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Oral history interview with Claire Greenwald

Oral History | Accession Number: 2017.208.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0937

Claire Greenwald (née Klara Salpeter) was born on May 20, 1923 in Dusseldorf, Germany to Ronia Isler and Oscar Salpeter. She had three younger sisters: Rika, Doris and Lottie. She discusses her father working as a fabric salesman; being a well-dressed family; being a religious family and speaking German at home; her cousin Lottie who attended the Jewish school with her; positive memories of Dusseldorf as a child; her father being from Poland, and having a Polish passport; seeing Adolph Hitler near her street; facing more restrictions in the city; briefly living in Romania with her mother and sisters; finishing school at 15; being active in a Zionist organization; getting sponsored by her paternal aunt and uncle for immigration to the United States; her father taking her by train to Le Havre, France in June 1938 so should could board the SS Washington to New York; living with her aunt and uncle, and their three children Miriam, Ilene, and Henry; learning English at the behest of her uncle to assimilate; her cousin Henry getting drafted; moving in with another aunt after two years; moving in with a friend’s family; working at McCrory’s 5&10 and other jobs; corresponding with her family in Germany; her aunt and uncle sponsoring her family for immigration; her family’s deportation to Poland; hearing from the Red Cross in 1995 about her family being missing; marrying Bernard Greenwald in 1958; having three children, Bonnie (born 1951), Arthur (born 1954), and Joyce (born 1957). After the interview, several items are shown: 1) Copies of letters from her family during the war, official forms and passports as the Museum has the originals, 2) Claire’s childhood drawing found in Dusseldorf Library, 3) A watercolor made by her sister, Doris, from the Dusseldorf book, “Art of Jewish children in Dusseldorf,” 4) Doris’ drawing of her father (?) from the same book, 5) Photo of Claire’s parents and the four sisters: Rika, Mother, Claire, Lottie, Father, and Doris, 6) Photo around 1928 of Claire’s mother with Claire and Rika.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Ms. Claire Greenwald
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
interview:  2017 May 10
Geography
creation: Clifton (N.J.)
Language
English
Genre/Form
Oral histories.
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
 
Record last modified: 2021-11-09 15:37:27
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn561472