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Oral history interview with Ruth Rappaport

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 2010.374 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0185

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    Oral history interview with Ruth Rappaport


    Interview Summary
    Ruth Rappaport, born May 27, 1923 in Leipzig, Germany, discusses her parents, Mendel Rappaport, a Romanian subject, and Helene Rubinstein, who was born in Poland; how her mother’s cousin, also named Helene Rubinstein, was a well-known cosmetics businesswoman, attending an Orthodox Jewish school and an English language school in Leipzig, Germany; her membership in the Zionist youth group, Habonim; her Romanian passport, which did not identify her as a Jew; moving to Switzerland with her family shortly after Kristallnacht; staying in Zurich, Switzerland as a nanny for the Herzog family after her parents returned to Germany; selling nail polish, which her parents sent because they could not send money; being sponsored by her uncle, Carl Rubinstein, who lived in Seattle, Washington to come to the United States; leaving Europe in December 1939 on the Holland American Line boat, the Veendam; her parents’ attempt to leave Germany with Cuban visas; how her father died in Buchenwald and her mother in Ravensbrück, both in 1943; attending high school in Seattle, then the University of Washington, and finishing at Berkeley, majoring in sociology; working after graduation for a Jewish newspaper in Seattle and for the Zionist Emergency Council; working with Bartley Crum for UNSCOP (United Nations Special Committee on Palestine) in San Francisco, CA; working in Israel during the War of Independence in 1948, where she exchanged gunfire with Palestinians; working with Golda Meir; helping establish the Israel Photographic Archives; returning to the United States and working for the Department of Defense as a librarian; living overseas in Okinawa, Japan; Taipei, Taiwan; and Vietnam; and retiring from the government after 19 years.
    Ruth Rappaport
    Gail Schwartz
    interview:  2010 October 14
    creation: Washington (D.C.)

    Physical Details

    2 digital files : WAV.

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    Administrative Notes

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History Branch conducted the interview with Ruth Rappaport in Washington, DC on October 14, 2010. The interview was deposited in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives in December 2010.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:12:56
    This page:

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