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Oral history interview with Lee Merel

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1993.A.0088.78 | RG Number: RG-50.002.0078

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    Oral history interview with Lee Merel


    Interview Summary
    Lee Merel, born in Berlin, Germany on April 7, 1924, discusses his current life in Westfield, NJ; his childhood in Berlin; his education at an Orthodox Hebrew day school; his immigration to Palestine via Switzerland in 1935; his arrival in the United States in 1937; his relatives who remained in Germany and perished in the Holocaust; the Arab boycott that led his family to move to the United States; his time in Washington Heights,NY; his education at Adat Israel Day School; his time in New Brunswick, NJ, and his enrollment at Rutgers University; volunteering for service in the United States Army in 1941; the antisemitism that he encountered as an observant Jew in the military; his transfer from combat engineers to military intelligence; his time in various training camps before going to Europe; his time in England in 1942; his name change from Merel to Brewster in case of German capture; his time in Paris, France, in June of 1944; his blowing of the shofar at Rosh Hashanah services in Aachen, Germany, in 1944; his role as an interpreter at the investigation of the chief engineer of the Krupp Armaments factory in Germany; the things that he learned about the nature of the Germans; his time at Gardelegen concentration camp in Germany and photographs he has of the camp; his discovery in Gardelegen of a cousin who was one of the inmates near death and the cousin's later immigration to the United States; the condition of the surviving inmates at Gardelegen; his questioning of God during his time at Gardelegen and his struggle with his religious beliefs; and his feelings on teaching the Holocaust. Also contains two photographs of Lee in 1944, one of him in Paris, France, relaxing and one of him in his army uniform; a photograph of him in 1945 with three other soldiers; a photograph of him as a middle aged man; and a photograph of him with his wife and grandchild in 1996.
    Lee Merel
    Joseph J. Preil
    interview:  1992 November 20
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Holocaust Resource Center at Kean University

    Physical Details

    1 videocassettes (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Merel, Lee, 1924-
    Corporate Name
    United States. Army

    Administrative Notes

    The interview was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum along with other interviews between 1993 - 1997 by the Holocaust Resource Center at Kean College (now Kean University).
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 07:56:43
    This page:

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