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Oral history interview with Marion Davis

Oral History | Accession Number: 2007.416.15 | RG Number: RG-50.650.0014

Marion Davis (née Lazarus but changed to Landers in 1926), born in Hamburg, Germany on July 26, 1922, discusses her childhood in Munich and Berlin as the Nazis gradually restricted social activities; her lack of religious consciousness before the war; her desire to change her name to “Miriam,” a Jewish name, but her parents refusal because they feared she would be killed as a result; turning eleven years old when Hitler came to power; being sheltered from understanding the social conditions in Germany; wanting to join the Bund Deutsche Martin for the Hitler Youth in grade school; her loss of access to education while in hiding; her reflections on the differences in societal expectations for men and women; sexism in the Nazi regime; getting food on the black market; having difficulty getting visas; her networking with a communist companion; sex-education in her school; her pre-war interest in linguistics; living with her first love and his mother; her family’s fear of being resettled once the war began; the arrests of her cousin, mother, and sister; the Dutch underground movement that extended to Berlin; whistling “Lili Marlene” as a resistance song; conditions while she was in hiding; being liberated by the Russians on May 10, 1945; the Russian soldiers who stayed in her building and the threat of sexual assault; the sexual assault of the women in her building, including her mother; how one woman committed suicide after being raped; the punishment of the Russian soldiers for attacking women; and the gratification she took in belonging to a group persecuted by the Nazis because of her magnetism toward aiding disadvantaged persons.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Marion Davis
Joan Ringelheim
interview:  1983 December 23-1984 January 28
Oral histories.
3 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joan Ringelheim