“Your papers, please!”
In a gruff voice, 88-year-old Tad Taube repeats the Gestapo command he heard as a youngster. “They’d board the train at every stop,” he recalls, demanding to see the documents bearing his ethnic identity. “I was 8 at the time, It was very frightening.”
It was 1939. Taube’s parents had already fled Poland and were living in New York, and young Tad, who’d been staying with his grandmother in Warsaw, was traveling through Germany with a close family friend, headed for Paris. He would remain in France for another two months before boarding a cruise ship for America. “The Queen Mary sounds very romantic, but our quarters were not,” he says with a smile.
Taube recounts the experience as he sits in his Belmont office — a room crammed with photos of family, and of himself with foreign dignitaries and political figures from the president on down. There are medals and proclamations bearing his name and loads of sports memorabilia, from footballs to basketballs to bobbleheads. A tennis buff who still plays doubles “twice a week, rain or shine” at Stanford University’s Taube Family Tennis Center, he goes to the gym regularly and works out with a trainer. He was a founder of the short-lived USFL in the 1980s and principal owner of the spring-summer football league’s Oakland Invaders franchise. (…)