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Oral history interview with S. Edmund Berger

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.338.3 | RG Number: RG-50.037.0003

Edmund Berger, born in Osijek, Yugoslavia (Croatia) in 1922, describes his parents divorcing when he was eight years old; being raised by his grandmother, who died when he was 14; latent antisemitism in that region of Croatia; having a bar mitzvah and a general Jewish education; being a good student in high school but expelled for playing pool; continuing school in Zagreb, Croatia; not returning home and thus being saved from the fate of his mother and friends who were lost after the Germans entered the town in 1941; seeing his father occasionally; the Germans occupying Zagreb in 1941; deciding to leave; Jews having to wear a yellow star; getting to Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia) under a false name and meeting an uncle in Susak just south of Fiume; the area being under Italian occupation; the fighting nearby between the Germans and Tito's forces; the small Jewish community in Susak; his uncle getting documents to travel to a concentration camp in Ferramonte in the Province of Calabria; arriving in early 1942 and staying there for about one and a half years until the Allies arrived; life being relatively good in the camp; the demographics of the camp; working in the kitchen to earn some money for extra food on the black market; the concentration camps in Croatia, where conditions were worse; his mother dying in a Croatian camp; being liberated and traveling to Palermo, Italy with his future wife, Sultana; Sultana getting a job as a secretary for the Allied Command, while he studied chemistry; being supported by the Joint Distribution Committee; going to Rome, Italy, where he received a doctorate in chemistry in 1946; getting married in 1947; immigrating to the United States in 1949; the resistance movement in Yugoslavia; and visiting Croatia several times.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
S E. Berger
Mrs. Toby Back
interview:  1989 March 27
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2020-08-03 11:26:22
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