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Oral history interview with Ruth Finkelstein

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 2011.177.10 | RG Number: RG-50.677.0010

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    Oral history interview with Ruth Finkelstein


    Interview Summary
    Ruth Finkelstein, born on October 15, 1927 in Mannheim, Germany, describes growing up in a Polish-Jewish family; her four siblings; her father, who was a store keeper; being frowned upon as Polish Jews by German Jews; experiencing antisemitism from a public-school teacher; enduring stone-throwing from non-Jewish children; exiting Hebrew school; having to blend into the crowd; being prevented from going to parks and theaters; only being allowed to shop during the German siesta (early afternoon); her father being temporarily sent to a camp and returning home physically altered; the deportation of her father to Buchenwald concentration camp (her family received a box of his ashes); Jews being blocked from shelters during air raids; being transported for three days by truck to France in 1940 and the fear and uncertainty she experienced; receiving some assistance by the Red Cross during a stop during the journey; arriving in Camp de Gurs, where they stayed for nearly four months; experiencing overcrowding, straw mattresses, malnutrition, and no medical treatment; her mother’s death from pneumonia; being assigned with her siblings to the children’s barrack and receiving a bit more food; how her older brothers gathered a crowd and provided prayers; being allowed to leave the camp along with her siblings and go to the village; going on a Kindertransport to Château de Chabannes, run by the OSE (Oeuvre de secours aux Enfants); director of the orphanage, Felix Chevrier; having play dates and schooling in the forest while the Gestapo came to the children's home; being 13 years old and providing mothering and education to her younger siblings; Chevrier allowing Shabbat and her younger brothers conducting seder; immigrating to the United States in 1941 under an Eleanor Roosevelt visa; and being taken in by her aunt and uncle.
    Ms. Ruth Finkelstein
    Dr. Henri Lustiger Thaler
    interview:  2013 August 06
    Credit Line
    This testimony was recorded through a joint project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Amud Aish Memorial Museum Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center.

    Physical Details

    1 digital file : MPEG-4.

    Rights & Restrictions

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    Administrative Notes

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in partnership with the Amud Aish Memorial Museum's Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center, produced the interview with Ruth Finkelstein on August 6, 2013.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 09:26:14
    This page:

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