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Oral history interview with Trude Ludwig

Oral History | Accession Number: 1992.A.0125.79 | RG Number: RG-50.233.0079

Trude Ludwig (nee Gertrud Grunbaum), born on March 26, 1917 in Vienna, Austria, describes her Catholic mother and Jewish father; being baptized and reared as a Protestant; the high level of antisemitism in Vienna even before the rise of Hitler; attending a children’s conservator in Vienna along with her younger brother Otto; dancing and acting in the theater by the age of seven; her stage name which was Trude Hermann; how her career took her to Italy in September 1937 and her mother’s warnings immediately after the Anschluss to remain in Italy; her mother, who managed to get to Prague, then to Paris, and eventually to the United States; her father, who was in Switzerland on business, and later went to Paris; helping her brother get a transit visa by writing him a letter saying she was very sick and needed him to visit her; her brother, who eventually to Paris, where he studied under pianist Claudio Arrau; Otto receiving help from the violinist Fritz Kreisler, who got Otto a student visa for the U.S. in 1939; Otto’s studies in New York City with Arthur Schnabel, until he joined the U.S. Army in 1944 and served in Germany; being visited by her brother in post-war 1945, and his death a month later in an accident; her life during the war; the expiration of her Austrian passport and managing to get a German passport without the “J” mark that would have officially identified her as Jewish (she credits a “nice guy” officer in Germany’s consulate in Rome for granting a non-Jewish passport despite her Jewish last name); how she did not see antisemitism in Italy, and did not think she was in danger; going into hiding in 1944, just ten days before American troops arrived on June 4, 1944; returning to theater work, and then becoming an interpreter for the Americans until 1948; immigrating to Argentina with her non-Jewish German husband, who had been a POW of the Americans, and their child; and receiving a visa in 1951 to the United States.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Trude Ludwig
Anthony DiIorio
interview:  1992 January 16
1 sound cassette (90 min.).
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 19:55:00
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