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Oral history interview with Richard Schifter

Oral History | Accession Number: 2017.221.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0939

Ambassador Richard Schifter (1923-2020) was born on July 31, 1923 in Vienna, Austria to Balbina (née Blass) and Paul Schifter. He discusses accompanying his mother to visit her parents in a small town near Warsaw, Poland; his parents being Polish citizens; his father living in Rochester, NY from 1907-1913 where he worked for a pharmaceutical firm and saved up money to purchase a drugstore in Vienna; his father being forced to sell his drugstore to his Nazi employee after the German annexation of Austria; his parents being arrested; his parents marrying in 1919; attending school in Vienna until it closed; his mother being a Zionist and Social Democrat, and her influence on his interest in politics; making plans to emigrate after annexation; his mother wanting to stay in Vienna to care for her parents; receiving an affidavit with his cousin Joseph’s sponsorship and a visa through the Austrian quota; the Polish quota being full and his parents not receiving visas; taking a train to Rotterdam and a ship to the United States; his parents getting arrested and released on the condition of leaving Austria; his parents fleeing to Poland; his father hiding in Stanisławow; his mother hiding in Warsaw and working for the Jewish Council; living with his Uncle Harry in the Bronx and writing to his parents that he was trying to get them visas; his last letter received from his parents was in September 1942; The Red Cross having no information about the fate of his parents; 17 survivors on his father’s side and 5 on his mother’s; attending high school in the Bronx; graduating high school and attending City Colllege; getting drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943; going to Camp Richie for intelligence training; arriving in Normandy in August 1944 and interviewing prisoners of war in Luxembourg and Belgium; and getting assigned to interview German citizens in Aachen, Germany.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Schifter, Ambassador Richard
Interviewer
Navazelskis, Ina
Date
interview:  2017 June 29
Geography
creation: Bethesda (Md.)
Language
English
Genre/Form
Oral histories.
Extent
2 digital files : MPEG-4.
 
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:16:47
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn562259