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Oral history interview with Max Liebmann

Oral History | Accession Number: 1992.A.0125.73 | RG Number: RG-50.233.0073

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

Max Liebmann, born on September 3, 1921 in Mannheim, Germany, describes growing up in a comfortable household that was not particularly religious; beginning to play the cello when he was eight years old and having hopes of going to a conservatory in Zurich or Jerusalem; attending public school until 1937 when he left due to the harassment he experienced as a Jew; attending a private school from early 1938 until Kristallnacht; his mother, who was trained as a concert pianist, and his father, who was in the textile business; how his father was forced to give up his business in 1938 and moved to Greece to build a business there; moving with his mother to live with his grandmother; his father’s illegal move to Nice, France, where he remained until the end of the war; the outbreak of the war and being called to perform harvesting work in East Germany; returning to Mannheim in late autumn 1939; volunteering for emigration offices in Berlin and working there until his deportation on October 22, 1940 to Gurs internment camp; being separated from his mother at the camp; remaining in Gurs for 20 months, working in the office of the camp block; being given a pass that allowed him to move about the camp more easily because he played the cello; seeing his mother and his new girlfriend daily; the closing of his block and moving into the camp hospital, where he ran the office; being removed from the camp at the end of June 1942 by the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants to a farm outside of Lyon run by the Boy Scouts of France; saying goodbye to his mother before he left; being dispersed from the farm when they learned that a raid was planned; being hidden on another farm for about three and a half weeks with the help of Mireille Philip; being given false papers and trekking with others over the mountains into Switzerland; being arrested by the Swiss patrol and told that they would be escorted back to France; escaping capture with another man and returning to Switzerland; being interned in Switzerland; and remaining in Switzerland for five and a half years until he was able to immigrate to the United States.

Interviewee
Max Liebmann
Interviewer
Anthony DiIorio
Date
1992 March 28  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette (90 min.).