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Oral history interview with Ernst Freudenheim

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.338.20 | RG Number: RG-50.037.0020

Ernst Freudenheim, born in Berlin, Germany in 1904, describes never encountering antisemitism personally until Hitler came to power; living in an “integrated” apartment house, where the personal physician of the German Emperor and a leading Zionist also lived; meeting Jewish refugees from Russian-occupied Poland and becoming a Zionist; attending a public high school; Germany in the 1920s; attending universities in Freiburg, Germany and Berlin; the changes in the Jewish community when Hitler came to power; going into his parent's business importing rubber; getting married in Berlin (he shows a photograph of his daughter, who later died in Auschwitz); becoming a member of the Trustees of the Jewish Community of Berlin; establishing a school for sports teachers; helping to get young men out of jail on the condition that they would leave Germany within 24 hours; the confiscation of his business and living on savings; visiting Palestine for three months in 1936 and reporting on his visit to a large Jewish group closely monitored by the Nazis; planning to immigrate to Palestine and set up a rubber factory; feeling that he could do more for Zionism by going to the United States; going to Buffalo, NY, where he got a job in a jewelry store then opened his own firm; his wife and two sons joining him in Buffalo; saving people, particularly children, by giving or arranging affidavits that made it possible to enter the US; adopting three children (he shows a photograph of them with his own two sons); the loss of most of his and his wife’s extended family; and the importance of rescue efforts during the war.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Ernst Freudenheim
Mrs. Toby Back
interview:  1989 October
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:35:05
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