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Oral history interview with Betty Freund and Henry Freund

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0122.683 | RG Number: RG-50.477.0683

Henry Freund was born in Prato, Italy on January 6, 1901. In 1905, the family moved to Modling, Austria. Mr. Freund's father died in 1930. Mr. Freund attended the local schools, and after graduating, moved to Vienna and worked in hotel management, traveling to oversee hotels in Hungary, Yugoslavia and Poland. While traveling in March 1938, Mr. Freund was forced from his job and instead of returning to Austria, traveled to Bucharest, Romania. After obtaining the necessary papers, Mr. Freund traveled to Paris, where he obtained boat passage and immigrated to the United States. He settled in San Francisco, and married Mrs. Freund, whom he had met while living in Vienna, after her arrival from Europe in 1939. Mr. Freund died in 2000.

Mrs. Freund was born March 11, 1911 in Vienna, Austria. Her father was a merchant, and owned a fabric store. Mrs. Freund was trained in business skills and began work as a bookkeeper and secretary in 1928. After the Anschluss in March 1938, Mrs. Freund's family made arrangements to leave Austria. Her parents and brother were able to obtain visas for the United States; Mrs. Freund and her sister went to England, where they found work as domestics. Mrs. Freund was able to gain passage for a boat to Halifax, Nova Scotia. She reunited with her parents in Chicago, and then moved to San Francisco to join Mr. Freund. Mrs. Freund died in 2001.

The interview describes both Mr. and Mrs. Freund's individual experiences during the Holocaust. Mr. Freund describes his young childhood in Italy, the family's move to Modling, Austria, his education there, his struggles to find employment and his eventual career managing hotels throughout Europe. Mr. Freund discusses his awareness of an uncertain future under the Nazi regime, losing his job because of being Jewish, his good fortunate in being able to emigrate as an Italian because of his birth there, and waiting in Paris for his eventual immigration to the United States. Mr. Freund describes his experiences as a new emigrant, traveling from Chicago to San Francisco, and his difficulties in procuring work in San Francisco.

Mrs. Freund describes her childhood in Vienna, Austria, her education and employment, and the rise of antisemitism after the Anschluss in March 1938. Mrs. Freund recounts her family's emigration efforts, her parents and brothers escape to the United States, and the flight of herself and her sister to England where they were employed as domestics. Mrs. Freund describes the difficulties she experienced in England, including finding funds for her passage to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mrs. Freund recounts her attempts to find an affidavit in order to enter the United States, and describes that after writing to strangers, she was eventually able to obtain one. Mrs. Freund describes her reunion with her parents in Chicago, and her eventual move to San Francisco to join Mr. Freund, whom she had met several years earlier in Austria.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Henry Freund
Betty Freund
Gloria Souhami
interview:  1989 December 13
1 videocassette (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 09:52:43
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