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Eva Rapaport

Vienna, Austria

Eva was the only child born to nonreligious Jewish parents. Her father was a journalist. Eva enjoyed spending time with her cousin Susie, who was two years older. Eva also took special vacations with her mother. Sometimes they went skiing in the Austrian alps, and on other occasions they stayed at her uncle's cabin along the Danube River.

1933-39: When the Germans annexed Austria in 1938, life changed. Father was harassed by the Gestapo for writing articles against the Germans. My good friends called me bad names because I was Jewish. My parents said we had to escape. We fled by train to Paris. One day there, in my third-grade class, bombs began falling. We raced to the air-raid shelter and put on gas masks. The smell of rubber was overwhelming. I felt like I was choking.

1940-44: After the Germans entered Paris in 1940, we escaped to the unoccupied south. Two years later, when I was 13, Germans occupied the south and we were forced to move on again. During the treacherous trek in the mountains between Switzerland and France, we took refuge in the small French village of St. Martin. The village priest, Father Longeray, let my parents hide in his basement. I lived openly in the parish house as a shepherdess. I attended church with the other children and learned the Catholic mass in Latin.

Eva and her parents remained hidden in St. Martin. They were liberated at the end of 1944. In 1948, when Eva was 18, she and her parents emigrated to the United States.

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