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Oral History Erna Tebel Stern, born on October 28, 1901 in Krotoszyn, Poland, describes her childhood; her father’s experiences when he served in the German Army against Russia during World War I; moving to Wroclaw, Poland after the war; not experiencing much official discrimination when Hitler first came to power because her father had served in the German Army; her family’s decision to flee from their home in 1938 when they discovered that prison camps existed; her parents’ capture and deportation; managing to escape to Brussels, Belgium, where she, her first husband, and her brother boarded the S. Louis had to return to Brussels; going into hiding from 1940 to 1942 in Brussels, where she met her second husband; attempting to flee in 1942 to Switzerland, where they were imprisoned for a short time and then released to the Salvation Army; moving to Bern, Switzerland, where she worked as a housemaid until the end of the War; returning to Belgium in 1945 with her second husband and opening a blouse manufactory; and marrying her second husband in 1949.
Oral History Gerda Blachmann Wilchfort, born on April 24, 1923 in Wrocław, Poland, describes her family and childhood; experiencing antisemitism and losing friends after Hitler came to power; her memories of the destruction of Kristallnacht; a cousin in Cuba attaining visas for her and her parents to immigrate to Havana, Cuba; booking a passage on the St.
Oral History Miriam Storch Lewent, born on June 26, 1926 in Zamość, Poland, describes her family and childhood; fleeing her home when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939; her family’s internment by Soviet forces and being deported to Siberia; cutting down trees to earn food rations near Tomsk, Russia; the Soviets releasing her and her family when the Soviet Union went to war with Germany in June 1941; her two brothers registering with the Russian Army and the rest of her family settling in Kazakhstan, where they lived for the rest of the war; her father teaching Hebrew to Jewish children in their new home; attempting to return to Poland after the war but encountering too much antisemitism; and immigrating to the United States in 1949.
Oral History Liane Reif-Lehrer, born in Vienna, Austria in November 1934, describes growing up in a middle-class family; obtaining a passport in 1938 to immigrate to the United States but not being able to go when her father, a dentist, killed himself because he had to close his practice; traveling with her brother and mother to Hamburg, Germany in 1939 to board the St.
Oral History Stanislaw Soszynski, born on February 24, 1931 in Warsaw, Poland, describes his neighborhood in Warsaw on Swietojerska Street; the destruction of Warsaw and the Germans opening the Warsaw Ghetto; living in an apartment where the front part was on the Aryan side, and the back part was on the ghetto side, which helped smuggling operations later in the war; going out of the ghetto area to get milk and sell it to support his family; his memories of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising; the massive destruction of the ghetto after the uprising; and the uprising in 1944.
Oral History Frank Meissner, born in Třešt̕, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic) in 1923, describes his family; joining a Zionist youth group and traveling to Prague, Czech Republic to live with other members of the group in 1937; the group’s fear of anti-Jewish Nazi policies and subsequently leaving Czechoslovakia to settle in Denmark; attending agricultural school at the University of Copenhagen; receiving a call in 1943 from his landlady, who warned him to not return home because the Gestapo had been looking for him; being smuggled onto a fishing boat to Sweden, where he finished his education; traveling to England in September 1944 and starting to contact his family but learning that they had all been taken to Theresienstadt (Terezin) and eventually to Auschwitz, where they perished; returning briefly to Prague and then going to Denmark in 1946; and immigrating to the United States in 1949.
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