Oral History

Eva Rappoport Edmands describes packing to leave Vienna for France in 1938

After the German annexation of Austria in March 1938, Eva's family decided to leave Vienna for Paris. Eva and her mother were later trapped in the occupied area of France while her father was in the unoccupied area after the French armistice with Germany in 1940. They were eventually reunited and together tried to find refuge in Switzerland, but were caught by the French police. They received help from a priest in Annecy and survived the war under his protection. After the liberation of France in August 1944, Eva and her parents returned to Paris. In 1946, they immigrated to the United States.


My parents decided we had to leave Vienna and that our only chance was to go to France and it was really a last-minute decision and very hurriedly we decided to leave everything behind and just pack a couple suitcases. And I remember...the one memory that I have is my mother telling me that I was to go to my room and just pick the few toys that I wanted to take with me and to be fast about it. And I remember that I was started piling up a whole pile of my things and my favorite dolls and mother came and she said, "Oh, no. You can't take all this." And she picked two dolls, and she said, "You can take two dolls. Period." And I was crying, you know, didn't really...that I felt was terribly unfair to do this to me. And so we just...they just threw some clothes in suitcases and, uh, we went and said goodbye to my grandparents and, uh, that was the last time that I, I was to see them again.


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