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Oral history interview with Margit Meissner

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1992.A.0125.87 | RG Number: RG-50.233.0087

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    Oral history interview with Margit Meissner


    Interview Summary
    Margit Meissner, born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1922, discusses her childhood in Prague, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic); her mother’s wish to have her children baptized; her parents’ differing views about being Jewish and the difficulties it caused the family; how, before World War II began, her mother often invited impoverished refugees from Germany and Poland or Russia to their house for lunch; her father’s job as a banker; living in a large house with many servants and a governesses; her father’s death of natural causes before World War II; being sent in 1938 to the outskirts of Paris, France to live with a French family; being baptized in France as a Lutheran, but always identifying as a Jew; attending dress design school; how her mother eventually joined her in France; her mother’s arrest and deportation to Gurs; living in Paris when the Germans advanced; how, as an Austrian citizen, she was declared an enemy alien and was forbidden to leave Paris; defying this order and riding a bicycle to Étampes, north of Lyon; spending the night with fellow refugees at a school, which was bombed two hours after she left; obtaining a train ticket to Brittany to join friends; how her train was diverted to Bordeaux, near Gurs, and she was reunited with her mother; getting arrested as she walked with her mother over a mountain to get to Spain; how friends in Barcelona helped get them out of jail and into Portugal; becoming a dressmaker to refugees in Portugal; immigrating to the United States with her mother in April 1941; how she, her mother, and all three brothers survived the war; working two jobs in the U.S., dressmaking and assisting the U.S. Office of War Information; and being part of the Nuremberg war crimes trials.
    Margit Meissner
    interview:  1992 June 03

    Physical Details

    1 sound cassette (90 min.).

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Meissner, Margit, 1922-

    Administrative Notes

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum ID Card Project conducted the interview with Margit Meissner in Washington, D.C., on June 3, 1992.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:23:58
    This page:

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