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Oral history interview with Juliette Peternick

Oral History | Accession Number: 2019.83.1 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0271

Juliette Peternick (née Herrmann), born on July 7, 1937 in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg, discusses her father Walter Herrmann who was in the wholesale candy business and her mother Gisela Herrmann (they changed the spelling of their names later at Ellis Island), who had gone to Catholic school and then to Switzerland to study; her maternal grandparents who were Orthodox Jews from the Schwartzwald in Germany and who owned a vineyard near Landau; her paternal grandparents who were Orthodox Jews from Trier and owned a department store; living in a mixed middle class neighborhood; her uncle Julius Abraham, who was a patent attorney in Schenectady, NY, visiting them in 1934 to try to get her grandparents to leave with a group organized by General Electric; her grandparent’s move in 1937 to Luxembourg, where they lived with Juliette’s family; going with her family in May 1939 to France; going to the Loire Valley and then to a farm in Le Puy, where they lived in a barn for eight months; going to Lyon in early 1940 and living in an apartment; traveling to Marseille by train and walking; walking over the Pyrenees to Spain; her grandmother comforting her during the trip by telling her stories; arriving in Madrid and staying in a hotel for two weeks; going to Lisbon, Portugal; boarding a ship, the Excalibur, with her parents and grandparents on December 5, 1941; having to stop in Bermuda on their way to New York, NY because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th; going to Schenectady, NY; attending school; having a German accent and being called a Nazi; her mother working as a nanny and then as a cashier in a grocery store; her father becoming a baker; feeling American when she was in junior high school; becoming a citizen in 1947 along with her parents; graduating from the University of Rochester as a math major and earning a master’s degree from Tufts University in Asian studies; working as an engineer for Sylvania Electronics in Boston, MA; getting married and having two daughters; and her fear that the Holocaust could happen again. [Juliette Peternick noted after a review of her interview that she was in error when she stated that her father was the only English speaker on the boat and subsequently learned of the bombing of Pearl Harbor earlier than other passengers.]

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Juliette Peternick
Gail Schwartz
interview:  2019 March 20
creation: Chevy Chase (Md.)
1 digital file : WAV.