Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Oral history interview with Lea Kleiner

Oral History | Accession Number: 2013.294.48 | RG Number: RG-50.693.0048

Lea Kleiner, born in Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Croatia), on March 16, 1929, describes her Czech mother and Polish father; living in Zagreb until 1939 in an apartment; she and her friends being exposed to ultra violet light in winter in order to make up for the lack of sun; her cousins from Czechoslovakia visiting; her extended family; attending a Jewish school with her sister; learning Hebrew and Yugoslavian (in Cyrillic characters) and speaking German, Czech, and Polish at home; their Hungarian nanny; her mother’s religious family; her family observing Shabbat and holidays; her father being a successful merchant and liquidating the business at the beginning of 1939; how her father was an ardent Zionist and visited Israel in 1933 and 1936; her family leaving Zagreb in March 1939 for Paris, France; living in Paris for a few months then going to Deauville, France; how the family plan had been to put the children in a boarding school in England; witnessing aerial attacks in Deauville; not being allowed to stay in England, spending a night in jail, and being sent to Paris under heavy escort; her mother getting visas to Chile; departing from Genoa on a voyage to Chile; their passports being examined in Marseille, France; how the Jews travelling in third were taken off the boat and interned in camps in France; arriving in Valparaiso, Chile; moving to Santiago, Chile, where they shared an apartment with another family for a while; attending an English school but feeling very alien and asking to be transferred to a local high school; her father never acclimating to Chile and never mastering the language; her parents receiving correspondence from Europe, but never sharing the information with their daughters; the death of most of her maternal relatives in Auschwitz; marrying a non-Jew and divorcing him later; her two children and three grandchildren; giving refuge to child victims of the dictatorship in Chile; and how her message is to never forget.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Kleiner, Lea
Brodsky, Sonia
interview:  2011 December 10
1 digital file : MOV.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Fundación Memoria Viva
Record last modified: 2022-06-16 10:13:21
This page: