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Helga H. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4454) interviewed by Nina Taus and Shelly Jubelirer,

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4454

Videotape testimony of Helga H., who was born in Cologne, Germany in 1924, the elder of two sisters. She recalls her father's strong German identity (he was a World War I veteran); their assimilated lifestyle; attending a public school; participating in Catholic prayers and Christmas shows; friends snubbing her with the rise of Nazism; harassment in middle school (she was the only Jew); increasingly restrictive anti-Jewish laws including reduced rations for Jews; observing vandalism, theft (including at her family's store), and burning synagogues on November 9, 1938; learning her uncle had been deported to Dachau; these events convincing her father to emigrate; an uncle in Switzerland sponsoring them; futile attempts to obtain documents from any place in the world; her parents' non-Jewish friends providing them with extra food; working to help support her family; Nazis and SS taking their possessions at will; obtaining documents in Stuttgart in 1941 to emigrate to the United States; traveling to Berlin, Paris, then Barcelona; embarkation on a ship sponsored by the Jewish Agency; a two-week delay in the Canary Islands while additional funds were raised before they could continue; joining her uncle in New York (he had escaped from Dachau and emigrated); working to help support her family; and marriage to a Jew from Cologne who had been hidden in the Netherlands. Ms. H. discusses pervasive fear while waiting to emigrate; family and Jewish friends who remained in Germany “disappearing”; a trip to Cologne with her sister at the invitation of the city in 1970; feeling lucky that she and her immediate family survived; and a book that she received from the city government documenting the fates of Cologne Jews.

H., Helga, 1924-
Milwaukee, Wis. : Generation After of Milwaukee, 1995
Interview Date
April 5, 1995.
Cologne (Germany)
Stuttgart (Germany)
Paris (France)
Barcelona (Spain)
Canary Islands
2 copies: 3/4 in. dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Helga H. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4454). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-05-29 11:42:00
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