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Oral history interview with Denise Epstein

Oral History | Accession Number: 2005.383 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0497

Denise Epstein was born in 1929 and describes growing up as the daughter of the celebrated Ukrainian-born author Irene Nemirovsky; her mother's background and her exile to France; her mother's lifestyle in Paris and their family life before World War Two; the family's conversion to Catholicism in 1939 to escape the fate of other Jews; her and her sister Elisabeth's escape from Paris to the French countryside and their life there; how her mother was busy writing until the moment of her deportation; the letters her mother wrote to the family before she left France for Auschwitz; her father's desperation and eventual deportation; her life in hiding with her sister until a relative adopted them; how their grandmother disowned them; the suitcase in which the manuscript of her mother's last book was found forty years later; the time it took before she found the courage to read the manuscript and decided to have it published; the reaction of the literary world and the French public to the book “Suite Francaise,” which won a major literary prize in France; her own feelings today about the way the French behaved during the war; how the publication of her mother's book changed her own life; and the "imagined biography" that her late sister wrote about their mother.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Denise Epstein
Vera Frankl
interview:  2005 August 17
2 sound cassettes (90 min.).
Credit Line
Interview funded by a grant from the Lerner Family Foundation.
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:53:21
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