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Barbara L. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3729) interviewed by Irene Diekmann

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-3729

Videotape testimony of Barbara L., who was born in Guben, Germany in 1927, the oldest of four children. She recounts her maternal grandparents' conversions to Christianity; baptism of all their children, including her mother (her father was Protestant); their affluence; a beautiful childhood on their estate in Neuzelle; becoming antisemitic due to stereotypes in school; being classified as a "mischling first degree" by the Nuremberg laws; her maternal uncle's emigration to South Africa in 1937; her grandparents visiting him and deciding not to stay; dismay when students accused her of having a Jewish grandfather and uncle following Kristallnacht; not understanding since her Jewish relatives defied the stereotypes she believed; her grandparents' futile attempts to return to South Africa; moving to Berlin to become anonymous (her father remained in Guben); denial of membership in BDM (the Nazi girl's group); her grandparents' deportation to Łódź in 1941; hearing from them until 1942; her maternal aunt's deportation with her husband and child (no one returned); her mother's disappearance in 1943, and her father reporting her as a suicide; her expulsion from school; her father placing her sisters in a convent with assistance from Caritas; and her brother's evacuation east with his private school (he ended up alone in Prague).
Ms. L. recalls living with her paternal grandparents in Nuezelle; attending vocational school in Berlin; working as a domestic for a parish priest near Breitzig; returning to Berlin with the priest in December 1944; liberation by Soviet troops; reunion with her father and siblings; learning her mother was in Sweden (she had entered using a false passport); returning to Guben; her mother's return in 1947; confiscation of their property and assets; and working thirty years for the government agency which provided compensation to victims of Nazism. She shows photographs, documents, and a necklace which she and her mother had given to her maternal grandmother.

Author/Creator
L., Barbara, 1929-
Published
Potsdam, Germany : Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien, Universität Potsdam, 1996
Interview Date
September 10, 1996.
Language
German
Copies
2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Barbara L. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-3729). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
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View in Yale University Library Catalog: http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/4298829
Record last modified: 2011-05-05 11:41:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/hvt4298829