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Oral history interview with Matilde Neuwirt

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

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.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Ms. Matilde Neuwirt
Interviewer
Dr. Hannah Starman
Date
interview:  2011 December 11
Language
English
Extent
2 digital files : WAV.