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Oral history interview with Caroline Blumenthal

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.175 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0175

Caroline Blumenthal (née Schoenfeld), born in September 1900 in Cologne, Germany, discusses her family; having good relations with the non-Jewish population; attending public school until 1914; learning to be a secretary at a trade school; getting married in 1920; the birth of her daughter in 1924; getting divorced in 1931; the increase of antisemitism beginning in 1931; running a dairy store until SS boycott restrictions forced her to close in 1933; working as a typist for the Federal Association of Jewish War Veterans, part of the Judische Gemeinde in Cologne until the building was destroyed on Kristallnacht; the destruction during Kristallnacht, November 10, 1938, when synagogues and Jewish stores were burned and Jews were put into concentration camps for weeks; getting married in 1939 to a decorated WWI veteran; the deteriorating conditions in Cologne during the bombing by the British; the deportation of her family to Theresienstadt, along with 50 other families from Cologne, in September 1942; her work in the camp’s bakery; the deplorable conditions in Theresienstadt; the deportations to Auschwitz; a visit by the International Red Cross to the camp in 1944, for which the camp was temporarily cleaned and supplied with food and music; the secret wedding for her daughter, Ruth, in Theresienstadt and the deportation of Ruth’s new husband; the deportation of Ruth later to Auschwitz, where she did harsh factory work (she was later sent to Mauthausen from which she was liberated by the Americans); the Soviet liberation of Theresienstadt in May 1945; continuing to work in the bakery for about five months; emaciated survivors of concentration camps arriving in Theresienstadt and the exemplary help provided to them by Russian doctors and nurses; Russian soldiers raping younger women in the camp; spending nine months with her husband at Deggendorf, an all-Jewish Displaced Persons camp; going to Funkkaserne, a transit station near Munich, before going to Bremen; and immigrating with her husband to the United States on June 18, 1946.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Caroline Blumenthal
Interviewer
Fred Stamm
Date
interview:  1981 February 05
Extent
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive