Barbara Ledermann

Barbara Ledermann

Born: September 4, 1925

Berlin, Germany

Barbara was the older of two daughters born to Jewish parents in Germany's capital, Berlin. Barbara's father was a successful lawyer. As soon as Barbara was old enough to walk, he would take her around Berlin to see the sights and tour the city's art museums. Barbara liked to go horseback riding and dreamed of becoming a dancer.

1933-39: After the Nazis came to power in January 1933, it was illegal for my father to have non-Jewish clients. His law practice quickly folded. Later that year when I was 7, our family moved to the Netherlands where my mother had relatives. I continued my schooling in Amsterdam and quickly learned Dutch. Although we no longer lived in a big house with servants, I enjoyed Amsterdam--it had a much less formal atmosphere than Berlin.

1940-44: The Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. Two years later, when they began to deport many Jews, my boyfriend, Manfred, told me that these deportations to "labor camps" really meant death. He got false IDs for me and my family, and told me, "If you get called up, don't go." I asked, "What will happen to my parents if I don't go?" "Nothing that wouldn't happen otherwise," he answered. "What do you mean?" I asked, and he responded, "Everyone who goes will be killed. They are all going to die."

Barbara remained in hiding until May 1945, when Amsterdam was liberated by Canadian troops. She emigrated to the United States in November 1947.