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Oral history interview with Gertrude Scarlett Epstein

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 2011.312 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0193

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    Oral history interview with Gertrude Scarlett Epstein


    Interview Summary
    Gertrude Scarlett Epstein, born July 13, 1922 in Vienna, Austria, describes her early life growing up in Vienna; her Czech father’s belief in free thinking; how her family was not religious; her parents’ and older brothers’ experiences during World War I; her Uncle Willie, who became wealthy as a textile factory owner; how she began to notice antisemitism in Vienna when her family moved to a non-Jewish part of town in the 1930s; her father’s and oldest brother’s activities in the socialist movement; her memories of a strike in Vienna in 1934; her memories of the Anschluss; her brothers’ immigration to England; her experience securing visas for Czechoslovakia on the day Hitler entered Vienna; her feelings that her moral code shifted as it became necessary to lie; her father’s arrest and later release from jail in Czechoslovakia; the family’s move to Albania by train; help provided to the family by her Uncle Willie; how she smuggled money out of Austria and Czechoslovakia; her family’s life in Albania from November 1938 to April 1939; the reaction of native Albanians towards Austrian refugees; how the Joint Distribution Committee helped refugees in Albania; her experiences teaching German to Albanians and the Italian consulate; problems she and her mother had in securing passage from Albania to England; brutal treatment she and her mother received from German police at a fuel stop in Germany; her memories of learning about concentration camps in 1943 or 1944; and how she tracked down an Albanian family to whom she taught German.
    Gertrude S. Epstein
    Dr. Hannah Starman
    interview:  2011 November 17

    Physical Details

    1 digital file : WAV.

    Rights & Restrictions

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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Hannah Starman, on behalf of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History Branch, conducted the interview with Gertrude Scarlett Epstein in Hove, U.K. on November 17, 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 08:12:58
    This page:

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