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Oral history interview with Karoline Fischl

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.11 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0011

Karoline Luise 'Lily' Fischl described growing up in Vienna, Austria, from 1898 to 1922; her family and education; living in Prague, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic) from 1922 to 1942; getting married; the divisions within the Czech population; experiencing antisemitism; the Czech census on nationality in 1933; the evacuation of her children on a Kindertransport to Great Britain in 1939; the fate of her husband; the effect of Munich Crisis, 1938; attempting to flee from Czechoslovakia in March 1939; the commandeering of her family home by Germans in 1939; receiving help from a German SS man; the introduction of anti-Jewish restrictions; the attitude of Czechs to the German occupation; restrictions on Jewish civilians; her employment making paper flowers and degree of knowledge of the war’s progress; being sent to Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in 1942 and remaining there until 1944; the train journey to Theresienstadt; her initial work in a sawmill then in the arts and crafts department of the camp; camp currency; a visit to the camp by the Red Cross; art work; the death of her husband; details about the camp; the insufficiency of rations; her attitude towards incarceration; the illness of her nephew; procuring blackout candles; cultural life in the camp; punishment for smoking; the disappearance of inmates; being selected for transport to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in October 1944; the selection procedure on arrival; lying about her age; the daily routine; being sent to Oederan Concentration Camp in 1944; conditions and the kindness of guards during the train journey; the accommodations; contracting pneumonia; her work aiding a doctor in the sick bay; making Christmas decorations; the speculation of sexuality of a female warden; receiving news of the progress of war; food rations and deterioration of diet; allied air raids; sabotage of work; aid received from a male overseer; the train journey to Theresienstadt, in the spring of 1945 and the bombing of the railway lines by Allies; the initial problem gaining entry into the camp; the quarantine period; her reunion with her mother; liberation by Russians and the spread of typhoid in camp; her responsibility for eighty women; the disposal of the dead; gradual dispersal of inmates; effects of typhoid epidemic; returning to Prague; the long term effects of imprisonment; relations between inmates; the disappearance of her nephew; arrangements for transportation out of Thereienstadt; medical problems; inmate rumors; loss of Star of David from clothes; behavior of German guards; camp language; liberation of camp; treatment of Germans after liberation; impact of imprisonment on her attitudes; and the visit by the Red Cross to camp during first period of imprisonment.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Fischl, Karoline
interview:  1985 December 12
3 sound cassettes (90 min.).
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:09:49
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