Barbara L. Holocaust testimony (HVT-3729) interviewed by Irene Diekmann
- Potsdam, Germany : Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien, Universität Potsdam, 1996
- Interview Date
- September 10, 1996.
- 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.
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.