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Oral history interview with Agnes Hoffman

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.4.1 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0216

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

Agnes Weisbrun Hoffman, born in Budapest, Hungary on January 21, 1931, discusses her childhood in Miskolc, Hungary in a family of writers and actors; having many relatives in Ricse, Hungary, including her uncle, Adolph Zukor, the film mogul who immigrated to the United States and founded Paramount Pictures; living in a mixed neighborhood with three sisters; having non-Jewish school friends; working for her father in his movie theater; hearing from Austrian relatives of difficult times; how food became scarce; going into a shelter during bombings; how her father was taken away to a camp in Hungary and then to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen; living in a brick factory for two weeks in June 1944; going with her sisters, mother, and grandmother in a cattle car to Auschwitz; being separated from them and how they did not survive; how a guard saved her because of her blonde hair and blue eyes; being sent to the showers; being given a long white summer dress, which she used in pieces in the latrine; living with 1200 women in a barrack; carrying bricks and becoming weak from a diet of coffee, green soup made from grass and dirt, and bread and jelly at night; being a messenger for the SS women because she spoke German; marching with no food to the Weiswasser ammunition factory (possibly in Gross-Rosen) with her friend, Blanca; living in a house with bunk beds and indoor plumbing; marching through the city to the factory in the early morning to straighten twisted wires for airplane parts; working in other factories, one of which was in a salt mine; still wearing the same dress though being dirty and having lice; being taken to Hamburg, Germany and not believing Hitler was dead and the war was over; going to Denmark and then to Sweden; staying in a hospital; going to a boarding school in Helsingborg, Sweden; waiting for five years until her relatives saw her name on a list; how they sent her a ticket to sail on the Queen Elizabeth to the United states; living with her relatives in New York, NY and having a job counting buttons; working for Scandinavian Airlines because she spoke Swedish; becoming a commodities broker in Chicago, IL; having four children; getting reparations; feeling she is more loving to people because of what she went through; and by chance meeting Blanca on the street in Chicago many years later.

Interviewee
Ms. Agnes Hoffman
Interviewer
Gail Schwartz
Date
2014 January 10  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 digital files : WAV.