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Oral history interview with Vera Ray

Oral History | Accession Number: 1996.A.0586.28 | RG Number: RG-50.407.0028

Vera Ray, born December 10, 1932 in Orlová, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) near Ostrava, discusses her parents Yelena and Heinrich Silbiner (later changed to Silvan); how her father’s real name not used for 53 years and is unknown; being raised in a middle class family; her father’s work as a watchmaker and mother’s work as a teacher of piano and languages; being an only child; the loss of her paternal grandmother and five of her father’s seven siblings in the Holocaust; her father’s efforts to smuggle Jews out of Ostrava circa 1938; how her family appears to be the only survivors from Ostrava; leaving Czechoslovakia in 1939 and going to Kraków, Poland, avoiding air raids along the way; moving to Korets', Ukraine and living there until 1941; moving to Ulyanov (Ul'ianovsk), Russia circa 1941 and later to Alma Ata, Kazakhstan; the end of the war and moving with her family to Bucharest, Romania and later to Prague, Czech Republic; her parents’ decision to become nondenominational so as to avoid antisemitism; her family’s immigration to Australia in 1948 via Egypt, where they spent several months in a tent camp before moving on to Australia; getting married circa 1952 to a Czech camp survivor and later divorcing him; her two children, who are not particularly interested in Judaism; and coming out as a lesbian.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Ray, Vera
Rockman, Pauline
interview:  1996 January 24
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2022-06-16 09:55:03
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