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Oral history interview with Alice Himmel

Oral History | Accession Number: 2013.294.40 | RG Number: RG-50.693.0040

Alice Himmel, born in Budapest, Hungary on October 14, 1930, describes being an only child in a middleclass family; her father being sent to a forced labor camp in 1942; her mother going to work as a seamstress to support the family; living in a mixed neighborhood until 1944, although the Jews and gentiles did not mix; experiencing antisemitism; contracting scarlet fever and being hospitalized for six weeks at the age of six; attending a Jewish school until she was 10 years old then going to public school; how the atmosphere in her home was tense for most of her childhood because of the threat of war; hearing Hitler on the radio; her father’s dismissal from work in 1940; being kicked out of their home in 1944 and going to live with her paternal grandmother in a home set aside for Jews; her father’s desire to leave Hungary before 1939 but his reluctance to leave the extended family; the Germans entering Hungary in March 19, 1944; the anti-Jewish laws and the danger from the bombardments; how on October 23, 1944 all women ages 16 to 45 were sent to do forced labor; being left with her grandmother and aunt; the shooting, killing, and burning of 69 old women in a nursing home in Buda, Hungary; going to a Jewish orphanage run by the Red Cross when she was 14 years old; the poor conditions in the orphanage; being taken with the other older children to the Danube’s shore to be shot; jumping in the river before the bullet hit her; trying to find refuge in a church, but being asked to leave by a priest so that she would not endanger his whole community; the Russian’s arrival on January 13, 1945; being saved from sexual assault by an aunt; hiding in small Russian towns; the death of her grandmother and aunt; her mother being sent to Ravensbrück, Bergen-Belsen, and Landsberg; her father being sent to Dachau; and her parents’ survival and how they both died in Chile when they were old.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Alice Himmel
Marcela Stekel
interview:  2009 September 14
Oral histories.
2 digital files : MOV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Fundación Memoria Viva
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:44:10
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