Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Hans N. Tuch
TUCH: I had to rehabilitate my capability, so to speak, because when I came to the United States at the age of 14, I came to my mother's family in Kansas City in the Midwest, and as a 14 year-old stuck in a family where only one uncle spoke German—everybody else did not speak German, they only spoke English—I was thrown into a midwestern American atmosphere and, as a 14 year old boy, I wanted to learn English, I wanted to conform, and I wanted to do as everybody else did and I didn't want to be different. So I tried to learn English quickly, and I didn't really speak German even after my mother arrived three years later, and she and I started communicating in English. I was very adamant that I will not speak German, at that time.
Joined Foreign Service In 1949 About Time Of Inauguration of HICOG
I joined the Foreign Service in 1949 and my first assignment was in Germany. So although I understood everything that was being said and I felt I spoke German, my German was that of a 14 year old boy. Here I was an adult trying to communicate in a sophisticated adult manner; yet, my German vocabulary was that of a school boy. I didn't realize that and it was initially quite frustrating. It took, I think, two or three years before I was able to catch up in my German to the age at which I was communicating. I did manage after a while, but it took some time.
I was hired into the Foreign Service in October 1949 in Germany. At the time I had been working for the Chase Bank in Stuttgart. At that particular moment, U.S. Military Government was phasing out. The German Federal Republic had been established, and the State Department was moving in to take over under John J. McCloy, who became the U.S. High Commissioner. The State Department was taking over all the jobs and facilities that had previously been handled by military government and they were hiring people on the spot.
The Story Of Entrance Into Amerika Hauser Program
I was told it would be easy to get a job by various friends that I had made in Stuttgart, friends with the American Consulate General in Stuttgart. They said, “You just go up to Frankfurt and talk to a man by the name of Glen Wolfe, and he will find you a job.” I went to Frankfurt, and I was immediately sent out to Bad Nauheim near Frankfurt, where a Mrs. Patricia Van Delden was in charge of the America House program in Germany.
I didn't even know what an America House was when I was sent out to see her and to be interviewed by her. Interested in making a change, I went out there cold, and—this is a little anecdote—I was ushered into the office of a man by the name of Max Kimental, who was introduced as Mrs. Van Delden's deputy. She couldn't see me, she was busy, he would interview me. We started chatting and he received a telephone call, and he interrupted our conversation and said, “Excuse me for just a few moments, I have to go to a very brief conference and I will be back in ten minutes. Make yourself comfortable. Here on the table are things to read, whatever you want to read, make yourself at home.”