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annexation austria

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  • Klara Gottfried Reif

    ID Card

    Klara Gottfried Reif's parents, Herschel and Ethel Gottfried, owned a flour mill and a general store in a small Polish town. Klara could speak five languages. As a young woman, she took an interest in fashion, and enjoyed travelling. On a trip to Vienna, she met Dr. Gerson Reif, a young dentist. After marrying in 1925, the couple settled in Vienna and the first of their two children was born in 1927. 1933-39: After the Germans annexed Austria in 1938, they effectively prevented Jewish dentists from…

    Klara Gottfried Reif
  • Josephine Kohn Dermer

    ID Card

    Josephine, known affectionately as Pepi, and her brother and three sisters were raised in Vienna. Her father traded in furs and her mother was a homemaker. Only a few years after Pepi married, her husband died unexpectedly and she was left to care for their young son, Fred. She and her son moved in with her widowed father. 1933-39: Pepi spent much of her time with her sister Helene. Helene's husband was a Singer sewing machine representative, and in the summer of 1937 Pepi and Fred joined him and Helene…

    Tags: Vienna Belgium
    Josephine Kohn Dermer
  • Eva Rappoport Edmands describes packing to leave Vienna for France in 1938

    Oral History

    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…

    Eva Rappoport Edmands describes packing to leave Vienna for France in 1938
  • Leo Bretholz describes arrival at the Drancy camp

    Oral History

    After the Germans annexed Austria in 1938, Leo attempted to flee. He eventually reached Belgium. In 1940 he was deported to the St.-Cyprien camp in France but escaped. In 1942 Leo was smuggled into Switzerland but was arrested and sent back to France, this time to the Rivesaltes and Drancy camps. He and a friend escaped from a train deporting them to Auschwitz in Poland. Leo joined the French underground in 1943. He arrived in the United States in 1947.

    Tags: camps Drancy
    Leo Bretholz describes arrival at the Drancy camp
  • Leo Bretholz describes conditions in the Drancy camp

    Oral History

    After the Germans annexed Austria in 1938, Leo attempted to flee. He eventually reached Belgium. In 1940 he was deported to the St.-Cyprien camp in France but escaped. In 1942 Leo was smuggled into Switzerland but was arrested and sent back to France, this time to the Rivesaltes and Drancy camps. He and a friend escaped from a train deporting them to Auschwitz in Poland. Leo joined the French underground in 1943. He arrived in the United States in 1947.

    Tags: camps Drancy
    Leo Bretholz describes conditions in the Drancy camp
  • Franz Wohlfahrt describes the trial and sentencing of his father

    Oral History

    Franz and his family were Jehovah's Witnesses. Germany annexed Austria in 1938. After World War II began, Franz's father was executed because, as a Witness, he opposed war. In 1940, Franz refused to participate in military training and would not salute the Nazi flag. He was imprisoned, interrogated by the Gestapo (German Secret State Police) in Graz, and sentenced to five years of hard labor in a camp in Germany. Franz was liberated by US forces in 1945.

    Franz Wohlfahrt describes the trial and sentencing of his father
  • Franz Wohlfahrt describes imprisonment in Graz

    Oral History

    Franz and his family were Jehovah's Witnesses. Germany annexed Austria in 1938. After World War II began, Franz's father was executed because, as a Witness, he opposed war. In 1940, Franz refused to participate in military training and would not salute the Nazi flag. He was imprisoned, interrogated by the Gestapo (German Secret State Police) in Graz, and sentenced to five years of hard labor in a camp in Germany. Franz was liberated by US forces in 1945.

    Franz Wohlfahrt describes imprisonment in Graz
  • Hans Heimann describes internment in Italy

    Oral History

    The Germans annexed Austria in March 1938. In 1939, Hans fled first to Hungary and then to Italy. He and his parents were interned in various towns. Hans's father became ill and died in 1940. In 1943, Hans and his mother were warned of German plans to deport Jews from Italy to Poland. They moved to smaller towns until liberation by the British in August 1943. Hans worked as an interpreter for the Allies until 1945, when he worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and helped resettle…

    Tags: Italy
    Hans Heimann describes internment in Italy
  • Nazi Camps

    Article

    Nazi Germany and its allies established over 44,000 concentration camps and incarceration sites during the Holocaust. Read about the Nazi camp system.

    Nazi Camps
  • Ardeatine Caves Massacre

    Article

    Now a national memorial site, the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome were the site of a German reprisal for a bombing by Italian resistance operatives in March 1944.

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