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Oral history interview with Elie-Christophe Vamos

Oral History | Accession Number: 2015.430.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0850

Dr. Elie-Christophe Vamos, born on February 12, 1940 in Mitwaba, Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), describes his father Sigmund Vamos, who was a Hungarian refugee who studied medicine in Italy and France and chose to leave France with his Hungarian wife as antisemitism and fascism spread all over Europe in the 1930s; his sister Annette (or Hanna), who was born in Saratov, Russia in 1931; his sister Esther, who was born in Hungary in 1937; his father’s death in July 1940 in Elisabethville (now Lubumbashi, DRC); the Belgian rabbi, Moïse Lévy, who become head of the Elisabethville synagogue; his family life in Congo; hearing about his parents’ experiences, including his father’s brief arrest in Sampwe, Belgian Congo; learning of a text his father wrote circa 1936 entitled “A Call to Israel”; how his mother instilled her love for art and music in her children as well as critical thinking; reading the local newspapers voraciously; the Jewish community of Elisabethville; a kind Jewish dentist from Turkey, Dr. Nadjar, and an Ashkenazi family from Antwerp, the Bernsteins; the Jewish community’s view of independence and the creation of a provincial government in Katanga province; his entire family living in South Africa for a year while his mother prepared an art exhibition; being part of the Zionist Jewish Scout movement, the Habonim; being a Belgian citizen and entitled to a student grant to study in Belgium; going with his sister, Esther, to Brussels and studying medicine; devoting his professional career to research; his wife who is not Jewish and deciding to not raise their children without religious practice; and wanting his grandchildren to know about their heritage.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Elie-Christophe Vamos
Peggy Frankston
interview:  2015 July 11
3 digital files : WAV.
Record last modified: 2021-02-22 11:43:54
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