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Oral history interview with Hannah Biberstein

Oral History | RG Number: RG-50.030.0421

Hanna Biberstein, born on September 14, 1928 in Essen, Germany, describes growing up in a religious family, where her father was a rabbi; how the non-Jews of Essen did not like her family because her father was a rabbi; developing a dislike of organized religion after living with her father; moving into a very Jewish neighborhood after feeling the increasing pressures of being Jewish; only being told a marginal amount about what was happening in Germany; hearing about the deportation of Polish Jews and finding out that she could no longer attend school; her experiences on Kristallnacht and the Gestapo then ordering her family to leave their home; moving into a small home with her family; the Gestapo taking her father away for a couple of weeks; spending weekends with a nurse who had been friends with her since her childhood, which lifted her spirits; discovering that her father had a rich aunt in New York City; her aunt finding a job for her father in New York; immigrating to the United States in March 1939; her father’s contribution to creating a German Jewish synagogue in New York; not having much money but becoming closer as a family; adjusting to life in America and meeting her future husband when she was 17; attending Cornell and then starting a family in the US; and carrying a general sense of pessimism with her since the end of the war.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Hannah Biberstein
Arwen Donahue
interview:  1995 October 10
Oral histories.
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:46:51
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