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December 31, 1934 | Kippenheim, Germany
USHMM Collection, Gift of Inge Auerbacher In 1942, seven-year-old Inge Auerbacher was deported with her parents to the Theresienstadt ghetto. She brought along this doll, named “Marlene” after German actress Marlene Dietrich, which her grandmother had given her. It would remain with ...
Inge was the only child of Berthold and Regina Auerbacher, religious Jews living in Kippenheim, a village in southwestern Germany near the Black Forest. Her father was a textile merchant. The family lived in a large house with 17 rooms and had servants to help with the housework.
1933-39: On November 10, 1938, hoodlums threw rocks and broke all the windows of our home. That same day police arrested my father and grandfather. My mother, my grandmother and I managed to hide in a shed until it was quiet. When we came out, the town's Jewish men had been taken to the Dachau concentration camp. My father and grandfather were allowed to return home a few weeks later, but that May my grandfather died of a heart attack.
"Kristallnacht": nationwide pogrom
1940-45: When I was 7, I was deported with my parents to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. When we arrived, everything was taken from us, except for the clothes we wore and my doll, Marlene. Conditions in the camp were harsh. Potatoes were as valuable as diamonds. I was hungry, scared and sick most of the time. For my eighth birthday, my parents gave me a tiny potato cake with a hint of sugar; for my ninth birthday, an outfit sewn from rags for my doll; and for my tenth birthday, a poem written by my mother.
On May 8, 1945, Inge and her parents were liberated from the Theresienstadt ghetto where they had spent nearly three years. They emigrated to the United States in May 1946.