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Oral history interview with Gertrude Scarlett Epstein

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

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.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Epstein, Gertrude Scarlett
Starman, Dr. Hannah
interview:  2011 November 17
1 digital file : WAV.
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:20:48
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