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Noah Aaron

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Noah Aaron was born in Cleveland, OH in 1996 and has lived in Michigan and Minnesota. He is a student at the University of Minnesota.

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0:04:53

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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My name is Noah Aaron, and this is a picture of me when I was around one and a half years old. I was born and raised in Cleveland, OH and moved to Michigan when I was around eleven years old. Being mixed race, both Korean and German, I was not always aware of my rich German heritage until my father, my sister, and I gained German citizenship. My personal connection to the past comes through my Oma and Opa, Marianne and Ronald Aaron. To even begin to scratch the surface of my grandparents' story, we need to go back at least 120 years, to Mannheim, Germany.

The man seated on the far left is my great-great-grandfather, Leopold Rothschild. Leopold was one of eight brothers. There was Daniel, Simon, Salli, Alfred, Mortiz, Hermann, David, and Leopold. These photos ran in a German propaganda newspaper after the war was over. The title reads: Acht jüdische Brüder im Weltkrieg, Eight Jewish Brothers in the World War. Miraculously, even though all eight brothers served on the front lines and in the trenches, all eight survived the Great War.

Returning home to Mannheim, my great-grandfather married and had a child, Selma Rothschild, my great-grandmother. Selma married my great-grandfather, Hugo Adler. He was a Belgian-born German man who was very prominent in the Jewish community in Mannheim. The compositions he wrote for his synagogue are still used by many Jewish organizations around the world and in the United States. Hugo and Selma settled down and had two children: my grandmother and my great-uncle, Marianne and Samuel Adler. The Adlers were happy in Mannheim, but that peace was interrupted by the rise of the Nazi party and the events of Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938. This was the Mannheim Synagogue as it stood before it was destroyed on Kristallnacht. It was a gorgeous building, and stood as a cultural hub for the Jews of Mannheim. This is how the building appeared after the tragic events of November 9. After visiting the destroyed temple the next morning, my great-grandfather decided that the Adlers needed to flee Germany. Gathering themselves quickly, the Adlers boarded a ship similar to this one and fled to America. Arriving in the United States, my family settled in this house in Worcester, Massachusetts. At the time, my grandmother was around ten years old.

The little boy with the curly hair is my grandfather, Ronald Aaron. The Aarons were originally the Aronovitzes, Jews who came from an area between the Ukraine and Russia. Raised by Barney and Gertrude Aaron in Worcester, my grandfather has one brother, Hugh. He's pictured here in his Navy uniform after returning from combat in the Philippines. My grandfather later served in the Air Force, drawing technical blueprints for aircraft. He later worked as an architect and interior designer. Even though they went to the same high school, Ronald and Marianne didn't meet until the summer after senior year. They quickly fell in love and got married.

A few short years later, my dad, Richard, and my two uncles, David and Johnny, were born. Even though they were raised in a typical suburban Connecticut neighborhood, my father and his two brothers understood the importance of Judaism to our family history. Today, both of my uncles are Judaic scholars and rabbis. That's my dad in the middle. My father continued the musical tradition of my great-grandfather Hugo and became a professional cellist.

I would have loved to go into more detail about the Korean side of my family, but sadly, my grandmother was an orphan and very little photography and documentation exists to be able to tell that story.

From Leopold Rothschild to Richard Aaron, from Mannheim, Germany to Minnesota in the United State, this is the Aaron family story. This is my story.