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Oral history interview with Charlotte Schiff

Oral History | Accession Number: 2015.371.1 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0252

Charlotte Schiff (born Charlotte Minna Goldschmidt on July 1, 1937 in Fulda, Germany) discusses her childhood; her father Herman, who was a hides and skins importer, and her mother Irma; her father being taken away on Kristallnacht in November 1938 to Buchenwald for three months; how her father was beaten with iron bars; her father’s return and their move in 1939 to Frankfurt, Germany, where they stayed for three years with the help of non-Jews; her parents wearing a yellow star; being transported in a cattle car to Terezin (Theresienstadt); living first in an attic with 120 people and then being separated from her parents and grandmother and living in a children’s home; her father being placed in a military caserne and her mother living in another children’s home as a helper; not attending classes or knowing about the children’s operetta Brundibar; her father giving money as a bribe so Charlotte wouldn’t be sent to a camp to be gassed; her grandmother dying in Terezin; witnessing many people standing in an open field surrounded by Germans with machine guns; being malnourished; the playground being cleaned up for an inspection and the children not being allowed to play there; how every day was like the next; being liberated at age eight after 32 months; being greeted with tulips by the mayor of Frankfurt; staying in a hospital for 10 months; attending a Frankfurt school and being the only Jewish student in the class; wanting to become a nurse, but being rejected because of her religion; sailing on the SS United States at age 19 and arriving in the US on July 4, 1956; working and going to night school in New York, NY; getting married in 1958 and moving to Connecticut; losing her husband to Lou Gehrig’s disease; not liking to talk about her wartime experience as life presents hardships and she doesn't want to overdo the misery; and her feelings about Germans.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Ms. Charlotte Schiff
Gail Schwartz
interview:  2015 November 09
3 digital files : WAV.