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Oral history interview with Fred Firnbacher

Oral History | Accession Number: 2010.251 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0587

Fred Firnbacher, born on May 19, 1930 in Regensburg, Germany, discusses his childhood in Straubing, Germany; his birth name Manfred Firnbacher which he later changed to Frederick Stephen Firnbacher; his father’s profession in the horse and cattle trade; his mother’s hometown of Buttenwiesen, Germany; his childhood memories of visiting his maternal grandfather in Buttenwiesen; being raised as an Orthodox Jew; attending a Protestant school; being expelled from school at the age of six when he was threatened by a Nazi youth; meeting with a retired religious leader who clandestinely taught Jewish children; German troops passing through during invasions of Austria and Czechoslovakia; his memories of Kristallnacht; his father’s arrest and deportation to Dachau the day after Kristallnacht; his family’s journey to the United States Consulate in Stuttgart, Germany in December 1938 for visas; traveling by train to Holland in January 1939; immigrating to the United States and settling in Washington, DC with his family at the age of eight; how his great-grandfather Moses Firnbacher commissioned the creation of a Torah from which four generations of Firnbachers were Bar Mitzvah’d; how his father Maier Firnbacher brought the family’s Torah out of Germany; censored mail from extended family in Germany during war; being stationed in Germany in 1954-55 during the Korean War; being stationed in Wildflecken, Germany; traveling to Buttenweisen, Würzburg, Munich, Augsburg, and Straubing while stationed in Germany; and his mother’s bitterness towards Germany and Germans.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Fred Firnbacher
Susan Goldstein Snyder
Ina Navazelskis
interview:  2010 September 16
1 digital file : WAV.
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:23:26
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