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Oral history interview with Ellen Fletcher

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0122.206 | RG Number: RG-50.477.0206

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

Ellen Fletcher (née Amster), born on December 3, 1928 in Berlin, Germany, describes her Polish father and her German mother; growing up in Germany and her father leaving them to return to Poland; her mother, who worked full time as a social worker; living in a Jewish orphanage for three years (1934-1937) before attending an orthodox Jewish boarding school; the worsening antisemitism; her memories of Kristallnacht as a young child in the orphanage, being very scared in a dark room listening to all the noise outside; becoming an atheist after experiencing Kristallnacht; witnessing religious Jews running into synagogues to save the Torah, which caused her to question why ‘God did not save them’; feeling more fear shortly after Kristallnacht when she was walking to school and was approached by a man who told her to go home as quickly as she could; receiving papers in the mail from the police that said she was to meet with them the next day, however, her mother went instead; leaving for England on a train full of young children, which is one of the worst memories she has; how at the station there were hundreds of children with their parents saying goodbye, and it was probably the last time most of the children would ever see their parents; not feeling the change as hard as other children because she had not lived with her parents prior to leaving for England; staying with a foster family in England; experiencing difficulties at first because of the cultural differences, for example it was customary in Germany to place your hands under the table and in England it was polite to keep your hands above the table; feeling like an outcast in school she because she was a German Jew; learning English by studying a German to English dictionary; working as a baby sitter while she lived in England and staying in touch with her mother through mail; learning later that her grandmother died in Auschwitz; moving to New York in 1946; her desire to be a nurse until she had appendix surgery and saw what nurses had to deal with; attending college and studying sociology; getting married to an English man named Martin Fletcher while she was in college; becoming a homemaker and having three children; divorcing Martin; and her life in California.

Interviewee
Ellen Fletcher
Date
1995 August 15  (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 11:08:54
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508367