Oral History Interview with Ellen Tarlow

Ellen Tarlow (née Meinberg), born in 1927 in Gütersloh, Westphalia, Germany, describes how her family had lived in Gütersloh since the 17th century; her father Paul Meinberg, who was an importer of cattle and was decorated with the Iron Cross in WWI; her early childhood in public school and then a Lyceum for girls; feeling antisemitism for the first time at the age of eight and being expelled from school in 1938; studying Hebrew and the Bible once a week; Nazi atrocities during and after Kristallnacht, including social ostracism, the burning of their home and synagogue, her father’s deportation to Buchenwald; her father fleeing from Buchenwald; finding shelter with her remaining family in a local cloister then fleeing to Bielefeld, Germany; their life in a Judenhaus in Gütersloh and the continued attempts to educate the children there; HIAS helping her family many times; receiving aid from several Germans in Gütersloh; a failed attempt to immigrate to Haiti; her family leaving Germany for the United States via Lisbon, Portugal, on the SS Mouzinho in August 1941; the journey from Berlin, Germany to Lisbon in a sealed train and staying in Lisbon in a group home run by HIAS; how refugees organized to cope with primitive conditions on the ship; arriving in Staten Island, NY and going through immigration processing; her life in New York in a group home for refugees sponsored by HIAS; her family’s adjustment to life in the United States and the survivor’s guilt she feels; and her return to Germany by invitation in 1985 accompanied by her husband and daughter.

Date: 11/19/1993
Interviewer: Natalie Packel
Interviewee: Ellen Tarlow
Language: English
Subject: Antisemitism in education--Germany.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Germany--Personal narratives.
Jewish refugees--United States.
Jews, German--United States.
Kristallnacht, 1938.
Refugee camps--United States.
Synagogues--Destruction and pillage.
World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities--Germany.
Women--Personal narratives.
Bielefeld (Germany)
Germany--Social conditions--1933-1945.
Gütersloh (Germany)
Lisbon (Portugal)
Staten Island (New York, N.Y.)
United States--Emigration and immigration.
Tarlow, Ellen, 1927-
Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America.
Location: Gütersloh, Germany
Bielefeld, Germany
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-ellen-tarlow/