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Oral history interview with Nelly Grussgott

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 2011.177.4 | RG Number: RG-50.677.0004

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    Oral history interview with Nelly Grussgott


    Interview Summary
    Nelly Grussgott, born May 9, 1930 in Berlin, Germany, describes her Czech entrepreneur mother; her parents’ marriage through a matchmaker; growing up in a religious home; visiting her grandparents who were Czech and Hungarian; attending Jewish school; her mother’s once kind non-Jew customers turning to Nazism; seeing “Jews Forbidden” signs in parks and cinemas; enduring stone-throwing at her school; her hair dresser cutting her bald after learning Nelly was Jewish; the police stealing her bike; her mother and herself rooming with other families; rationing food; Kristallnacht; having to stop attending school; her father’s departure to the United States; Nazis entering apartments; seeing Jewish men marched out in their underwear; her father’s thwarted efforts to bring his wife and daughter to the US and his return to Belgium; going on a Kindertransport in 1940 with her mother to the US; the journey on the ship; feeling empathy for people left behind, knowing they would die; entering Ellis Island and being picked up by family she had not met previously; her surprise in learning she could have two bowls of soup instead of one; being known as “the refuge” in NYC school; learning English; being poverty-stricken but feeling free; her mother peddling goods to survive; crying every night, missing her father; the German invasion into Belgium and receiving her father’s letter of suffering awaiting a visa; her father being rounded up and sent to Marseille, where he was accused of being a spy; the Red Cross confirming in 1995 that her father was sent to Drancy internment camp then to a death camp (Lublin-Majdanek); extended family that perished in the Holocaust; Nelly’s confusion in her mother’s remarriage (mother lived to age 91); various documents including US government’s indifferent responses to Nelly’s and her mother’s pleas on behalf of her father; photographs including Nelly’s return to Germany as an adult; Nelly's regret that her father left the US because he missed his family; and her humility knowing others suffered more than her.
    Ms. Nelly Grussgott
    interview:  2011 March 29
    Credit Line
    This testimony was recorded through a joint project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University

    Physical Details

    1 videocassette (DVCAM) : sound, color ; 1/4 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Grussgott, Nelly, 1930-

    Administrative Notes

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in partnership with the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University, produced the interview with Nelly Grussgott on March 29, 2011.
    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 09:26:12
    This page:

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