Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

The memory business.

Byline: Lisa Abeyta For the Journal

Kurt Kubia arrived in U.S. with will to succeed in photography

Even after 50 years, the original sign still swings in a brisk breeze outside Kurt's Camera Corral along Central Avenue, the old main corridor of Route 66.

Good business practices and competent management have allowed the retail camera store to thrive for half a century while many similar-sized operations have failed, but the genesis for the company began in 1939.

As the Nazi regime enforced more and more stringent policies against Austria's Jewish population that year, those who recognized the writing on the wall and were able to do so fled their homeland.

Among them was a young photographer's apprentice from Vienna, Kurt Kubia.

He contacted a pen pal in Chicago asking for help entering the United States. The young woman, her name long forgotten, gladly signed an affidavit asserting that the young gentleman would be self-sustaining as a photographer and would not be a burden to the government if allowed to immigrate to America.

Kubia packed what few belongings he could carry, taking special care with his Leica camera, his one vital, familiar piece of equipment necessary to embark on his career in a foreign land. …

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