Alfred Apsler (1907-1982)
Alfred Apsler was born in Vienna, Austria to Hermann and Helene Pasternak Apsler. Hermann was an accountant. He studied German and history at the Matura on Erzherzog-Rainer-Gymnasium and received a PhD in education in 1930 from the University of Vienna’s College of Education. While still in high school, Alfred became very active with a group of Socialist students called the Roten Falken (Red Falcons). He remained an ardent Socialist all of his life. After university he began working for the Socialist newspaper Arbeiter-Zeitung. He published articles and advocated for the development of children's libraries.
After the “February Uprising” of 1934, the Austrian Socialist Party was dissolved and all Socialist activity was banned. The Arbeiter-Zeitung was taken over by a left-wing faction of the Conservative movement. Alfred quit the paper and took a series of odd jobs, including private tutoring. For the school year 1937-38, he was hired by the Israelite Cultural Community as an elementary school teacher where he became increasingly involved in the Jewish community and in the Zionist movement.
As part of his Zionist activity, he was invited to speak before a group of Jewish women activists in 1935 where he met his wife Erna (Ernestine Gerson), who was a medical student. They were married in 1936 and fled in October 1938 to Switzerland. In 1939 they emigrated to the USA. Alfred became a US citizen in 1945. They had two children: Robert, born in 1943, Ruby Mae 1946.
In America Alfred was first librarian at Duke University in North Carolina (1940-43). From 1943 to 46 he was high school teacher in Portland, Oregon. From 1946-56 he was a college professor in Longview, Washington and then to 1973 at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, head of the historical department and lectured in comparative religion. Likewise Alfred dealt with the problems of aging, gerontology and was the organizer of university courses for seniors. He was also a freelance writer and he wrote a series of historical biographies for young readers, including works about Nehru, Samson, Wertheimer, and Marx.