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Dora Unger

Essen, Germany

Dora, her parents, brother, aunt, uncle, and two cousins lived together in her grandfather's home in Essen, Germany. The Ungers were an observant Jewish family, and when Dora was 8, she began to regularly attend meetings of Brit HaNoar, a religious youth organization.

1933-39: In October 1938 a teacher, with tears in her eyes, came to me at the municipal pool, saying "Jews cannot swim here anymore." Just weeks later, on November 9, Jews were arrested and their property destroyed. A neighbor tried to protect us, but that night as our family huddled together, Nazis spotted our house. Suddenly, an axe flew through the window, landing by my head. A few days later, we fled for the Netherlands.

1940-45: In Amsterdam, as refugees, my parents were not permitted to work and so could not provide for me and my brother. I was sent by a Jewish aid organization to the Buergerweeshuis, an orphanage which had 80 Jewish refugee children. Just after the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, "Mama Wysmueller," a Dutch woman who worked to rescue thousands of children by arranging their passage to England, came and told all of us to get dressed. We were taken by bus to a pier and put on the Bodengraven, a boat.

Dora spent the remainder of the war in England. Her parents and brother perished at the camps of Sobibor and Auschwitz. Dora emigrated to Israel in 1946.

 

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