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Oral history interview with Susan Faulkner

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.5 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0005

Susan Faulkner (née Neulaender), born in 1921 in Berlin, Germany, describes her father, who was a banker; being raised in an assimilated Jewish family; still having Jewish religious instruction in her public school during the first year under the Nazi regime; being favorably influenced by the ordained female rabbi, Regina Jonas; experiencing antisemitism and traumatic discrimination at school after 1933; the brief relaxation of anti-Jewish measures in Berlin during the 1936 Olympic Games; attending a private Jewish school for a year; having a brief, unhappy experience in a Zionist agricultural school in Silesia in 1936; working for relatives in Gleiwitz in Silesia (Gliwice, Poland), where she felt more protected in a traditional Jewish community than she had felt in Berlin; returning to Berlin and working in Alltrue emigration processing agency; her memories of Kristallnacht in November 1938 and witnessing the destruction of Jewish property, the burning of the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue as onlookers cheered, and the beating of an elderly Jewish man; how her father fled to Belgium, was later caught in Marseilles, and died in Auschwitz; traveling with her mother and sister to Guatemala in 1938 on a German ship; their fourth class passage and how they were treated with disdain by the crew; reaching the United States two years later; getting married in 1942 to an Austrian refugee who converted to Protestantism; beginning her college studies in 1958 with restitution money from Germany and earning a Ph.D. in English; becoming a teacher; her need to bear witness to the Holocaust; her psychological problems associated with survivor guilt; and her painful attempts to identify as a Jew, including compulsive writing of pro-Jewish and pro-Israel letters to editors.

Interviewee
Susan N. Faulkner
Date
1983 November  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
4 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, acquired from the Gratz College Hebrew Education Society
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:40:07
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508626