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Oral history interview with Walter Thalheimer

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1989.346.73 | RG Number: RG-50.031.0073

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    Oral history interview with Walter Thalheimer


    Interview Summary
    Walter Thalheimer, born in 1925 in a small German town in the state of Württemberg, describes his father, who served during WWI; his sister; living a comfortable life; how life changed after 1933; the roundups of Jewish men; how the children in the Hitler Youth would gang up on Jewish children; his father and uncles deciding to move the family to Stuttgart, Germany in 1936; attending an all Jewish school; the events on Kristallnacht, including the burning of the synagogue and deportation of Jewish men to concentration camps; his father and uncle receiving help from a childhood friend who held some power in the Nazi Party; breaking his arm and how there was only one doctor to see all the Jews; receiving affidavits from a cousin in the United States; getting a visa to the US in April 1940; waiting in Cologne, Germany until May 9, 1940 when they were allowed to enter Holland; being kept in a refugee camp in Rotterdam; the German invasion of the Netherlands; receiving help from a rabbi; being forced to leave Rotterdam; having to wear the Jewish star; being sent to Westerbork transit camp; saving his family from deportation because of his job; being deported to Theresienstadt soon after his parents; work in the camp; the propaganda film made of the camp; being transferred with his father in October 1944 to Auschwitz; being separated from his father, who was immediately killed in the gas chamber; how Kapos took their belongings; daily life in Birkenau; being selected for a transfer to Meuselwitz, Germany in November 1944; working in an ammunition camp with a German Gentile who was a communist and smuggled him shoes and food; how some people sabotaged their work; getting shingles; an air raid and the destruction of several buildings; having to disarm unexploded bombs; being transferred in open cattle cars in early 1945 to Czechoslovakia; escaping with a friend into the forest and caught by an SS man after five days; being marched 30 miles to the SS Headquarters and escaping again; being helped by two women; finding an American soldier and being sent to live with other escapees; receiving clothing and food; returning to the Netherlands; and his mother’s survival.
    Walter Thalheimer
    interview:  1986 December 12
    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..

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    Administrative Notes

    The Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois (now Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center) conducted the interview with Walter Thalheimer on December 16, 1986. 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 08:07:21
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