|Moses Arnoldi:||Born in Friedland, Germany August 3, 1887
Deceased in Sosúa October 9, 1971
|Margaretha Arnoldi nee Kirstein:||Born in Answalde, Germany January 28, 1893
Deceased in Sosúa December 28, 1967
Children: Ernst, Lothar, Ruth
Grandchildren: Daniel, David, Frank
Moses Arnoldi lived in Berlin, Germany from 1931 to 1941. He and his wife Margaretha had three children, Ernst, Lothar, and Ruth. Life became very difficult after Hitler came to power, and in 1933, although he was a butcher by profession, he was only able to work as a gardener at the Weissensee Cemetery. Eventually, food was rationed, the family was forced to wear the yellow star, and Ruth, like other Jewish children, had to attend a Jewish girls’ school. They weren’t allowed to participate in normal activities and could leave their home only during certain hours. A woman who owned a store nearby gave them meat and other necessities in exchange for silver and crystal. In 1940, Ernst, the eldest son, died in a concentration camp.
Bruno Kirstein, Margaretha’s brother, had gone to Sosúa. Moses, Margaretha, Lothar and Ruth, as well as another brother of Margaretha, Arthur Kirstein, left Germany on October 14, 1941 to join Bruno in the Dominican Republic. They left on the last train possible as the following day a decree went into effect which stipulated that anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 would not be allowed to leave Germany – until then, the age limitations had been from 18 to 45. Lothar and Ruth were under 18 and Moses and Margaretha were over 45. They spent one night in Spain and then 3 weeks in Lisbon, Portugal, in great fear that Hitler’s troops would march into Portugal before they would be able to leave. On November 10, they boarded the Serpa Pinto, a 9000-ton ship. They slept in bunk beds set up in the luggage compartment where the sailors were able to look down on them. Everybody was seasick. After being 3 weeks at sea, they arrived in Santo Domingo and went on to Sosúa.
Life in Sosúa was good – it was free of fear. When the Arnoldis first arrived, they lived in Ferrocarril with Margaretha’s brothers, Bruno and Arthur Kirstein. They later got their own house in Atravesada. This was too far for the guagua (bus) to pick up Ruth on a daily basis, so she lived instead with someone else in the Batey where she could attend school, work and train in the hospital afternoons to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.
Sometime in the mid-1940s, Moses began to lead religious services, following the departure of the settler previously in charge of services. He continued to lead services for several decades. Lothar left for the US in 1947, where he passed away in 1981. Ruth, who became a nurse, married Dr. Herbert Kohn who had come to Sosúa with the Swiss group. They and their son Daniel moved to the US in 1951 (see Herbert and Ruth Kohn). Moses and Margaretha eventually moved to the Batey. Margaretha passed away in 1967 and Moses passed away in 1971, both in Sosúa.
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