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Oral history interview with Esther Vamos

Oral History | Accession Number: 2015.383.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0817

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

Esther Vamos, born on January 18, 1937 in Budapest, Hungary, describes her father, who was born in Budapest in 1905 and was a physician; her mother, Erna Popper, who was born in Budapest in 1904; her father’s work in Russia and Africa; the family all eventually living in Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo); her father working for a mining company; her older sister being sent to a Catholic girls’ school in Elisabethville, Congo; her father’s death in 1940 from a heart condition soon after the birth of her little brother; her mother trying to make a living by doing portraits; the sizable community of Sephardic Jews from Greece and Turkey in the Belgian Congo at the time; her mother’s attempts to get her family in Hungary to take refuge from the war in Africa; the local Jewish community financially helping her family; not having to ration in the Congo; being sent to the same Catholic school as her sister; feeling isolated from the Jewish community; the black and white communities living separately; joining the Hashomer Hatsair and becoming a fervent Zionist for a while after the war; her sister marrying a South African Jew and immigrating to Israel in the late 1940s; being given a scholarship for university studies in Belgium, where she later obtained Belgian nationality at the age of 20; her mother moving to Belgium, Hungary, and then Israel; her mother’s artwork not being accepted and her suicide in Israel; meeting her future husband, Henri (or Heinz) Hurvitz, at the Université Libre de Bruxelles; specializing in pediatrics and later becoming part of a medical research team in Philadelphia, PA in the early 1960s; and her children.

Interviewee
Esther Vamos
Interviewer
Peggy Frankston
Date
2015 May 22  (interview)
Language
French
Extent
2 digital files : WAV.
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Record last modified: 2018-10-15 08:40:20
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn185372