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Oral history interview with Werner Sauer

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0087.46 | RG Number: RG-50.091.0046

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Werner Sauer, born in 1918 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, describes the Jewish population of Gelsenkirchen; his family considering themselves German and being financially well-to-do; his father’s meat-packing plant; attending a Jewish Volkschule (an elementary school) for four years and then a gymnasium until he was forced to leave in 1933 at age 15; having to relinquish his license in 1938; becoming a bricklayer with the help of his father's friend; the ruin of his father’s business; the gradual changes under the Nazis; Kristallnacht and being arrested; deportations in 1940; being deported with his parents to the ghetto in Riga, Latvia in the winter of 1941 along with 500 Jews from Gelsenkirchen and 500 from Dortmund; conditions in the ghetto; his family being taken to Stutthof concentration camp; going to a section called Lent a where the Nazis had gathered all the artisans and skilled laborers; living and working in the factory, which he was ordered to rebuild with virtually no materials; being transferred with his father to Buchgarten, a section of Stutthof where people were exterminated; escaping with a friend and being caught briefly and passing as marine deserters; escaping the deserters’ camp and hiding on farms; being caught by Russians and having to prove they were German Jews; obtaining identity papers; his parents’ deaths; walking toward Germany; working in a Russian-occupied hospital after the liberation; living in Berlin, Germany until he received his emigration papers in May 1949; flying out of Berlin in an empty cargo plane and then taking a boat to New York, NY; getting a job in Cleveland, OH, where he had an aunt and uncle who sponsored him; working for Carling Brewing Co. for three years; his work installing boilers for the Ira E. Baker Co. until the company liquidated and he retired at age 60; and living with his wife in Middlefield, OH.

Interviewee
Werner M. Sauer
Interviewer
Sidney Elsner
Date
1984 July 09  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
3 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the National Council of Jewish Women Cleveland Section