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Oral history interview with Edith Eva Eger

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0122.123 | RG Number: RG-50.477.0123

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Edith Eger (nee Elefant), born on September 29, 1927 in Kosice, Hungary (now Slovakia), describes her father (Liosha), who was a tailor, and her mother (Helen Klein Eger), who worked for the Hungarian ministry; her two sisters, Magda and Klara; her favorite memories are of her mother's cooking; her childhood, during which she trained in ballet and gymnastics; preparing to compete for the Olympics for Hungary but being disqualified because she was Jewish; her sisters, who were gifted musicians; the story of how her sister Klara was smuggled out of Hungary when the war began by one of her professors from the music academy in Budapest; the German occupation of Hungary; being taken to a brick factory; being deported with her sister, parents, aunts, and uncles to Auschwitz in May 1944; being separated from her parents, and thus spared the gas chambers; being selected to dance for Dr. Josef Mengele; using her talent for gymnastics and dancing to help survive in Auschwitz; conditions in the barracks; how she helped Magda survive in the camp; being liberated from Gunskirchen on May 4, 1945, at which time she had five types of typhoid fever, pneumonia, and no hair left; going to a displaced persons camp, where she met her husband and became pregnant; immigrating to the United States in 1949, going first to New York, and then to Baltimore, where she worked in a factory; moving to Texas, where she had two more children and attended the University of Texas at Austin; earning her doctorate; moving to San Diego, CA and working as a family therapist; and how her grandchildren are her world and how she lives every day for them.
Ms. Eger, her parents, aunts and uncles, and her eldest sister Magda, were deported to Auschwitz in May 1944. Ms. Eger was separated from her parents; she and her sister Magda were spared the gas chambers. Because of her talent for ballet, Ms. Eger was selected to dance for Dr. Josef Mengele. She was able to use her talent for gymnastics and dancing to help survive in Auschwitz.

Ms. Eger was liberated from Gunskirchen on May 4, 1945. While in a displaced persons camp, she met her husband and became pregnant. She emigrated to the United States in 1949; first to New York, and then to Baltimore, where she worked in a factory. She, her husband and her daughter Marianne moved to Texas, where Ms. Eger had two more children, and attended the University of Texas at Austin where she ultimately received her doctorate. She settled in San Diego and works as a family therapist and with battered wives and abused teenagers.

Interviewee
Edith E. Eger
Date
1992 August 14  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 videocassettes (SVHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, acquired from Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 11:02:31
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508182