Elizabeth Kaufmann

Elizabeth Kaufmann

Born: March 7, 1924

Vienna, Austria

Elizabeth's father was a journalist who covered financial and political subjects. In 1930, because of the economic crisis in Austria, her father relocated his family from Vienna to Berlin.

1933-39: In 1933 the Nazis blacklisted Father as an anti-fascist writer, so we returned to Vienna. With fascism rising there, Father left, eventually making it to Paris. We were to join him, but the Reich's borders were closed to Jews. Finally, Mother used her jewelry to get French visas. In November 1938 we reached Paris. When war broke out in September 1939, the French interned German males as "enemy aliens," including my father and brother.

1940-44: In June 1940 the German army advanced towards Paris, and Mother and I had to flee again. We joined the flow of refugees heading south on the day before the Germans invaded Paris. She hitched rides; I traveled by bicycle. We agreed to meet each day at the city hall of whatever town the ride took her to. While I was waiting for her in Vendome, German planes bombed the city and strafed the highway. I was evacuated before we could meet. I was distraught I'd lost Mother, but I had to ride on.

Elizabeth's father was one of 1,000 intellectuals granted special U.S. visas. The family fled in 1942 on one of the last passenger boats to cross the Atlantic during the war.