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Oral history interview with Leo Bretholz

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1989.H.0332 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0038

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    Oral history interview with Leo Bretholz


    Interview Summary
    Leo Bretholz, born on March 6, 1921 in Vienna, Austria, describes his childhood; his father passing away in 1930 and becoming a father figure for his two younger sisters; long-standing antisemitic attitudes transforming into excessive violence after the Anschluss in 1938; the arrest of his friends and his mother encouraging him to flee to Luxembourg, where he had an aunt; being arrested three days after he arrived in Luxembourg, questioned for several hours, and released to a train station; returning to Luxembourg and staying with relatives until he had the opportunity to cross the border into Belgium on November 9, 1938 and go to Antwerp, where he found distant relatives and stayed until May of 1940; receiving an affidavit and visa from an aunt in Baltimore, MD to immigrate to the United States but being unable to leave because Pearl Harbor was bombed the day he was scheduled to go; obtaining the necessary documents to cross into Switzerland in October 1942, but getting arrested and taken to Rivesaltes; his deportation to Drancy, another French detention camp, where he stayed for a short time before he and other prisoners were loaded onto cattle cars for transport; escaping deportation by bending the bars covering one of the train’s windows and squeezing through and jumping out of the train; making his way to Paris, where he obtained a false identification card; his arrest in December and then being sent to prison for nine months until he went to a forced labor camp in Septfonds, France; escaping from the camp and contacting a friend who got him in touch with an underground resistance group in Saint-Vallier, France, which he joined in November 1943; helping children cross the border into Switzerland, making false ID cards, and relaying messages between various resistance organizations; working with the resistance after D-Day and helping the Allied forces; and receiving an affidavit from his aunt in Baltimore that allowed him to immigrate to the United States in 1946.
    Mr. Leo Bretholz
    Linda G. Kuzmack
    interview:  1989 July 31
    interview:  1989 September 28
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

    Physical Details

    Oral histories.
    6 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Linda Kuzmack, on behalf of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History Branch, conducted the oral history interview with Leo Bretholz on July 31, 1989.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:00:24
    This page:

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