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Oral history interview with Ernest Pollak and Ilse Pollak

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1989.346.56 | RG Number: RG-50.031.0056

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    Oral history interview with Ernest Pollak and Ilse Pollak


    Interview Summary
    Ilsa Pollak, born 1923 in Pomerania, Poland, describes growing up in Cologne, Germany; experiencing more antisemitism after 1933; listening secretly to the radio and hearing about persecution; attending an all-girls, private school; the anti-Jewish boycotts; her family’s attempts to emigrate after Kristallnacht; losing many of her non-Jewish friends; her brother’s imprisonment in a camp near Cologne and his early release; the destruction of the synagogue in Cologne; how her father was not Jewish; being deported to Theresienstadt in 1942; writing to her parents in Latin; shoveling coal in the camp; returning to Cologne after liberation and deciding to leave Germany; her father’s death from malnutrition; and her feelings when she visited Cologne in 1971.
    Ernest Pollak, born in 1919 in Vienna, Austria, describes the increase in antisemitism during the 1930s; his non-Jewish friends; losing his job in June 1938; deciding to leave Austria after the Anschluss in 1938; reading about Kristallnacht in the newspapers; going to England before he could immigrate to the United States; arriving in the US in September 1940; being drafted into the US Army in 1943; going to Europe in 1944; going through France, Holland, and Germany; and going to Vienna after the war was over and finding out about his parents' deaths.
    Ilse Pollak
    Ernest Pollak
    interview:  1987 January 08
    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
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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois (now Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center) conducted the interview with Ernest and Ilse Pollak on January 8, 1987. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History branch received the tape of the interview from the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois on December 12, 1989.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:07:16
    This page:

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