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Oral history interview with Matilde Neuwirt

Oral History | Accession Number: 2011.313 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0194

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Matilde Neuwirt, born December 26, 1930 in Belgrade, Serbia, describes her early life in Belgrade; how her parents spoke Serbo-Croatian and Ladino at home; her family’s upper-middle class lifestyle; her schooling at both a public and a Jewish school; the lack of apprehension she felt in the pre-war years; her mother’s decision that the family leave Yugoslavia in the summer of 1940; her family’s escape westward through Dubrovnik, Croatia and then to Italy; how her parents smuggled money out of Yugoslavia; her family’s arrival in Italy without visas; living in Vicenza, Italy; how her family was moved to a detention camp in Sandrigo by the Italian authorities; the unofficial schooling that families set up for the children in Sandrigo; how the Italian authorities encouraged families to leave Sandrigo when Italy capitulated to the Germans; the help Jewish families received from a government official to get false documents; her family’s experience traveling to Rome, Italy; her memories of German brutality on the streets; how she did not know what was happening to Jews elsewhere in the country nor the rest of Europe; her brother’s return to Yugoslavia to fight with Tito’s partisans; the anti-Jewish sentiment of the partisans; her brother’s disappearance and the lack of information about him from the Yugoslav government; her family’s decision to emigrate from Italy to the United States in 1949; her family’s arrival in New York, NY; her feelings about Americanization and leaving memories of Europe behind; her memories of the Eichmann trial; her experiences returning to Yugoslavia and Italy after the war; and her belief that her family was lucky in the way they lived through the war.

Interviewee
Ms. Matilde Neuwirt
Interviewer
Dr. Hannah Starman
Date
2011 December 11  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 digital files : WAV.