“The special thing is that it exists.”
The New York regulars’ table for emigrants
Feature by Katharina Menschick
Survivors who fled Nazi persecution to the USA have been meeting in Manhattan’s Upper East Side since 1943. In the weekly get-togethers, people eat, laugh and talk together, about culture, politics and personal matters, the past and the present – in person and in German. After the death of the long-time hostess Gaby Glückselig in 2015, Trudy Jeremias took over this role.
19. June 2021, 09:05
“I really wanted to save the regulars’ table and so I still do,” says Trudy Jeremias in her cozy apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The regulars’ table, to which the 95-year-old invites every Wednesday, has existed since 1943. It was founded by emigrants from Germany and Austria. In addition to the language, the regular guests share “memories of similar events in life. Of the flight or emigration and also of the time before 1938,” as Arnold Greissle-Schönberg relates. The grandson of the composer Arnold Schönberg, born in 1923, was, like Trudy, expelled from Austria shortly after the “Anschluss” due to his Jewish origins. Marion House is also one of the regular regulars’ table guests. She recently celebrated her 98th birthday. At the age of 16, she fled Berlin on a Kindertransport.
Over the years, numerous New Yorkers by choice and visitors from Austria and Germany have been included in the round of regulars. Just like the annually changing young volunteers from Austria who record the stories of survivors of the Shoah in interviews for the memorial service association.
The regulars’ table is a fixed point in the everyday life of its members. When face-to-face meetings were no longer possible in March 2020 due to the corona pandemic, it was moved to the Internet. The young historian Katharina Menschick was our guest for over a year and talked to Arnold, Trudy and Marion about their lives.
Editor: Elisabeth Stratka
Oral History Interview with Trudy Jeremias in the Austrian Heritage Archive of the GEDENKDIENST Association and the Wiener Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies: https://austrianheritagearchive.at/de/interviews/person/577
Oral History Interview with Arnold Greissle-Schöneberg in the online archive of the Leo Baeck Institute: https://links.cjh.org/primo/lbi/CJH_ALEPH005558449
Book: Arnold Greissle-Schönberg: Arnold Schönberg and his Vienna Circle – memories of his grandson (Böhlau Verlag, 1998, out of print)
Book: Emil Rennert, Shani Bar On: Almost a ritual – Gaby Glückselig’s regulars’ table for emigrants in New York (Edition Exil, 2015): https://www.editionexil.at/kopie-von-die-kinder-des-genossen-r
Book: Patricia Paweletz: At Trudy Jeremias in New York – An emigrant from Vienna tells (point books, 2020): https://www.punktum-buecher.de/bei-trudy-jeremias-in-new-york/index.php
Stella Schuhamcher: Stammtisch der Sehnsucht (Der Standard, 2019): https://www.derstandard.at/story/2000103732952/stammtisch-der-sehnsucht