MR. RASENBERGER: This is an Oral History Interview on behalf of the D.C.
Circuit Historical Society with Judge Laurence Silberman. The date is June 26, 2001. The
interviewer is Raymond Rasenberger. I’m going to begin by remarking to Judge Silberman that I
have read a good bit of the oral history that he has given to the State Department. Having been
an Ambassador at one time in his career, he has been subjected to this same process by that
agency and has covered a great deal of the same background that I might have covered,
particularly his early years of schooling. So with his permission I’m going to skip some
questions about dates and places since they are already covered in the other transcript and just
ask a few other questions related to his youth and education that occur to me. That’s agreeable
Judge Silberman?
MR. RASENBERGER: Okay, let’s start with your birth in 1935. That was, as
you recall, in the middle of the Depression and you grew up–I guess you by the time you reached
a sensible age we were into WWII–but do you recall the Depression having any particular impact
on you, either in terms of what you saw or how you lived or anything of that nature?
JUDGE SILBERMAN: Now that I think about it, it must have had some impact
on me because both of my grandfathers were extremely wealthy men in the ’20s. One of them,
my maternal grandfather, lost everything in the Depression, and I’m sure I was aware of that now
that I think about it. I had almost no contact with my maternal grandfather, because after he lost
all of his money he sort of retreated to somewhere in Northern New York. And he didn’t have as
much contact with my mother, for reasons that are not at all clear to me, but may have had
something to do with the psychological blow. My paternal grandfather was enormously wealthy.