Oral History

Alice (Eberstarkova) Masters describes leaving Czechoslovakia on a Kindertransport (Children's Transport)

Alice grew up in a small village in Czechoslovakia. She was the middle of three daughters in a well-to-do, close-knit family. Her parents were religious and active in the Jewish community. After the German annexation of parts of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, antisemitism became more pronounced. Alice's uncle, a businessman who had moved to Great Britain, helped her parents arrange to send Alice and her two sisters on a Kindertransport (Children's Transport) to Britain. The sisters lived in a children's home in the south of England, near the coast. They had to be evacuated from the area in 1941. Alice then attended school, graduated, and worked in a book shop in London for about a year. In 1943 or 1944, she began to work as a bilingual secretary for the Czech government-in-exile. Alice immigrated to the United States in 1948.


Critical Thinking Questions

How do oral histories differ from other primary sources such as artifacts, documents, and photographs? What can we learn from different types of primary sources?

What other source materials might be helpful to provide more historical context for this eyewitness testimony? What aspects of the history might these other source materials help reveal?

What questions does this eyewitness testimony raise for you?

What can this excerpt tell us about the challenges facing European Jews as they sought refuge in other countries?

Explore the Museum's website and Collections to learn more about the experiences of refugees.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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