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Oral history interview with Gertrude Sonnenberg

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1993.A.0088.50 | RG Number: RG-50.002.0050

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    Oral history interview with Gertrude Sonnenberg


    Interview Summary
    Gertrude Sonnenberg, born on February 1, 1919 in Hausberge (Hausberge an der Porta), Germany, begins the interview by showing a photograph of herself at age 19 and photographs of her and her father taken by the police; two rings made for her while she was in the Riga ghetto and a piece of paper given to her by a Jewish policeman as her parents were taken away. She continues by discussing her childhood in Hausberge; the changes that took place in Hausberge when Hitler came to power in 1933; antisemitism in Germany before 1933; her family's move to Hesse, Germany; the closing of high schools, universities, and professions to Jews in the late 1930s; her time in Dortmund, Germany, working as a dressmaker; Kristallnacht; the conversion of her house to a bank in 1939; the establishment of new laws in Hannover pertaining to Jews; the activities of the Kulterbund Deutscher Juden (Jüdischer Kulturbund); the bombing of Germany by the British; her family's time in hiding in an attic in Hannover before their deportation; her family's three day train ride to Riga, Latvia; participating in forced labor in Riga; the gassing and shooting of Jews who couldn't work by the Latvian SS; the establishment of a ghetto and an Appel in Riga; the atrocities that took place in Riga; the uprising in Riga on October 30, 1942, and the execution of the participants of the uprising; her memories of her parents' deportation from Riga; her attempted suicide; her sister's work as a nurse in a hospital and the abortions that were performed in the hospital in Riga; babies being sent away for experiments; the liquidation of the Riga ghetto; her and her sister's time in Kiel-Hassee concentration camp and their liberation from the camp by the Red Cross; their move to and time in Sweden after the World War II; their life in the United States after their emigration in 1948; and her feelings on speaking about the Holocaust. Includes two photographs of Gertrude, one as a young woman and one more recent, accompany the interview.
    Gertrude Sonnenberg
    Bernard Weinstein
    interview:  1989 January 25
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Holocaust Resource Center at Kean University

    Physical Details

    2 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 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

    Topical Term
    Abortion--Latvia--Riga. Antisemitism--Germany. Dressmakers. Forced labor--Latvia--Riga. Gas vans (Gas chambers) Hiding places--Germany--Hannover. Holocaust survivors--United States--Interviews. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives. Jewish ghettos--Latvia--Riga. Jewish women in the Holocaust. Jews, German--Latvia--Riga. Jews--Germany--Hausberge an der Porta. Jews--Legal status, laws, etc.--Germany. Kristallnacht, 1938. Shooting (Execution) Sisters. Suicidal behavior. Women concentration camp inmates. World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities--Latvia--Riga. World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Liberation. World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Germany. World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Latvia. World War, 1939-1945--Jewish resistance--Latvia--Riga. World War, 1939-1945--Underground movements--Latvia--Riga. Women--Personal narratives.

    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 07:56:33
    This page:

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