grew up in Austria, in Europe. My father and I came to this country,
because of Hitler. I lived through part of the Nazi period. Well, it's
a very complex story, but basically speaking, they really wanted to get
rid of us, but it was difficult to find a place to go. So it took a lot
of effort just to get out. I was a boy at that time, yes. Well, you
know, not a small boy, but a fairly grown boy, you know.
So many of my family wound up in concentration camps. I spent just a
few weeks, fortunately. It was an uncertain time, you know. You didn't
know who might survive, and only after the war did you find out who
For us personally, for myself and my father, we both knew where we
were. My mother got stuck in Vienna during the war, and then after, she
came. But very much of my family perished because of the Nazis.
I came here because I was going to work for the L.A. Unified School District, high school teacher.
DBG: Teaching history?
MARK: General social studies, but yes,
history is one of the prime things in it. Geography and world history
some economics. I spent only a few years of teaching and then I was
assaulted by a student and that ended my career. The district falsified
the records, the principal falsified the report. It became a very
complex situation where I was involved with litigation with the school
district for many years, and they turned out to be absolutely a bunch
of crooks and a bunch of hoodlums.
DBG: Were you assaulted on school property?
Yes. And the falsification was, there was a claim that I has said that
I was assaulted on the way home, off the school property, and in fact I
was assaulted by one of my students in my own classroom. And then the
school district simply said, "Sorry, the principal's report is the
official report, that's all that counts. We will not investigate, this
is what we accept to be true." And I said, "It's a lie." You know, he's
just simply fabricating something for whatever his purpose is. I never
thought that this could happen to me in a country that claims -claims,
mind you - that it's a country of laws. Because this was a total
perversion of justice, to this day. It just wiped out years of my life.
To this day I have a judgment against the school district, which was
affirmed by the Court of Appeal, and I have not received five cents,
despite the fact that there is a judgment that is affirmed by the Court
of Appeals. They simply ignore completely what the law says, they
completely ignore what the court said. It's astounding what a total
perversion of law this is.
DBG: So this has no doubt affected the way that you're living out your later years.
Yes, of course, because it limited my income very severely, and in
consequence to this I'm really living a rather poverty circumstance.
DBG: Do you have family here too?
MARK: No, no, I don't have anybody here.
DBG: There's a bit of a social aspect to coming here [to the senior center].
Yes, there's a little bit of that, yes. But of course the primary thing
here is you get a complete meal for a reasonable price. You probably
couldn't cook up a meal for yourself that is balanced, and has a
complete aspect of various kinds of food groups. In that case, it
becomes really my main meal for the day.