Oral Histories

Engage with the voices of survivors, liberators, witnesses, and more, a project orchestrated and funded by Vida “Sister” Goldman Prince.

Introduction from “Sister” Prince

Anna Gruber and Vida "Sister" Prince

Holocaust survivor Anna Gruber, left, with Oral History Project Chairman Vida “Sister” Prince, right

When people ask me how I became involved in oral history, I have always told them I “backed” into it, or I “fell” into oral history. I believed this to be true. I was born in 1933, and I’ve always had a strong interest in World War II and felt deeply about Israel since my visit there in 1954. Like many other American Jews, I was horrified, angry, and anguished by the Holocaust. I bless the day in 1979 when I read a small article in the St. Louis Jewish Light about a Holocaust Center that had been established in 1977. I quickly became interested and phoned Alex Grobman, the director. We met, and Alex tutored me over the next couple of months and supplied me with different periodicals to learn more about the Holocaust. I was touched and deeply moved by all I was learning and was in awe of people who endured so much emotional and physical pain. I knew I had found something I wanted to do for as long as I was able. Little did I know then that the survivors’ lives would become so much a part of my life.

Since 1979, I have been Chairman of the Oral Histories Project. I am pleased to say that many interviewers over the years have interviewed not only Holocaust Survivors, but also liberators of Nazi concentration camps and other non-Jewish witnesses living in Europe during World War II. The St. Louis Center for Holocaust Studies (now the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center) was one of the early oral history projects that interviewed survivors, and we felt like pioneers – we were breaking new ground. I feel truly blessed and grateful to the people we have interviewed for opening up their hearts and souls and trusting us with their personal history. I am proud that these voices and photographs will be displayed so that future generations will continue to be witnesses to this catastrophic period of world history.

I would like to thank Margi Lenga Kahn and Michael Kahn who allowed us to use funds given to the Museum in memory of their father-in-law and father, Bill Kahn, to digitize these Oral Histories approximately five years ago. That gift laid the foundation for what we are able to bring to you through this website.

Lastly, I would like to extend my gratitude to Jean Cavender and Andrew Goldfeder at the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center, who helped ensure that these interviews remain accessible to all.

How to Navigate the Site:

Visitors to the Oral Histories site can explore the entries in a number of ways:

  • By nationality, with 18 different countries represented.
  • By locations, including 339 sites like specific concentration camps or cities that people lived.
  • By experience, sorting histories based on personal events like being sent to a ghetto, serving as a soldier or aiding Jewish refugees.

Each oral history includes a range of information about the person and their life. Where possible, you’ll find photos, a biography, interview recordings and transcripts, an interactive map and timeline, and a compelling quote from their story.

The HMLC is grateful to offer the Oral Histories project as a celebration of life and a crucial part of honoring and remembering the past.

Click Here to Learn About the Heart and Soul of this Project

Explore Oral Histories

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Harold Abrams

American Nationality
England • France • Germany • Missouri • North Stalag III • Ohrdruf Concentration Camp • Poland • St. Louis • United States of America

Harold Abrams' Experience

  • Liberated a Concentration Camp
  • Was a Soldier
Learn More ›

Morris Abrams

American Nationality
Buchenwald Concentration Camp • Czechoslovakia • France • Germany • Missouri • Ohrdruf Concentration Camp • St. Louis • United States of America

Morris Abrams' Experience

  • Liberated a Concentration Camp
  • Was a Soldier
Learn More ›
Ilse Altman

Ilse Altman

German Nationality
Beiseförth • Berlin • Delaware • Germany • Kassel • Lisbon • Missouri • Portugal • St. Louis • United States of America • Wilmington

Ilse Altman's Experience

  • Escaped the Holocaust
  • Family Died During the Holocaust
  • Family Died in Concentration Camp
Learn More ›
Pearl Asher

Pearl Asher

Polish Nationality
Germany • Missouri • Poland • Sokolow Podlaski • St. Louis • Stuttgart • United States of America • Warsaw

Pearl Asher's Experience

  • Family Died During the Holocaust
  • Posed as a Non-Jewish Person
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Irene Baron

German Nationality
Berlin • Cologne • England • Germany • Hutchinson Internment Camp • Isle of Man • Liverpool • London • Missouri • Munich • Oxford • St. Louis • United States of America • Warminster

Irene Baron's Experience

  • Escaped the Holocaust
  • Sent to Internment Camp
Learn More ›
Rachel Benrubi

Rachel Benrubi

Greek Nationality
Greece • Indiana • Indianapolis • Macedonia • Missouri • Naoussa • St. Louis • Veria

Rachel Benrubi's Experience

  • Aided Jewish Refugees
  • Converted to Judaism
  • Family or Person in Mixed-Marriage
  • Family Resisted the Nazi Party
Learn More ›

Fryda Bierman

Polish Nationality
Auschwitz Concentration Camp • Frankfurt • Germany • Lodz • Missouri • Poland • St. Louis • United States of America

Fryda Bierman's Experience

  • Family Died During the Holocaust
  • Family Died in Concentration Camp
  • Liberated
  • Lived in Multiple Concentration Camps
  • Sent to Concentration Camp
  • Was a Child During the Holocaust
Learn More ›

Viola Bisno

American Nationality
Missouri • St. Louis • United States of America

Viola Bisno's Experience

  • Helped Place Displaced Children in American Foster Care
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John Brawley

John Brawley

American Nationality
Cherbourg • Dora-Mittelbau Concentration Camp • England • Falaise • France • Germany • Nordhausen • Normandy • Saint-Malo

John Brawley's Experience

  • Was a Soldier
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Heiman Herbert Bremler

Heiman Herbert Bremler

German Nationality
Berlin • Germany • Italy • Missouri • New York • St. Louis • United States of America

Heiman Herbert Bremler's Experience

  • Escaped the Holocaust
  • Family Died During the Holocaust
  • Family Died in Concentration Camp
Learn More ›

Joe Bright

Polish Nationality
Lodz • Missouri • Poland • St. Louis • United States of America

Joe Bright's Experience

  • Sent to Ghetto
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Jutta Buder

Jutta Buder

German Nationality
Germany • Missouri • Siegen • St. Louis • Stendal • United States of America

Jutta Buder's Experience

  • Family Resisted the Nazi Party
Learn More ›

Alfred Burger

Austrian Nationality
Australia • Austria • England • Germany • London • United States of America • Vienna

Alfred Burger's Experience

  • Attended Nazi Rally
  • Escaped the Holocaust
  • Was a Soldier
Learn More ›

Harry Burger

Austrian Nationality
Austria • France • Italy • Missouri • New York • St. Louis • United States of America • Vienna

Harry Burger's Experience

  • Escaped the Holocaust
  • Family Died During the Holocaust
  • Family Died in Concentration Camp
Learn More ›
Alice Collin

Alice Collin

German Nationality
Augsburg • Germany • New York • Nuremberg • United States of America

Alice Collin's Experience

  • Escaped the Holocaust
  • Family Survived
Learn More ›

Lore Cook

German Nationality
Dresden • Germany • Missouri • St. Louis • United States of America

Lore Cook's Experience

  • Attended Nazi Rally
  • Hometown was Bombed
Learn More ›
Murry Cymber

Murry Cymber

Polish Nationality
Buchenwald Concentration Camp • Czestochowa • Germany • Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp • Majdanek Concentration Camp • Plaszow Concentration Camp • Poland

Murry Cymber's Experience

  • Lived in Multiple Concentration Camps
  • Sent to Concentration Camp
  • Was a Forced Laborer
  • Worked in Factory
Learn More ›
Erich Dahl

Erich Dahl

German Nationality
Aachen • Cologne • Colorado • Colorado Springs • England • Geilenkirchen • Germany • Hamburg • Holland • Kansas City • Missouri • New York • South Hampton • St. Louis • Stuttgart • United States of America • Wyoming

Erich Dahl's Experience

  • Escaped the Holocaust
  • Family Died During the Holocaust
  • Family Died in Concentration Camp
  • Was a Soldier
Learn More ›
Eva Derby

Eva Derby

Slovakian Nationality
Czechoslovakia • Humenné • Lučenec • Michalovce • Missouri • New York • St. Louis • Theresienstadt • United States of America

Eva Derby's Experience

  • Family Died During the Holocaust
  • Family Died in Concentration Camp
  • Family Survived
  • Liberated
  • Sent to Ghetto
  • Was a Child During the Holocaust
Learn More ›
Melvin Dubinsky

Melvin Dubinsky

American Nationality
Austria • France • Germany • Israel • Italy • Missouri • St. Louis • United States of America

Melvin Dubinsky's Experience

  • Worked for a Jewish Organization
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Hedy Epstein

Hedy Epstein

German Nationality
England • Freiburg • Ft. Wayne • Germany • Indiana • Kippenheim • Missouri • St. Louis • United States of America

Hedy Epstein's Experience

  • Escaped the Holocaust
  • Family Died During the Holocaust
  • Family Died in Concentration Camp
  • Was on a Kindertransport
Learn More ›
Inge Erhard

Inge Erhard

German Nationality
Germany • Missouri • Nuremberg • St. Louis • United States of America

Inge Erhard's Experience

  • Hometown was Bombed
Learn More ›
Hans Erman

Hans Erman

German Nationality
Atlanta • Berlin • Connecticut • Dayton • Des Moines • Georgia • Germany • Iowa • Israel • Jerusalem • Missouri • Munich • New Haven • Ohio • Palestine • St. Louis • Tel Aviv • United States of America • Wittlich • Wurzburg

Hans Erman's Experience

  • Escaped the Holocaust
Learn More ›
Helene Erman

Helene Erman

Polish Nationality
Atlanta • Connecticut • Dayton • Georgia • Germany • Israel • Lebanon • Lithuania • Missouri • New Haven • Ohio • Palestine • Poland • Russia • St. Louis • Syria • Turkey • United States of America

Helene Erman's Experience

  • Escaped the Holocaust
  • Family Died During the Holocaust
  • Family Died in Concentration Camp
  • Family Survived
Learn More ›

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