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Oral history interview with Helga Franks

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1989.346.19 | RG Number: RG-50.031.0019

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    Oral history interview with Helga Franks


    Interview Summary
    Helga Frank, born on September 2, 1926 in Berlin, Germany, discusses growing up as an only child; her mother, who was a businesswoman; her father who had an apparel business and was a veteran of WWI; her earliest memories antisemitism; the 1933 boycotts; attending a public school; the emigration of her school mates; the arrest of their neighbors in 1938; the rise of antisemitism before Kristallnacht; hearing antisemitic chants and songs; her experiences during Kristallnacht; seeing two synagogues burning; fleeing to Paris, France; attending a French school; the German occupation of France; the arrest of her father as an “enemy alien”; her eerie experience in an emptied Champs-Élysées; the release of her father and his work on the black market; having to wear a star; her father’s death from a heart attack in January 1942; taking over her father’s black market business; being arrested along with her mother and taken to the Vélodrome d'hiver; the release of her mother and then her; her social work with Jewish refugees, POWs, and many in hiding; hiding in a Paris suburb with her mother during a large round up in March 1943; being sheltered by bohemian singer/actress who told neighbors Helga and Helga’s mother were “English Americans”; liberation; seeing the public punishment of women who had befriended Nazis; meeting her husband in December 1945; going to the US in April 1946 as a war bride; and how her experiences shaped her.
    Helga Franks
    interview:  1991 August 06
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

    Physical Details

    1 videocassette (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
    Franks, Helga.

    Administrative Notes

    The Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois (now Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center) conducted the interview with Helga Franks on August 6, 1991. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History branch received the tape of the interview from the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois on October 16, 1992.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:07:04
    This page:

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