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Family Stories: Videos of Local Interest

Marion Wimpfheimer

Videos of families who escaped the Holocaust and settled in Ithaca is a project of the Holocaust Education Committee of the Ithaca Area United Jewish Community. Videos were created and produced with assistance from Ithaca College Park Scholars, students at the Park School of Communication.

  • Rose Bethe

    Rose speaks about her experiences as a teenager in Stuttgart in the 1930s, as she was shunned by friends in the classroom, and the laws in Germany changed, requiring her family to flee. She came alone to the U.S. and worked as a ‘scullery maid’ before being admitted to Smith College and continuing her education.

  • Rachel Siegel

    Rachel speaks about her family and how they escaped from Germany before the Holocaust.  Rachel's parents had weathered wars and the Russian revolution while living in Lithuania. They moved to Berlin in the early 1920s for safety. Rachel was born in Berlin, and at the age of 6, her father uprooted the family once again to move to Lausanne, Switzerland where she went to school. She speaks about the life that her family led leading up to the war in the neutral country of Switzerland and finally moving to the U.S. as immigrants in 1939.  Rachel's parents, driven by fear and worry managed to save the lives of their whole extended family. Rachel Siegel passed away at the age of 91 on February 21, 2016.

  • Fred Voss - U.S. Military Service

    Fred speaks about volunteering for the American army after arriving in the U.S. He was sent to France as a combat engineer and translator.

  • Fred Voss

    Fred talks about growing up in Aachen in Germany before the Nazi’s came to power. During the following six years, Fred’s family struggled to make a life for themselves, until the Kristallnacht. Fred was beaten by members of the Hitler Youth and forbidden from going to school. The family home and textile store were destroyed and his father was sent to a concentration camp for two months. In exchange for everything they owned, Fred’s mother arranged an exit visa to England, and they eventually made it to the U.S.

  • Ilse Voss

    Ilse Voss speaks about her family life in a small town outside Vienna prior to Hitler’s annexation of Austria. She describes how her family was evicted from their home and lived in the empty Rabbi’s apartment in the local synagogue. On Kristallnacht, the Nazis searched the apartment, forced them to leave and the synagogue was set on fire. Ilse and her mother left for England to work as a maid and au pair. Both Ilse’s father and 12 year old brother were deported.

  • "We Don't Say Goodbye". Bill Jaker, WSKG. Web. YouTube. 29 Apr. 2015

    We Don't Say Goodbye recounts the story of the Holocaust as told by survivors who settled in New York's Southern Tier. Their first-person accounts encompass the history of the rise of the Nazi regime, discrimination against Jews, the destruction of Jewish property, the concentration camps, death marches and the liberation. 

    We Don't Say Goodbye was produced as a 1 hour PBS broadcast, WSKG TV in 2005. Much of the visual material in We Don't Say Goodbye is from the USC Shoah Foundation testimonies, collections of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial, The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jersusalem, Israel.