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Oral history interview with Renee Fink

Oral History | Accession Number: 2015.103.4 | RG Number: RG-50.865.0004

Renee Fink (née Renate Gabriele Laser), born December 12, 1937 in Scheveningen, Netherlands, describes how throughout her life she has had an "odyssey of names": three first names and five last names, reflecting how often she has moved; being an only child; her refugee family leaving Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) in 1933; losing her parents to Auschwitz and the survival of her grandmother and aunt; the Nazi invasion in 1940; her family fleeing to Bilthoven, Netherlands; taking in boarders; not remembering many details; hiding in Laren, North Holland, Netherlands; her aunt and uncle working in the resistance; being given to a stranger in the summer of 1942 when she was four years old and living in a large home in hiding until the war ended; living with eight other children in a Catholic family; her new name, Rita van den Brink; living on a farm without electricity; her memories of the bombs and being sent to kindergarten for three years; knitting in her spare time; being eight years old when the war ended; going to live with her grandmother in Bilthoven; making friends and playing with dolls; her aunt moving to the US in 1947 and going to the US the following year with her grandmother; being met in New York by her uncle, Walter Leipzig; her name changing to Renee Leipzig; moving to Queens, NY and attending P.S. 99 and Forest Hills High School; going to live in Chestertown, NY and changing her last name to Schrenk; attending the University of Vermont; getting married and living for 30 years in Bergen County, NJ; becoming a medical staff coordinator; living in Martinsville, VA and North Carolina; her children and grandchildren; keeping silent about her story until she heard of the Hidden Child Foundation in 1991 and attending an international conference of Hidden Children at the Marriott Hotel in Manhattan; keeping in touch now with the children of the van den Brink family and how the family has since been honored as Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem; giving a copy of her Shoah testimony to each of her children; and her mission "to sensitize and to create awareness."

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Renee Fink
Dr. Marcia Horn
interview:  2006 October 30
1 DVD.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Marcia Horn
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:55:05
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