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Oral history interview with Susanne K. Bennet

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 2012.28 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0195

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    Oral history interview with Susanne K. Bennet


    Interview Summary
    Susanne Klejman Bennet, born August 11, 1938 in Warsaw, Poland, discusses her memories of entering the Warsaw ghetto; seeing the brick walls being built in the ghetto; living with her grandparents, aunts, and uncles all together in one apartment; beggars asking for food in her building; how her father, a successful art and antiquities dealer, arranged with a non-Jewish friend to have a Polish policeman take her out of the ghetto to a farm in the countryside; how, just before the destruction of the ghetto, her mother escaped from her work group and hid with nuns who gave her a habit and a new name; how the nuns were later rounded up, but were saved on the train platform by a Catholic commandant; how her father escaped from the ghetto through the sewers right before the uprising and went into hiding throughout Warsaw; how as a young child, she knew not to talk about her parents; seeing the red sky in the distance when Warsaw was burning in 1944; her reunion with her parents; the death of most of her relatives during the Holocaust; moving with her parents to Stockholm, Sweden in 1947; receiving visas in 1949 from the Swedish ambassador to Mexico where she and her family stayed for nine months; immigrating to the United States in 1950; living in New York where her father opened up a store off of Fifth Avenue and became a major art dealer with John and Robert Kennedy, the Rockefellers, the Fords, and Greta Garbo as his clients; attending Wellesley College, where she received a masters in library science; meeting her husband Douglas Bennet, who later worked for Hubert Humphrey, Senator Abe Ribicoff, and was an Assistant Secretary of State, head of US AID and NPR, and president of Wesleyan College; their eldest son, Michael, a United States senator from Colorado; their second son, James, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic Monthly; their daughter, Holly, a financial adviser; her feelings when visiting Germany with her husband; how her father never spoke about his wartime experience; and how she has only recently started talking about her childhood during the Holocaust.
    Susanne K. Bennet
    Gail Schwartz
    interview:  2012 March 22
    creation: Washington (D.C.)

    Physical Details

    2 digital files : WAV.

    Rights & Restrictions

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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Gail Schwartz, on behalf of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History Branch, conducted the interview with Susanne K. Bennet in Washington, DC on March 22, 2012.
    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 08:12:59
    This page:

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