August 1925, his paternal Uncle Harry, who had emigrated to New York in the 1890s, visits the Romanian Steinbergs in Buzău, along with his wife and children. The occasion is the birthday of Nachman (Nathan) Steinberg, ST’s paternal grandfather. Years later, ST recalls, “I was electrified by the beauty of my cousins and also by the smell of America, chewing gum, shampoo. I was embarrassed to be part of a primitive civilization, and pledged that I would save myself from it.”
September 1925, enters the Liceul Matei Basarab for lower and upper school education; describes it as “an overcrowded, tough school, devoted mostly to Latin.” Half the students are Jewish, but institutional anti-Semitism is the norm. He always remembers his entry to the school as the moment when Romania became a hateful place for him.
September 1928, matriculates to the upper school of the Liceul Matei Basarab, where the curriculum covers languages, history, philosophy, science, music, and art. Plays the violin in the school orchestra. Graduates in May 1932.
Fall 1932, enrolls in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (i.e., the Humanities division) at the University of Bucharest. Takes courses in philosophy, psychology, and logic; gets acceptable grades but rarely attends classes because of rampant anti-Semitism—“there was an atmosphere of brutality.”