Become an Upstander!

Volunteer Opportunities
in partnership with
Jewish Volunteer Connection

Travels with Grace: Heading Home, 1929

Posted on August 13th, 2019 by

Welcome to the next segment of our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Traveling with Grace, which covers the final leg of her 1929 European journey. To read more of Grace’s travels, click here. 

September 22, 1929

Hillman’s Hotel, Bremen, Germany, 1910. Via. 

Sunday. We leave Hamburg at 11:30 a.m. It is very cool after the rain of the past two days. In an hour and a half we reach Bremen and Hillman’s hotel in time for lunch. This afternoon we take a carriage and Mr. Brafman rides with us around the city which is not as large as Hamburg, but the new suburban developments are beautiful, garden spots and so well kept. Also the older residences along the river Weser which look palatial. We ride through the pretty wooded Buerger park with its many artificial lakelets including the Emmasee on which swans disport themselves and note at least one unusual ornamental detail, an arbor trained in the form of a summer house with dome and windows cut into it.

Kornhaus in Bremen, 1929. Via.

We end up at the Market Place, high spot of the city, surrounded by the Rat Haus, Ratskellar, elegant Dom with gold mosaic lunettes on the façade, Borse and the quaint old Gothic Schutling Haus, while in front of the Rathaus stands the statue of Roland, the giant who was Charlemagne’s paladin. Other interesting old buildings are the Essig Haus; the Stadtwaage or Town Scales, with curious gabled façade now used by a broadcasting company; and the Kornhaus, where they used to store up cereals against possible famines. There is a pretty bridge with towers over the Weser.

September 23, 1929

Monday. As it is cold and rainy this afternoon, we spend a couple of hours pleasantly viewing the Lichtspiel at the “Europa Palast” a thoroughly modern and large movie house where we occupy one of the comfortable [loges] at the rear. The decorations and lighting are very effective, in the rather severe modernistic style so popular over here. The feature film is “Der Gunstling von Schonbrunn” in addition to which two excellent comedies, a travelogue and news events are shown. There is a good orchestra.

Germany Volkstrachten aus Schaumburg Lippe Postcard. Via.

Later we go to a new and very nice restaurant “Die Glocke” for dinner. In the same building is a large ballroom and concert hall. On the street we see a woman in a very curious looking national costume and Mother, who is always the most intrepid of our party when it comes to asking questions, found out that she is from Schaunberg-Lippe. Later we go to the Astoria to see the cabaret which is only fair though the place is most attractive. It is open for dancing until 4 a.m.

September 24, 1929

St. Petri-Dom, 1928. Via.

Tuesday. This morning we visit the cathedral (St. Petri Dom) which was begun in 1003. It is a very fine Gothic edifice with beautiful stained glass windows, bronze doors carved with scenes from the two testaments, arched portals, sculpture and a wonderful old stone fort with primitive carving dating from the 11th century. But the curiosity of the place is the Bleikellar, or Lead Cellar, which contains seven old coffins in each of which is displayed a mummified corpse, the oldest of which is said to be 460 years old. They are the color of leather, the teeth in some cases are well preserved and the fingernails also which look shiny. A cat, mummified in the same way, is also showed to the visitors. It looks and feels like leather. The supposition is that certain properties in the air and moisture in this place, probably containing radium, are responsible for these phenomena.

Entrance to Böttcherstraße, Bremen, 1926-1931, by Bernhard Hoetger. Via.

We then walk up the Boettcherstrasse, a small street which is a sort of art gallery where artists have given free rein to the their ultra-modern ideas and fancies in the design and decoration of the very odd buildings which house studios, workshops for various artificers, display rooms, gift shops, taverns, etc. all I the modern trend and quite original. The material used for the buildings, glazed tile, is seen in a variety of forms and colors, the portal over the entrance to the street is adorned with futuristic figures. There are several little courtyards, in one of which is the fountain of the Seven Lazy Men, that quaint legend which tells of the seven who hated work and therefore pave their street so that they need not trouble to dig their wagon if it got stuck in the mud; built a dyke so that they need not save themselves from a flood; planted trees before their house so that they would not have to walk to the woods for shade; dug for a spring in order to save the trouble of carrying water from the river; and in other ways improved their condition that they might enjoy themselves in laziness.

In another part of the street we visit the house of an artist which he charges the public an admission of one mark to see but it is well worth it. Here is a haven for lovers of the antique. There is a kitchen, lined in beautiful tiles from Delft, containing all sorts of ancient utensils in copper, pewter and brass. The open hearth is similarly furnished. The dining room walls are covered with finely painted and embossed leather, the furniture is Florentine, the ceiling cross beams carved and painted. A few rare paintings of old masters are hung up. There is a library in which are gather handsome oriental tapestries and rugs, beautiful silver urns and platters covered with the rich patina of age, a built-in cupboard of carved wood with old and original manuscripts, odd tables and chairs with costly upholsterings. The floors are finely inlaid and on the walls hand wrought brackets containing half burned candles. But there are also concealed electric lights in the ceiling for indirect lighting. An old escritoire is inlaid with squares of ivory etched. A little glass cabinet is filled with tiny doll furniture made of glass and porcelain. A beautiful winding staircase leads to the upper apartments.

We lunch at an old-fashioned tavern across the way and drink our beer out of old pewter mugs with covers on them. Afterwards we visit the demonstration rooms of the Hag Kaffee and later ride out to the factory in the suburbs of Bremen, Stellingen. Here a gentleman shows us through the plant explaining the process of extracting the caffeine from the raw coffee, the roasting, etc. We see a branch of the coffee plant with pretty white flowers and fruit which turns from green to bright red and them almost black. The coffee bean is in the seed which must be taken when the fruit is ripe. There is a greasy substance which must be extracted which hardens like gum. This forms a considerable waste and no use for it ahs yet been found. The caffeine however is refined and sold to drug manufacturers. In a large tiled room (the whole place is spotlessly clean) the visitors are seated at long marble-topped tables and young girls serve Hag coffee, cream, sugar and delicious cakes baked here. They also claim to make their own sugar.

Kaffee Worpswede, 1930. Via.

Then we take the taxi (it being a lovely afternoon) for a ride into the country to Worpswede, an artists’ colony where we see buildings similar to those in Boettchestrasse. Many of the products of the arts are sold here including hand-woven scarves, baskets, lampshades, rugs, pottery, jewelry, etc. There is a large gallery of pictures some of which are quite striking, portraits, still-lifes, and landscapes of the neighboring country which is very pretty. On a high hill in the vicinity the artists have erected a symbolic stone monument to fellow members fallen in the ar.

At the hotel tonight they have the formal opening of their new dining room, also decorated in the modern manner.

September 25, 1929

Bremen (1929) brochure, first and second class. Via.

Wednesday. We leave Bremen at 2:05 p.m. on the special boat train, the best appointed one we have seen on this trip. The buildings of the Norddeutscher Lloyd in Bremen are very imposing. They also have a hospital at which emigrants are examined before embarking. The executive offices are housed in a handsome new building all marble, bronze and gold (shop models in a glass case). The ride to Bremerhaven takes us through pretty farm country and neat rural towns. They take me to the boat on a wheel chair, the seat of which is attached to shafts and is removed form the wheels. On this they carry me up the gangplank.

The “Bremen” is a revelation to us. The social hall in which the life of the ship centers is a long rectangular room, elegant in its simplicity. The lights are concealed in tubes of glass running horizontally around the ceiling. The walls are paneled in dark circassion walnut on which are appliqued cut out figures of brass. The wooden pillars are striped with brass which likewise marks the outlines of the wide windows hung with gray velvet to match the carpet and chair coverings. Chairs, tables and standing lamps are grouped about and above the doorway at each end of the room is a panel of etched wood unpolished. The library is lined with panels about three feet wide each bearing an extract of some well known composition in the following languages: Hebrew, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Egyptian, Sanskrit, Turkish, French, German, English, Italian, Dutch, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, Spanish, Russian, Norwegian, Danish, Polish (20 in all). In the corridors are shops displaying the most tempting and luxurious novelties of all kinds, a flower shop where all the exotic blooms are to be found. There are little fountains built into niches lined with mother-of-pearl, little colored lights playing in the basins. Pictures picked out in mosaics are set into the walls. On the walls of the dining saloon are plaster reliefs of hunting scenes. Also some fine tapestry. In one of the halls is the Market Place of Bremen done in tapestry. In the ballroom small brass bas-reliefs stand out on cream colored walls and table and chairs stand in little elevated loges which encircle the room. The swimming pool of colored marble is chastely plain. The gymnasium opens from it. There are two promenade decks, one entirely closed for the deck chairs, the other open and free of chairs permitting unrestricted exercise. The sun deck is over this. The palm room filled with lovely flowering plants is on the closed promenade. It opens from the bar and here drinks are also served. On the upper sun deck is the Ritz restaurant where meals are served a la carte, though it would be hard to improve on the main dining room. There is also a play room which nursery furniture, a train of cars and representatives from the zoo. And everywhere is the note of solidity and simplicity. Not one gaudy touch or bizarre detail but all distinctly modern and in neutral tones. Porcelain plaques denoting various sports, as for example swimming girl, golfing girl, tennis girl, etc. placed between the windows of the ballroom. On the walls of the children’s room are painted houses and the windows in them light up. There is a shooting gallery where one shoots at moving pictures of animals. Some bowling alleys, billiard rooms, etc. on the top deck. An aeroplane stands on a turn table from which it is catapulted several hours before the ship docks. Among the notables on board are Senator Copeland, Ty Cobb, the Maharajah of Kapurtala, Director Gatti-Cassarra of the Metropolitan Opera, Herr Stinnes, Mrs. And Mrs. Schurman, wife and daughter of the German Ambassador, Mr. and Mrs. Fritz Kreisler, Mr. Carl Laemmle.

September 25, 1929 (4 p.m.)

S.S. Bremen

North German Lloyd Line

We came aboard just in time for tea this afternoon. Concert after dinner followed by dancing.

September 26, 1929

Took passengers on from Southampton about noon today. Sail along in sight of land for several hours and about 7 p.m. passengers embark off Cherbourg. Much excitement in both places. The Schloss’s are on board and Mr. H. Bernheimer. Also some people we crossed with on the “Saturnia” and a couple we met on the “Roma” two years ago. Among the notables are the Fritz Kreislers, Gotti-Cassarra, the wife and daughter of Ambassador Schuerman and a young author of the moment who has been traveling all over the world with one leg and written his memoirs.

September 27, 1929

Much cooler. Saw movie today “When the White Lilacs Bloom Again.” Tonight extra recital by Herr Rotig, violinist whom we met at Marienbad.

September 28, 1929

This morning at 11 in the ballroom, about 75 of us attended Sabbat service conducted by Dr. Silverman of New York who delivered a very nice sermon. This afternoon pretty picture, scenes laid in the alps.

September 29, 1929

The Drake Case, theatrical release post. Via.

Very exciting picture of “The Drake Case” this afternoon. Mr. Carl Laemmle comes to the movies every day.

September 30, 1929

“Broadway” was the feature today, very good. Tonight the farewell dinner and gala evening in the social hall. Souvenirs for all.

October 1, 1929

Docked at 1 p.m. in Brooklyn.

Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. In our next post we’ll jump forward a decade and pick up in 1940, when Grace heads to Mexico! As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Travels with Grace: Algiers, 1929

Posted on May 21st, 2019 by

Welcome to this week’s segment of our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Traveling with Grace. Today Grace shares her first visit to shore in the city of Algiers. As mentioned earlier, Grace’s language and word choices are not always progressive – this entry in particularly contains insensitive and classist language.

July 4, 1929

Algiers, North Africa. When we come out on our balcony this morning a beautiful scene greets our eyes. There on the shore of the blue Mediterranean hangs a diadem of pearls, the white houses of Algiers gleaming softly in the morning sunlight, tapering up to a point on the hills. Soon a number of little boats of every description are swarming around us and little boys and men, almost nude, are diving into the water for coins which are thrown to them. They look exactly like frogs swimming about, their agile bodies browned to a bronzy hue. Then there is laid a long pontoon bridge which is quickly lined with native merchants displaying their several wares, notably rugs, tapestries, articles in copper and brass, curved knives and silver jewelry. Over this bridge we cross to the shore. It is very got in the sun, a dry heat, but pleasant in the shade and when driving. The city is half French, half Arab. The architecture is predominantly Moorish, though in the European quarter the houses are strongly reminiscent of Paris and they even have a park named after the Bois de Boulogne.

The city and harbor of Algiers, Algeria, from Collier’s New Encyclopedia. Volume 1, 1921. Via.

The Arab men wear the long white bernous, white turbans twisted around and around their heads, they are usually bare-footed and wear scraggly beards. The women are also swathed in white (not unfortunately spotless however), their faces veiled up to their eyes, no stockings but high-heeled slippers and a bracelet around each ankle. Nearly all of them carry babies. There are also a number of Turks wearing the red fez. These people are far from clean. Many of the little boys have monkeys on a leash and these are the commonest household pets. I was told they are caught over in the Atlas Mountains where they live wild. The manner of their capture is as follows: being very fond of nuts, they are enticed by gourds filled with this delicacy, into which they thrust a hand. With this hand full of nuts they cannot extricate it and they will not relinquish the prize. Thus struggling they are caught.

Former stronghold of Barbary Pirates, ocean front approach and mosque in distance, Algiers, 1925. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

We visited a carpet factory where oriental rugs are manufactured. Little girls from five years of age up to ten or twelve work at the looms. At each loom are two little girls and one older girl who sits between. They follow their patters with rich and deep colors and make the knots with incredible speed. (It is pitiful to see such tots work but it teaches them a trade and keeps them from mischief or from begging on the streets.) Their long plaits are wrapped closely in strips of cloth, they look like a chinaman’s queue and this is to prevent the hair from getting mixed up with their threads. Some of the little girls are quite pretty in a dark, roguish way. They beg slyly when the forelady is not looking. Next door is a shop where they sell the rugs and also beautifully embroidered shawls, scarves and dresses of the purest wool.

We next visit the governor’s winter palace, archbishop’s palace, Cathedral and Post Office, all handsome structures in the Moorish style, richly ornamented with mosaics in which light blue and gold predominate against a white background, and slender fluted columns of marble. Heavy doors of hard wood are embellished with carvings and large copper nail heads. The walls are covered with lacy arabesques while tall minarets and sparkling domes dominate the exteriors. We ride through the old Arab quarter and look up the little side streets which are in reality narrow winding stairways over which the walls of the houses almost meet. They lead up to the Kasbah or fortifications on the top of the pyramid formed by the buildings.

The Kasbah, 1920s. Via.

Here the natives live in the utmost squalor with no notion of sanitation. The wider thoroughfares are nearly all arcaded as a protection from the dazzling sunshine. Men are frequently seen sprawled out on the pavement fast asleep. We see the flea market where odds and ends of junk are sold and the produce market where the fruits and vegetables look very fine. We see a mosque and a synagogue, both similar in architecture. Most of the Jews look like Turks. On the principal shopping street, Rue de la Marine, are some pretty stores, the Bon Marche being similar to the one in Paris and the women seen in this section look very stylish. The Library, Opera House and National University are very nice buildings. We ride out in the open country, up through the hills where the breeze is blowing fresh from the sea. Here the vegetation is green and abundant. Numerous are the fruit trees of all kinds and there are very pretty farms, one we saw being the property of an American, Lovett Henn. There is a country club and extensive golf course, many of the villas are covered with the brilliant bouqainvillia via. We see the handsome summer residence o the Governor which commands a beautiful view, in fact there are many beautiful panoramas opening up form the hills down to the sea which remind me strongly of Nice and the Cote d’Azur. Palm trees abound and the air is fragrant with mimosa.

Jardin d’Essai du Hamma. Via.

On our way back to Algiers we pass the Pasteur Institute where there are lots of cows and we visit the Jardin d’Essait or botanical gardens where the most beautiful tropical plants and trees are growing in almost wild profusion. There are huge hibiscus trees, magnolia, rubber, banyan bamboo, and a lovely tree bearing yellow flowers and thin fringe-like leaves. A part of the garden is laid out in formal French style copied from Versailles, and they are building a new museum of fine arts which, when completed, will look like the Trocadero. We ride along the Quai. Many of the better class homes facing the sea are closed as the wealthy inhabitants live elsewhere during the summer.

Notre-Dame-d’Afrique, early 20th century. Via.

Crowning a high hill overlooking the sea, is the handsome Byzantine Cathedral of Notre Dame of Afrique Birkadem. Many of the Arab homes have flat roofs which serve as the family sitting room at night and here their poor women can unveil their faces and be comfortable. We go to call on the American Consul but do not find him in.

When we return to the ship, we find it full of visitors, this being its first visit to Algiers, they are holding open house and I think all of the European residents are availing themselves of the opportunity to inspect it. Refreshments are served to all. Tonight, a special dinner is served in honor of the 4th of July and the table are decorated with little Italian and American flags. Ice cream is served every night after the dance.

July 5, 1929: We are at sea again and this afternoon sight the Island of Sardinia. Tonight is the Captain’s dinner. Ship treats all to champagne.

Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. Next week we pick up with the family as they visit Naples. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Travels with Grace: Steaming Away, 1929

Posted on May 14th, 2019 by

Welcome to this week’s segment of our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Traveling with Grace. This week Grace and her family embark on a long summer journey east across the ocean, beginning in northern Africa and working their way through parts of Europe.

 Going: June 25, 1929

S.S. Saturnia: Cosulich Line

Cut-away printed in 1927, before the maiden voyage, by Arti Grafiche Modiano of Trieste. The ship portrayed is the Saturnia.” Via

Golda and Meyer were here to see us off. This boat is sumptuous, and everyone is courteous from the captain who introduced himself and offered his services to the little boys who bow us into the elevator like tiny courtiers. There is a gorgeous swimming pool all lined in stone mosaics copied from Pompeii, a wonderful gymnasium fitted with all sorts of apparatus, a children’s play room with every kind of toy to delight the hearts of kiddies and a fascinating painted frieze, a solarium furnished in yellow, red and white which radiates brightness and our own little private balcony where we spend many hours of rest and quiet contemplation.

“The indoor swimming pool, in Pompeian style, the work of Gaetano Moretti.” Via

June 30, 1929

Fencing in the gymnasium. Via

About 2 pm we sight some rocky islands, the Azores, which provide a slight variation to the watery distances of five days duration. There is a travel movie every afternoon in addition to a comedy (after lunch a fine concert on deck), a every night horse races and fencing after which refreshments are served.

July 2, 1929

This afternoon we watch some very amusing games in the 2nd cabin.

July 3, 1929

Gibralter, 1929. Spanish town of La Linea can be seen in the distance. Via.

This a.m. we steam into the harbor of Gibraltar to let a party off on a private yacht. Good view of town from deck of Saturnia. Mask ball tonight.

Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. Next week Grace and her family make landfall in Algiers! As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Next Page »