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Oral history interview with Hedy Epstein

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.59 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0059

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

Hedy Epstein, born August 15, 1924, describes her life in Kippenheim, Germany during the 1920s and 1930s; her family and Jewish identity; being aware of the rise of Hitler and the Nazis; the boycott of Jewish businesses; the impact of Nazi rule on education; Kristallnacht and the destruction of Jewish property and the synagogue; the persecution of Jewish children at school; her father’s arrest and his imprisonment at Dachau; anti-Jewish legislation; her father’s return; leaving Germany on a Kindertransport in May 1939; her attitude towards leaving Germany and family; arriving in England; meeting Mrs. Meyer; living with the Rose family; living with the Simmons family; the beginning of the war in September 1939; communication with her parents; selling her stamp collection and sending the money to her parents; the fate of her parents; having to leave school to get job in 1940; her various jobs; working in a war factory in 1943; losing part of a finger in defective machine; working in an ammunition factory in 1944; losing her job due to her enemy alien status; working on lathe in a factory; attending night classes at Morely College; joining the Free German Youth; her first boyfriend; working with the censorship division of US War Department in Germany in July 1945; receiving training for two weeks in France; her attitude towards German people; her work duties; working at subsequent proceedings of the Nuremberg Trials; being assigned to department dealing with medical experiments carried out on camp inmates; searching through documents for evidence; the suspensions that a US colonel in charge of the documents department held sympathy for Nazis; witnessing the trial of Goering; returning to England in March 1948; immigrating to the United States; her life in the US; working for the New York Association for New Americans with Jewish displaced persons from 1948 to 1950; working for a Jewish agency in Minnesota; visiting her grandfather's grave in Gurs, France; her attitude towards German people; returning to Kippenheim and family home in 1990; participating in anti Gulf war demonstrations in Bonn, Germany in 1991; her fears for the future; living in New York, NY when she first moved to the US; her work for the United Restitution Organization filing claims for property lost under the Nazis; attending a university in the 1950s; speaking at her son's school about her Holocaust experience; speaking at schools and universities in the US and Europe; her research regarding role of women in the Holocaust; her refusal to speak to children under 12 about the Holocaust; her involvement with the Kindertransport Association; discovering photographs of Grandmother in concentration camp at Washington Holocaust Museum; and planning to attend the Nuremberg Trials reunion in 1996.

Interviewee
Hedy Epstein
Date
1991 December 12  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
4 sound cassettes (90 min.).
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:53:14
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510861