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Oral history interview with Grete Hirsch

Oral History | Accession Number: 2016.509.1 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0258

Grete Hirsch, born on December 24, 1921 in Stuttgart, Germany, discusses her childhood; her father Otto, who was a lawyer, and her mother Martha; her older brother Hans and younger sister Ursula; playing the violin; having Jewish and non-Jewish friends; the family being assimilated and secular; celebrating Christmas as a national holiday; being non-Zionist; speaking the Swabian German language at home; being very independent; her family moving to Berlin, Germany after Hitler came to power while she stayed in Stuttgart and later moved to Berlin; her father becoming assistant to Leo Baeck, who was head of German Jewry; being a member of the Jewish Kulturbund musical groups; the gradual increase of restrictions on Jewish musicians; her brother Hans going to the University of Minnesota; moving with her sister to England in 1939; going to boarding school in Worcestershire; having to learn English and crying frequently; her parents not surviving the war; being convinced that music saved her in her loneliness; playing the violin occasionally with groups; always feeling that she was a refugee; earning a master’s degree in music; sailing to America with sister Ursula on the Belgian ship “SS Uruguay” in 1946; living with relatives in New York; earning another graduate degree in violin at the Manhattan School of Music; becoming a citizen in 1952; teaching violin; considering herself an American; and how she was born as a German who happened to be Jewish and she could not possibly forget that she is Jewish today.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Grete Hirsch
Gail Schwartz
interview:  2016 July 04
creation: Chevy Chase (Md.)
1 digital file : WAV.
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:54:04
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