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Oral history interview with Lucille Eichengreen

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0122.809 | RG Number: RG-50.477.0809

Lucille Eichengreen was born Cecilia Landau in Hamburg, Germany, on February 1, 1925. Her parents, Benjamin Landau and Sara (Baumwolspinner) Landau were Polish nationals, born in Sambor, Poland and living in Germany. Her father was a businessman working in import/export—mostly wine wholesale. The family traveled between Germany and Poland for the first sixteen years of Ms. Eichengreen’s life, and she attended a private Jewish school beginning in 1930. Her sister, Karin, was born in 1930.

In October 1938, Mr. Landau was sent back to Poland. The rest of the family remained in Hamburg, but began attempts to get a visa to go to Palestine to stay with family. In May, 1939, Mr. Landau received a four-week pass to return to Germany to move the family out. The family remained in Germany, and they shipped their belongings to relatives in Palestine while waiting for an exit permit. When the war broke out on Sept. 1, 1939, the Gestapo arrested Ms. Eichengreen’s father and, after four weeks, sent him to Dachau. Mr. Landau died at Dachau and the family received his ashes in February, 1941.

During this period, Ms. Eichengreen had graduated school and found work. In the fall of 1941, the family was deported to the Łódź Ghetto. Ms. Eichengreen’s mother died of starvation in July of 1942. Six weeks later, her sister Karin was deported, probably to Auschwitz, and perished. During and after this time, Ms. Eichengreen worked as a secretary for a beautification project, for the statistical department, and then for a kitchen. She developed jaundice while at Łódź.

In January, 1944, Ms. Eichengreen was sent to Auschwitz, and then on to Neuengamme-Sasel. She performed manual labor, and then office work where she processed documents. She remained at Neuengamme until the end of March, 1945, when she and others were put onto trucks and sent to Bergen-Belsen, where she was liberated by British troops. Ms. Eichengreen worked as a translator for the British, and gave them the names of 42 Nazis who had worked at Neuengamme—she had memorized them in the course of her office work there. The British tried these Nazis, and Ms. Eichengreen testified against them in court. Soon after this, in December 1945, she began to receive death threats and left Germany quickly. She traveled with a British officer to France, and from Paris was able to get a visa from the US Embassy in February, 1946.

Ms. Eichengreen moved to Sunnyside, Queens, New York, where she met her husband. They married at the end of 1946, and in 1949 moved to San Francisco where she worked and then had two sons. Her husband died in 2003. Ms. Eichengreen continues to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of “From Ashes to Life: My Memories of the Holocaust" and “Rumkowski: And the Orphans of Łódź.”

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Lucille Eichengreen
interview:  1990 August 14
Oral histories.
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 09:52:57
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