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Oral history interview with Ernst L. Presseisen

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.46 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0046

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    Oral history interview with Ernst L. Presseisen


    Interview Summary
    Ernst Presseisen, born July 13, 1928 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, describes his father, who was a businessman; the German invasion of Holland and the bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940; the gradually tightening restrictions imposed by the Germans to isolate the Dutch-Jewish citizens; the roundups of Jewish men beginning in July 1942; his father receiving help from Christian friends who had contact with the underground; his mother's arrest by Dutch police canceling the family’s escape plan; the entire family, including his mother, being deported to Westerbork in August 1942 and staying there until February 1944; life in Westerbork in detail, including his own development of survival skills; how his family managed to remain there instead of being deported to Poland; Geneker, the commander of Westerbork; being deported in February 1944 to Bergen-Belsen with his family; his experiences there, including slave labor assignments and general deterioration of the inmates health; Jewish prisoners organizing a theatre group called "Cabaret Westerbork"; contracting typhus and his oldest brother dying of typhus in the fall of 1944; Greek Kapos; the evacuation of the camp in April 1945 as British troops approached; being liberated by the Russians and ordered to requisition housing in Trebitsch, Germany (Trebic, Czech Republic); survival in Trebitsch; his parents’ deaths from typhus; being repatriated to the Netherlands by the Red Cross in June 1945; life in post-war Holland; immigrating to the United States in October 1946; settling in California with relatives; and teaching German history at the university level after getting his degree.
    Ernst L. Presseisen
    interview:  1985 April 22
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive

    Physical Details

    2 sound cassettes (60 min.).

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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive conducted the interview with Ernst L. Presseisen in Philadelphia, Pa., on April 22, 1985. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum received the tapes of the interview from Gratz College on September 22, 1998.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:36:11
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