Thursday, April 14, 2011

Remembering Roosevelt

When I was very young in Vienna, my nanny took me to see the triumphant entrance of Adolph Hitler into the city where he once led an impoverished life. The crowds were huge and hysterical with joy. I was too young to understand that he was a threat to my life, but my mother, knowing better, escaped to New York with me.

Six years later,  in 1944 I stood in the rain on Broadway along with a sparse crowd. President Roosevelt was running for a fourth term. As he drove by in an open car we let out a cheer for the President who, looking quite ill, would die just months later.

Tenement Museum Educator Dorothea Scher

Whenever I bring a group of visitors to the Baldizzi apartment at 97 Orchard Street, I see Roosevelt’s photograph on the wall and am reminded of the heroic status he achieved by carrying this nation through the great depression. As a new American, Roosevelt represented the best of this country to me, so I know why Sadie and Al hung his photograph on their wall.

Dorothea Scher arrived in New York as an immigrant, so she is naturally very attached to the Tenement. She experienced some of the things we talk about on our tours and so she enjoys sharing. She has much more fun being retired than being an agent for commercial photographers, something she did for quarter of a century. Dorothea has also volunteered at the Morgan Library, among other institutions, which is a very different venue from 97 Orchard.

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