for herself in Berlin working in a medical clinic. Her sons stayed in a Jewish orphanage in Frankfurt from March 1939 to autumn 1942. Inside the orphanage the children were able to practice Judaism and celebrate the important holidays along with weekly Shabbat. Fanny arranged to move her children from the orphanage in Frankfurt to an orphanage in Berlin, which was about thirty minutes from the clinic she worked in. Fanny was able to visit at times and constantly drilled in her children’s minds that “if they were ever faced with a threat they had to run.” In August 1943, the Gestapo arrived at the orphanage in Berlin that Paul and his brothers were living in. Jacob and Paul knew they had to escape, but Hermann, a rule follower, refused to leave. This sealed his fate, and he later was murdered in the Concentration Camp of Auschwitz.
After Paul and Jacob left the orphanage, they found their mother at the clinic, and this night marked the beginning of their underground life. That night, they illegally removed their yellow Jewish stars that they had sewn into their clothing. Paul took on a new identity, Hans Schmit, so that he would fit better into the German life. They hid in various locations such as train stations, apartments, and, most importantly to Paul and Jacob, the barn in Ettlingen.
Throughout the war, Paul and his family experienced many close calls. Fanny sewed money into her clothing that would later be necessary for the survival of herself and her boys. One of Paul’s close calls was when he was hiding in an apartment in Berlin with other Jews. At the time, he was the only member of his family in the apartment, and the Gestapo had arrived to round up and arrest all of the Jews. Paul thought fast and went into the bathroom, where he noticed a metal tub high up on a ledge. He hid under the tub until he was sure that the building was vacant. When he climbed down, he found the doors to the apartment sealed as the Nazis did when they left the building vacant. Paul narrowly escaped the Nazis, and would experience many similar situations throughout the rest of the war. The most important hiding spot for Paul and Jacob was the barn in Ettlingen. This barn was owned by Otto Hoerner, who Paul called his “Non-Jewish Angel,” and his family. The barn was located on an acre of land and due to its remote location, was an ideal hiding spot. Paul and the other Jews hiding in this uninsulated barn lived through freezing conditions with a variety of rodents. Being the smallest and least suspicious, Paul was often sent to fetch the food, which was a particularly dangerous task. In 1945, Paul and Jacob were liberated and reunited with their mother by two Jewish soldiers and Rabbi Abraham Haselkorn who was a U.S. military chaplain.
Paul, Jacob, and Fanny had miraculously survived the war and yet so many struggles lay ahead. For the next year, the family remained in Germany in an apartment. Paul worked for the American Red Cross where he filled 30 gallon barrels with scalding hot coffee that he brewed. It was a miracle that Paul befriended a Captain in the American Zone, Albert Hutler. Captain Hutler contributed greatly to getting the family back on their feet and became a father figure to Paul. Paul was also given a dog by Captain Hutler, whom he named Seppel, in order to give him something to care for and learn how to love again.
It was Captain Hutler that arranged for the family to come to the Untied States. By September 1946, everything had been arranged for the family’s journey, and that month a military ship, the Marine Marlin, left Germany with Paul, Jacob, and Fanny aboard. It was a ten day journey with hammocks for beds and Paul was seasick the entire time. In time, the Schauder family passed the Statue of Liberty, which for Paul represented freedom and pride, and they came through the port of Ellis Island. After arriving in the United States, Paul moved to Chicago to stay with Captain Albert Hutler and his family. Captain Hitler and Paul eventually came to San Diego.
Paul remained with the Hutlers through that year until Fanny and Jacob moved to San Diego. The Schauder family was once again reunited, yet so much of who they were had been destroyed. Paul toiled to complete his education in San Diego and in 1956 he graduated from San Diego High School. He went on to further his education at San Diego State University where he earned a degree in accounting in 1960. While in college, Paul provided for his family by working at a Jewish bakery at night in Downtown San Diego
In the year 1961, Paul met the woman of his dreams, Joan Wolff. Paul was given Joan’s phone number while delivering eggs to the local Kosher butcher. Joan was born October 8, 1941 and she grew up in Argentina. In the year 1956, Joan, at the age of fourteen, immigrated to the United States with her family, where she too had to begin her life from scratch in a foreign country where she did not speak the language. They were married on July 15, 1962 at Beth Jacob Synagogue in San Diego.
Paul and Joan had three children together, Margo, Mark (who was named for Paul’s father, Markus), and Yael. Paul Schauder passed away on January 19, 2019 after a brave battle with cancer.
Today, Paul’s granddaughter, Talia Schauder, speaks to schools and organizations about her grandfather’s history and the Holocaust. The next generation must be heard.