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Lori Rottenberg

1940 Census

(for my grandparents, Margot and Sigmund Rottenberg)

America swings and boogie-woogies, the Depression done, while Margot Rottenberg works 40 hours per week as a copyist for a ladies’ hat manufacturer, just as she did in Berlin, for $1,100 per year, and Sigmund Rottenberg works 35 hours per week as a cutter for a fur business for $1,800 per year. Together, they make around the same wage that their male neighbors make without their wives working. The U.S. would not enter the war for another year and a half; labor is plentiful, grateful, and underpaid. Easy, to buy the time of an immigrant.


About the writer:
Lori Rottenberg is a writer who lives in Arlington, Virginia. She has published poetry in such journals as UCityReview, WWPH Writes, Burningword, Moving Force, The Dewdrop, Artemis, Potomac Review, and Poetica, and in anthologies by Paycock Press, Telling Our Stories Press, and Chuffed Buff Books. She has a non-fiction essay upcoming in The Vincent Brothers Review and has published additional poems and essays through the Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness website. One of her poems was picked for the 2021 Arlington Moving Words competition and appeared on county buses, and she has served as a visiting poet in the Arlington Public Schools Pick-a-Poet program since 2007. She is currently a writing instructor for international students at George Mason University and is in her third year of studies at the George Mason University MFA Poetry program.

Image: Courtesy of Lori Rottenberg.

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