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Oral history interview with Margot Guthman

Oral History | Accession Number: 2013.294.31 | RG Number: RG-50.693.0031

Margot Guthman (née Miriam Levy Schapps), born in the suburbs of Berlin, Germany on October 23, 1923, describes her parents, Leo Levi and Mina Levi Shapps, and her sister; her father’s fish supplying business; their summer house outside Berlin; how her father was observant, but not orthodox, and holidays were observed with the immediate family; how Berlin was a beautiful, busy, and cultural city and the Jewish community was united and helpful; going to a non-Jewish school and pursuing Jewish studies in the afternoon; being active in a youth organization; playing sports; being kicked out of school at age 13; taking courses as a nanny in case they had to leave Germany; the changes after the anti-Jewish laws; how the Nazis took away her father’s shop and exchanged it for a small shop in a small neighborhood; having her own police dog and thus not being arrested when the Hitler youth approached her; not knowing about concentration camps; moving often; experiencing Kristallnacht; how her father, as a partially-incapacitated veteran, thought he would be immune to Nazi persecution; her father’s arrest on the way to their summer home; how a client of the store managed to have him released on the condition that they would leave Germany within a month; how a cousin in Chile got them all the appropriate papers; leaving within a month and exchanging their jewels and valuables for supplies; sailing on the Copiapo to Valparaiso, Chile; spending Passover in the ship in Washington, where the Jewish community provided them with all the Passover needs, and hosted them in individual homes; arriving in Chile in March 1939; starting to work immediately as a nurse-maid; how her father opened an inn for immigrants from Germany called Pension Levy; learning Spanish; how Jewish life in Chile was very good; meeting her future husband, who was also a refugee from Germany; being married for 62 years; her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; Jewish life in Chile; how her family brought other members of the family to Chile later on; returning to Germany to visit the burial sites of her family; claiming the family’s summer house, which had been taken over by a Russian family; the death of her husband; and receiving reparations from Germany once a month.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Guthman, Margot
Marcuson, Jacquie
interview:  2009 September 30
Oral histories.
1 digital file : MOV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Fundación Memoria Viva
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 19:53:59
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