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Oral history interview with Hanna Seckel

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.20 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0020

Hanna Seckel (née Dubova), born in Kolin, Czechoslovakia, describes growing up in Prague, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic); her father, who was a doctor; being involved in the Zionist youth movement; attending a French school until the German occupation in 1939 when the schools were closed and restrictions were imposed on Jews; being 14 years old in 1939 when she went to Denmark on a transport of children from Hashomer Hatzair, sponsored by the Danish League of Peace and Freedom; her life and work in Denmark; working at two farms under harsh conditions; the farms in Gørløse and Naestved; learning through letters from her family about the worsening conditions for Jews in Prague; her parents writing of their immanent deportation to Auschwitz in 1942 and her attempted suicide; the Danish underground called “Radishes”; working as a chambermaid at a Danish boarding school in exchange for her tuition; suffering from her lack of money and being an outsider; how her goal was to get to Palestine; quitting school in 1943 and working as a maid for a family in Naestved; how some refugee children reached Palestine, some were caught, and some were sent back to their original countries by Denmark; being rescued by the Danish underground and the trip to Sweden hidden in a fishing boat; the chief rabbi of Copenhagen, Rabbi Melchior, who was part of the group; being received warmly by Swedish fishermen; the Red Cross handing out supplies and the Swedish police processing them; working as a maid for room and board; working as a maid in exchange for tuition to schools of nursing in Norrköping and Södertälje; losing all contact with her former friends while she was in Uppsala, Sweden; receiving her nursing certificate and working in an insane asylum; returning to Denmark in 1945 because she heard that she was entitled to Danish citizenship, which was not true; working in Copenhagen in a restitution office for Danish Jews; returning to Prague in 1946; living with relatives and earning a degree from Charles University (Univerzita Karlova); returning to Denmark on a Nansen Pass in 1947; going to Sweden and working as a translator in a factory owned by the Noble family; and immigrating to the United States under the Czech quota in 1950.

Interviewee
Hanna D. Seckel
Date
1982 March 26  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
3 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, gift of the Holocaust Oral History Archive of Gratz College
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:45:32
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508641