Margaret Salomon (b. 1910)
Margaret Muller Salomon was born in Dusseldorf, Germany on May 5, 1910. Her parents were Simon and Flora Muller, and were both born in 1878. Margaret had two brothers: Hans and Walter. Simon owned a men’s store with 30 to 50 employees. During World War I, Flora ran the store while Simon was serving in the war. Simon was a prisoner of war in Africa for three years, and even after the fighting was over it took several months for him to be released; he was later given the Iron Cross. The family kept holidays, but could not keep Sabbath at home due to the store. They belonged to a Reform synagogue.
Margaret was often sick as a child, and would have to stay home from school, so a tutor would come to her house. After graduating, she went to Switzerland for a year to study French. Growing up she does not remember much antisemitism, other than one teacher who would not give Jewish children good grades. Margaret was married to her first husband in 1934. After two years, her husband left Germany for Chile. Margaret did not join him and got a divorce.
The family’s apartment and store were both damaged during Kristallnacht, and they were given notice they had to sell the store within one week. Margaret, one of her brothers and a friend got visas to go to Bolivia; Margaret and her friend Walter Salomon went in 1939 but her brother was held back due to paperwork. He joined them six months later. Margaret’s other brother was temporarily jailed after Kristallnacht, and then got a visa to go the United States. Their parents did not want to leave Germany, but told the children to apply for visas first and if it turned out well, the parents would join them. The parents sent a letter in 1942 that they were being sent to the camps, where they were killed.
In Bolivia, Walter worked as a piano player in a restaurant, and they also started a laundry business after Margaret’s brother’s arrival. After five years living in Bolivia, they all moved to Argentina, where Margaret and Walter were married. Margaret’s brothers both moved to Oregon, and Margaret and Walter joined them in 1949. They worked in sales. The couple did not have children, and Walter died in 1986 from cancer.