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Johanna (Hanne) Hirsch

Karlsruhe, Germany

Hanne was born to a Jewish family in the German city of Karlsruhe. Her father, Max, was a photographer. When he died in 1925, Hanne's mother, Ella, continued to maintain his studio. In 1930 Hanne began public school.

1933-39: In April 1933 our studio, like the other Jewish businesses in Karlsruhe, was plastered with signs during theanti-Jewish boycott: "Don't buy from Jews." At school, a classmate made me so furious with her taunts that I ripped her sweater. After the November 1938 pogroms the studio was busy making photos for the new ID cards marked "J" that Jews had to carry. The studio remained open until December 31 when all Jewish businesses had to be closed.

1940-44: In 1940 we were deported toGurs, a Vichy detention camp on the French-Spanish border. I learned from a social worker there that a pastor in Le Chambon village wanted to bring children out of the camp. This social worker, from the Children's Aid Society, got me out. Being free was heavenly. But by 1942 the German roundups reached even to Le Chambon and I was sent to hide at two different farms. The farmers were glad to help. One said, "Even if we have less, we want to help more people." In early 1943 I escaped to Switzerland.

After the war, Hanne lived in various cities in Switzerland. In 1945 she married Max Liebmann and three years later she emigrated with her husband and daughter to the United States.

 

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