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Oral history interview with Ellen Tarlow

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.23 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0023

Ellen Tarlow (née Meinberg), born in 1927 in Gütersloh, Westphalia, Germany, describes how her family had lived in Gütersloh since the 17th century; her father Paul Meinberg, who was an importer of cattle and was decorated with the Iron Cross in WWI; her early childhood in public school and then a Lyceum for girls; feeling antisemitism for the first time at the age of eight and being expelled from school in 1938; studying Hebrew and the Bible once a week; Nazi atrocities during and after Kristallnacht, including social ostracism, the burning of their home and synagogue, her father’s deportation to Buchenwald; her father fleeing from Buchenwald; finding shelter with her remaining family in a local cloister then fleeing to Bielefeld, Germany; their life in a Judenhaus in Gütersloh and the continued attempts to educate the children there; HIAS helping her family many times; receiving aid from several Germans in Gütersloh; a failed attempt to immigrate to Haiti; her family leaving Germany for the United States via Lisbon, Portugal, on the SS Mouzinho in August 1941; the journey from Berlin, Germany to Lisbon in a sealed train and staying in Lisbon in a group home run by HIAS; how refugees organized to cope with primitive conditions on the ship; arriving in Staten Island, NY and going through immigration processing; her life in New York in a group home for refugees sponsored by HIAS; her family’s adjustment to life in the United States and the survivor’s guilt she feels; and her return to Germany by invitation in 1985 accompanied by her husband and daughter.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Ellen Tarlow
Natalie Packel
interview:  1993 November 19
3 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive
Record last modified: 2023-11-16 08:36:02
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