Oral History Interview with Sybil A. Niemöeller

Sybil Niemöller (nee von Sell), born in 1923 in Potsdam, Germany, describes growing up in a Gentile, aristocratic Prussian family; her grandfathers, who were Prussian generals; how after World War I her father was appointed by Kaiser Wilhelm to be his financial advisor and administrator; growing up in Berlin-Dahlem, where she had several Jewish friends; how her parents were strongly anti-Nazi; her family attending the Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche), which was led by their friend Pastor Niemöller; how this church was founded as counterpart against the Christian German Church which had embraced Nazi ideology; being prevented from graduating from high school because she did not belong to the Hitler Youth; becoming an actress; how during the war her parents sheltered several Jews, disguised as seamstresses and gardeners; the involvement of two of her cousins, Werner von Haeften (who was adjuvant to Count von Stauffenberg) and Hans Bernt von Haeften, in the attempt on Hitler’s life in 1944 and were executed; being arrested with her father and interrogated at that time, but released; arriving in the United States in 1952 and becoming a US citizen in 1957; getting married to Pastor Martin Niemöller and accompanying him on his lecture tours; settling in Wiesbaden, Germany; and her husband’s suffering as “Hitler’s special prisoner” when he was incarcerated in Sachsenhausen and later in Dachau.

Date: 11/21/1986
Interviewer: Edith Millman
Interviewee: Sybil A. Niemöeller
Language: English
Subject: Actresses.
Anti-Nazi movement.
Christianity and antisemitism.
Hiding places--Germany.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Germany.
Righteous Gentiles in the Holocaust--Germany.
Women--Personal narratives.
World War, 1939-1945--Jews--Rescue--Germany.
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, German.
Location: Potsdam, Germany
Dahlem, Germany
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-sybil-a-niemoeller/
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