Oral history interviews with Eleanor Ney and Herbert Ney
Eleanor Ney (née Hannelore Grundmann), born in 1920 in Essen, Germany, describes being the youngest of three children; her twin siblings, Ralph (Rolf) and Lee (Liselotte), who were seven years older than her; being raised in an upper-middle class Jewish family; her father Otto Grundmann (“Opi”), who was a distinguished lawyer with a thriving legal practice and fought in WWI as an officer; her mother Hete, who was a homemaker; having a happy childhood; her athletic pursuits; her childhood best friend Franz Oppenheimer, who lived next door until they were eight years old; leaving private school and enrolling in 1928 in public school; the Nazis’ rise to power; experiencing antisemitism from her teachers and classmates; her mother’s decision that Eleanor had to leave school in 1934; interning with a local chef, who trained her in cooking and baking while she prepared lunch every day for 12 businessmen; going to Offenbach in 1936 to apprentice in the leather-goods trade; meeting her friend Henry Goldsmith, who was two years her junior; being told by her father to leave Germany in October 1938; going to Basel, where her aunt and uncle lived; the arrest of her father; going to London, England in January 1939; being labeled an “enemy alien” and imprisoned by the British; her parents’ arrival in London circa January 1940; experiencing the Blitz while she was imprisoned and the effects it had on her psyche; being allowed to leave her cell during air raids after the House of Commons realized the turmoil the bombardments caused the imprisoned women; her mother’s refusal to go to the air raid shelters during the Blitz; her brother Rolf fighting for the US Army in New Guinea; being released from jail on the condition that she get a job; working as sleep-in maid; moving to Brighton with the family that employed her and cooking for nine people; feeling like a prisoner because she had to obtain permits to leave the house; working at a private hotel and cooking for 18 people; being hired by the Alligator Leather Goods Co., in the small town of Bishop Auckland (County Durham) in Northern England; being promoted to supervisor; falling in love with her supervisor, S. Rollman; the takeover of the German-owned factory by the British; being sent to a penitentiary in London where she was locked up in a single cell; her father and the Jewish Committee helping her to get a visa to the US; being sent to the Isle of Man to await the issuance of the visa; the difficulty of buying a ticket for a passenger ship to the US; boarding the “Cynthia” on September 23, 1940; the torpedoing of the ship after one day at sea, and not having fresh water for the remaining nine days of the voyage; arriving in the US and working at a leather goods company in Kew Gardens; and working for several other leather goods manufacturers. [Note that this summary may not fully represent the content of the interview.]
Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
- Eleanor Ney
- Steven Ney
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Steven Ney and Michael Bournas-Ney
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:54:18
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn563247
Also in Ney and Grundmann families collection
Correspondence, documents, autograph books, printed material, audiovisual recordings, and other related materials, documenting the history of the families of Herbert Ney (Neu), originally of Munich, Germany, and his wife, Hannelore (née Grundmann), originally of Essen, Germany, relating to their emigration from Germany due to anti-Semitic persecution, as well as documenting their lives in pre-Holocaust era Germany, and following their immigration to the United States.
Correspondence, documents, autograph books, printed material, audiovisual recordings, and other related materials, documenting the history of the families of Herbert Ney (Neu), originally of Munich, Germany, and his wife, Hannelore (née Grundmann), originally of Essen, Germany, relating to their emigration from Germany due to antisemitic persecution, as well as documenting their lives in pre-Holocaust era Germany, and following their immigration to the United States.