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Oral history interview with Sia Hertsberg

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

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.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Hertsberg, Ms. Sia
Klein, Lillian
interview:  1996 September 05
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:20:33
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