Regulator Clock

Clock-face showing M.Ullmann and La Paz
Clock-face showing M.Ullmann and La Paz

 My great-grandfather Mano Ullmann fled from Vienna, Austria, in 1938 following the Nazi annexation of Austria and Kristallnacht, using visas forged by the night custodian at the Bolivian embassy. To make a living in South America, Mano Ullmann, continued his work as a watchmaker and was able to run a clock store out of the front half of a room off the lobby of a hotel. His whole family of four lived behind a curtain in the rear of the room. A customer brought my great-grandfather a regulator wall clock and said that nobody had been able to fix it, if my great-grandfather could fix the clock, he could keep it. My great-grandfather repaired the clock and proudly put his name, as well as the name of the city "La Paz" on the clock face. The clock remained on display in his "store" and followed the family to New York City when my great-uncle Walter received an offer to immigrate and join the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer. The watchmaking and repair business grew in the United States, and my family opened a store at 48 West 48th Street in Manhattan. Front and center in their showroom was the "La Paz" clock, which served as a reminder of perseverance and not only my great-grandfather's pride in his trade but our family's story of survival. Heirlooms such as the clock serve as tools to connect with my family's immigrant past. 

Place(s): Vienna, La Paz, New York City
Year: 1938

– David K Stack

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant