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Oral history interview with Eric Bergtraun

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0122.396 | RG Number: RG-50.477.0396

Eric Bergtraun (né Erich Maximilian Bergtraun), born on February 21, 1925 in Vienna, Austria, describes his parents Edmund Leon Bergtraun and Lilly Wagner Bergtraun; his father’s service in WWI with the Austrian army and being wounded three times during the war; his father’s work as an insurance broker; his mother, who was a devoted Catholic before she met his father, and converted to Judaism after they fell in love; experiencing minimal antisemitism before Hitler marched into Austria; his memories of the Nazis entering Vienna; the roundups of Jews; his father’s decision to leave Austria; Kristallnacht, during which the Germans came to their house to arrest his father, who was hiding elsewhere; leaving for Milan, Italy before traveling to Shanghai, China; the welcoming Jewish community in Milan; their arrival in Shanghai and staying with a nice Russian-Jewish family while his parents got settled; how the Jewish community in Shanghai would help new émigrés by buying houses and renting them to refugees; his family doing better financially in Shanghai than they had in Vienna; living in a ghetto in Shanghai and being part of an underground boy scouts group; the arrival of the Americans; getting a job at a generator testing center at the Shanghai Airport; immigrating to the United States and living in San Francisco, CA, and his parents’ arrival in the US soon after him; going to school at night to get his GED; meeting his wife, Polly, at an international club; and his two children.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Mr. Eric Bergtraun
interview:  2002 March 11
2 videocassettes (SVHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:34:57
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