Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research

Login

Register

Help

Skip to main content

Oral history interview with Martin Leiser

Oral History | Accession Number: 2017.159.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0919

Martin Joseph Leiser was born May 27, 1931 in Vienna, Austria to Sarah Grifel and Benzion Leiser (d. 1937). He has two older sisters: Rosa and Suzy. Martin discusses his father being born in Romania, serving in World War I with his brothers, and getting wounded by shrapnel; his father’s business as a merchant and money lender; his father dying in 1937 as a result of wounds from World War I; Jewish-owned stores being smashed and looted during Kristallnacht; getting evicted from his apartment; his uncle getting deported to Dachau during Kristallnacht and later released; his sister Suzy marrying her boyfriend and fleeing to Palestine; his mother receiving affidavits from a relative in the United States for him and his sister Rosa; immigrating to the United States via Rotterdam and arriving on January 10, 1940; staying with relatives in Passaic, New Jersey; his mother remaining in Vienna to care for her sisters; his mother getting deported to Theresienstadt where she likely perished; receiving a letter and photograph from his mother that she had given to someone who escaped Theresienstadt; Rosa working as a maid and then getting married; living with his sister and her husband until he was 18; working at the Robert Hall Company after high school and attending college at night; getting drafted for the Korean War; marrying his wife Gertrude (née Kraus), who also emigrated from Austria; naming their son Bennet after his father, and their daughter Sherrie after his mother. After the interview, Martin showed his Austrian passport with the letter, “J” for Jewish, the last photo of his mother, a photo of his father, a photo of himself at age seven, a photo of him and his sister, Rosa, upon arriving in the US and a group photo of: 2nd row starting on the left – his mother, her niece, Minnie, his mother’s oldest sister, Aunt Yetta and her husband, Max, on the first row- his mother’s younger sister and her husband.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Leiser, Martin Joseph
Interviewer
Navazelskis, Ina
Date
interview:  2017 February 26
Geography
creation: Boca Raton (Fla.)
Language
English
Genre/Form
Oral histories.
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
 
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:16:56
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn559279