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Oral history interview with Margaret Feiler

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.537.2 | RG Number: RG-50.862.0001

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Part 1: ​In the office of Dr. Margaret Feiler (a Holocaust survivor and former Jewish community staffer from Vienna, Austria) at the Joint Distribution Center in New York, Leonard and Edith Ehrlich read English translations of historical documents which they have obtained from the Joint Distribution Committee that relate to Austrian Jews, including telegrams, newspaper articles, letters, and reports.
Part 2: ​The interview begins with discussion of the respective relationships and contacts between Kultusgemeinde and Zentralstelle and Gestapo Leitstelle. Dr. Feiler describes her work in the community's translation department and the functions Benjamin Murmelstein had within the community. Part 2 ends with Leonard Ehrlich continuing to read aloud English translations of historical documents.
Part 3: The interview continues with Margaret Feiler describing the relationship between Murmelstein and Rabbi Jung (most likely Rabbi Leo Jung of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee); her correspondence with Murmelstein in the 1970s, which she reads from (in German); how she went to the Joint in Lisbon, Portugal with "the children"; arriving in New York, NY; Murmelstein's son; Dr. Josef Schwarz, who was the Director-General for Overseas Operations; her last visit to Vienna in 1973 when she met Jonny Moser (a Holocaust survivor and well-known Austrian historian of the Holocaust); her speculation that Murmelstein to some extent has a "persecution complex" and she is someone Murmelstein trusts; how Murmelstein got into the organization; who did what in the community's office and/or Murmelstein's office, including Mrs. Margarete Mezei. Part 3 ends with Leonard Ehrlich continuing to read aloud English translations of historical documents.
Part 4: Tape begins with Leonard and Edith Ehrlich reading aloud English translations of historical documents. The interview continues with Margaret Feiler describing her work on emigration issues while in Vienna and continuing this work in New York after she arrived there in December 1940; the emigration department and how the emigration process worked; communication with HICEM, JDC in New York, the Committee in Australia; payments of monies by the Joint's Transmigration Bureau; her work for Irwin Rosen; details on how she escaped Vienna on November 30, 1940 and the reluctance of her parents to leave; the interviewing of volunteers for the transports and how Dr. Fenzberg was chosen because Murmelstein was too disliked within the community; being hired in 1939 exclusively for the Australian correspondence then taking over all of the emigration correspondence; how the Gestapo asked Murmelstein to write a history of the Jews and she helped him with the manuscript along with other projects he did for the Gestapo; their interactions with the Gestapo; an "American Committee for Children" that arranged for 30 children whose fathers had died in the concentration or labor camps and whose mothers were Hungarian, Romanian, or Polish to be taken in by foster parents in the United States; escorting 10 of the children to the US via Lisbon; writing an article in the Gemeindeblatt about the rescue of the children; Murmelstein's anxiety about his own emigration; and her interactions with Rabbi Jung. Interview concludes.

Interviewee
Dr. Margaret Feiler
Interviewer
Dr. Leonard H. Ehrlich
Dr. Edith Ehrlich
Date
1974 December 27  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
4 sound cassettes : analog..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Carl S. Ehrlich
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Record last modified: 2018-04-18 19:06:30
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn114049