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Oral history interview with Margot Guthman

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

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

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.

Interviewee
Margot Guthman
Interviewer
Jacquie Marcuson
Date
2009 September 30  (interview)
Language
Spanish
Genre/Form
Oral histories.
Extent
1 digital file : MOV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Fundación Memoria Viva
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:48:29
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn73259