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Oral history interview with Hans Hirschfeld

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0310.22 | RG Number: RG-50.486.0022

Hans Hirschfeld, born in 1920 in Hamburg, Germany, describes his family history and their business making women's clothing; growing up as the son of a Jewish father and Protestant mother; initially favoring National Socialism until he was discriminated against for being half-Jewish; leaving school to pursue a trade; problems with the family business as a results of boycotts organized by the SA; rejection from job training positions because of his half-Jewish status; the destruction and expropriation of the family business; machinist training for motors at the Borchwart Works; completing his apprenticeship in 1941; his employment at the Daimler-Benz Aircraft Engine Plant in Granitz; concealing his Jewish heritage; the arrest of his father by the Gestapo in 1941; the release of his father from Brunsbuettel concentration camp because of his mixed marriage; the arrest of his family and imprisonment of his cousins in Sachsenhausen concentration camp; his time in Oslebshausen penitentiary; the arrest of his father in 1943 and his imprisonment in Auschwitz; writing a petition for the release of his father, which was denied; delivering a package of food and a pair of boots to his father in Auschwitz to show that he and his mother had not forgotten him; his transfer to Hamburg to work in the single engine aircraft department; his transfer to work in the fighter aircraft program; evacuation in 1943 from Auschwitz to Buchenwald; the death of his father in Buchenwald; the imprisonment of his brother in the Hamburg Neuengamme concentration camp; his brother’s death in the camp; attributing his own survival to his profession; working for the restitution of the property of his family after 1945; and his life after the war, including his work, marriage, life in the United States, and return to Hamburg.

Hans Hirschfeld
interview:  2001 June 29
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2021-02-16 15:52:36
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