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Oral history interview with Lotte Grünfeld Heimann

Oral History | Accession Number: 2016.176.2 | RG Number: RG-50.928.0002

Lotte Grünfeld Heimann, born September 3, 1918 in Berlin, Germany, discusses her happy childhood in prewar Germany; her parents Leo (Eliezar) and Erna (Esther) who had emigrated from Tarnow, Poland in 1913 and were tailors; how her aspirations to become a gymnast and compete in the 1936 Olympics were dashed as Hitler came to power; her work as an apprentice at Hermann Tietz department store; meeting Betty Abraham (Wagowski) who introduced her to a cousin, Kurt Heimann; falling in love with her future husband on their first date; the declaration in 1938 making all Polish Jews “stateless”; Kurt Heimann’s Hungarian passport, which he used to secure citizenship for Lotte; the aftermath of Kristallnacht; obtaining visas to go to Shanghai along with her in-laws; complications as a result of her Hungarian paperwork; an incident with an SS officer who almost arrested Kurt; arriving in Shanghai on October 19, 1940; the difficult years living in cramped quarters with poor sanitation along with 20,000 other European refugees; daily bombings; working with her husband to establish an upholstery business; the birth of their son Manfred in 1943; boarding the freighter SS Gordon bound for the United States; the affidavit from her cousins Margot Grünfeld and Dick Shafran who had preceded them; finding their ultimate refuge in the United States; and establishing themselves in Denver, Colorado, where their daughter Giselle was born.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Lotte Heimann
Giselle Heimann Ratain
interview:  1984
1 digital file : WAV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Giselle Heimann Ratain
Record last modified: 2020-07-22 15:58:32
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