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Oral history interview with Peretz Leshem

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1272.335 | RG Number: RG-50.120.0335

Peretz Leshem (né Fritz Lichtenstein), born in Saxony, Germany in 1903, describes growing up as one of four children; his father who owned a textile factory; participating in the Zionist youth movement early in his life; joining the German Army for one year; the political parties that arose after WWI; founding another Zionist organization “Jüdiche Wanderbundt” with his friends; returning to Frankfurt, Germany to help reorganize the Bundestag; his marriage to his first wife, Betty Frölich; moving to Palestine in 1926 to Kibbutz Yagur; joining the Mapai (Labor) Party; being sent to Germany to be the director of the Hechalutz near Berlin; writing a book, Strasse zu Rettung; meeting in Vienna, Austria with representatives of the Histadrut; returning to Germany in 1934 to prepare for Aliya Jews in Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Czechoslovakia and Luxemburg; the Histadrut sending him to England to work with the Youth Aliya movement; his activities in Scotland and Ireland; being sent in 1942 to Portugal as head of the Joint to organize the immigration from Spain and Portugal; Wilfrid Israel giving him a list of people who had permits to immigrate to Palestine; the 600-700 refugees in Portugal; meeting refugees in Camp Miranda and the conditions there; opening and heading the office of the Sochnut (Jewish Agency) in Lisbon, Portugal; having to get permission from Germany in order to have a ship from Portugal cross the Mediterranean, and how in January 1944 the refugees from Portugal got on the boat Nyasa and 756 immigrants finally arrived in Haifa, Palestine (Israel); bringing his family from England to Lisbon; getting Franco to ask Hitler to allow 700 refugees from Salonika to enter Spain and then continue to Morocco and Palestine; his dealings with Silberstein, head of the Joint in Switzerland; the Jewish communities in Morocco and Algeria; his thoughts on the Holocaust; and his thoughts on his work during WWII.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Perez Leshem
interview:  1998 January 30
7 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:29:19
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