Oral History

Barbara Ledermann Rodbell describes using false papers and living in hiding

In 1933 Barbara's family moved to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. They became friends of Anne Frank and her family. The Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940. Barbara's boyfriend, Manfred, had underground contacts and she got false papers. Her mother, sister, and father were deported to Westerbork and then to Auschwitz. Barbara survived using her false papers and worked for the resistance. She helped take Jews to hiding places and also hid Jews in an apartment held in her false name.


Somehow Manfred had arranged for me to go to a pension where the woman didn't know anything about me. She got my false papers and she thought I was that person and she registers me with the police under that name and the police didn't...uh...you know, they just registered me and that was it. And I lived there and that's where you have the pictures from...the pictures of Manfred and me. They were taken in my room at that pension. That was the...my first underground place. And I even got mail. They arranged even for me to get mail so the woman wouldn't get suspicious that I was alone...a loner and that maybe, you know, there was something wrong with me. And she got my coupons. I got food coupons, which Manfred somehow got. Um...I had everything. Um...I went to ballet class, a different school, of course, not because, else...case, I had already been picked up, so I went to a different school and...uh...I will tell you about that school later, but in any case, I lived a relatively normal life. I was no more hungry than anybody else and...and it wasn't so bad then anyway...uh...during that early period.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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