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Oral history interview with Sia Hertsberg

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1996.A.0393 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0041

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    Oral history interview with Sia Hertsberg


    Interview Summary
    Sia Hertsberg (née Izrailewitsch), born June 8, 1927 in Riga, Latvia, describes her early family life and schooling; the Jewish community and the state of antisemitism in pre-war Riga; the 1940 Russian invasion; her family’s persecution at the hands of the Russian communists; the 1941 Nazi occupation and implementation of Nazi race laws; the burning of Riga’s synagogues; the help her family received from non-Jewish friends; the establishment and the later liquidation of the Riga ghetto; how a Latvian soldier attempted to rape her; avoiding the Rumbula massacre; working as a seamstress in a Reichskommissariat workshop; her family’s transport to the Kaiserwald concentration camp; how her father saved her sister several times by hiding her amidst the trash or in a pot of soup when the Nazis were looking for young children; the Nazis’ theft of her childhood; the normalcy of discussing death; her family’s transport via ship and cattle car to Stutthof; the typhus epidemic and her work carrying the dead to the crematorium; her mother’s death; her and her sister’s escape from a death march; seeking shelter and being turned away by Polish peasants; liberation by Russian soldiers on March 23, 1945; hospitalization and her sister’s death; her deep depression at losing her family; her hospitalization in Kolomna, Russia; her return to Riga and reunion with her father; falling in love with her future husband; their attempts to illegally immigrate to the United States and her father’s subsequent imprisonment by the Russians; the birth of her two sons; finishing her schooling; her husband’s death; her move to Chicago, Illinois and her post-war life in the United States; and her father’s death on the same day as her sister, thirty years later.
    Ms. Sia Hertsberg
    Lillian Klein
    interview:  1996 September 05

    Physical Details

    2 sound cassettes (60 min.).

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Topical Term
    Altruism. Antisemitism--Latvia--Riga. Child concentration camp inmates--Care. Corpse removals. Crematoriums. Death march survivors. Death marches. Death. Escapes. Hidden children (Holocaust)--Latvia. Hiding places--Latvia. Holocaust survivors. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Latvia--Personal narratives. Jewish families--Latvia--Riga. Jewish ghettos--Latvia--Riga. Jewish women in the Holocaust--Latvia. Jews--Latvia--Riga. Jews--Legal status, laws, etc.--Latvia. Parents--Death. Rumbula Massacre, Rumbula, Latvia, 1941. Sex crimes. Sisters. Synagogues--Destruction and pillage. Typhus fever. Women concentration camp inmates. Women dressmakers. Women--Crimes against--Latvia. World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities--Latvia. World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor--Latvia. World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Latvia. World War, 1939-1945--Jews--Rescue--Latvia. World War, 1939-1945--Psychological aspects. Women--Personal narratives.
    Personal Name
    Hertsberg, Sia, 1927-

    Administrative Notes

    Lillian Klein, a volunteer for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Oral History branch conducted this interview on September 5, 1996, in Washington, D.C.
    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 08:12:06
    This page:

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