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Oral history interview with Ruth Finkelstein

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

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.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Finkelstein, Ms. Ruth
Lustiger Thaler, Dr. Henri
interview:  2013 August 06
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
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.
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:22:03
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