Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Golda Wollfogel

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - Life in Kaunas during German invasion

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I just want you to, uh, s, say whatever. I, if you feel uncomfortable and if you don't want to talk about, you just talk about what you want.

Segment Synopsis: Golda Wollfogel discusses her time in Kaunas just before and during Germany's invasion of Lithuania. She explains the reasons she was away from her family during this time and how one of her sisters came to Kaunas to be with her. She shares about attempting to escape to Russia.

Keywords: Adolf Hitler; Eastern Europe; Education; Escape; Family; German arrival; German occupation; German soldiers; High school; Jewish community; Jewish gymnasiums; Parents; Private schools; Religious schools; Russia; Siblings; Sisters

Subjects: Jewish families; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

GPS: Kaunas (Lithuania)
Map Coordinates: 54.897222, 23.886111
00:04:22 - Capture while escaping to Russia

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But I never was in Russia, but they caught us closer. In a town closer to Russia. We walked days and days and the bombs and everything.

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel describes escaping Lithuania on foot in order to get to Russia. She shares about her capture in a little town near the Russian border and being placed in a labor camp with her sister. She recalls the conditions of the labor camp she was imprisoned in by German soldiers. She shares about a man she knew outside of the labor camp who made make up used by opera actors.

Keywords: Arrests; Bombs; Brothers; Capture; Deaths; Eastern Europe; Escape; Family; Friends; German occupation; Hard labor; Jails; Jewish community; Living conditions; Opera; Russia; Shootings; Sisters

Subjects: Genocide; Jewish ghettos; Labor camps; World War, 1939-1945

00:08:22 - Sister's escape from labor camp

Play segment

Partial Transcript: This man, use to go to the opera and they use to take me too.

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel shares about a man named Kipras Petrauskas, an opera singer who made counterfeit passports. She explains her sister Dora's escape from the labor camp and where she stayed outside the camp. She discusses the murder of her sister as well.

Keywords: Actors; Aiding Jews; Arrests; Counterfeiting; Escape; Family; Farms; Gentiles; Gestapo; Murder; Opera; Passports; Sisters

Subjects: Jewish families; Labor camps; Petrauskas, Kipras, 1885-1968

00:12:08 - Arrest for counterfeit passport

Play segment

Partial Transcript: He made me a passport and he told me that I should come to pick up the passport he made for me to--the same, not Ip, the Kipras Petrauskas, and he made for me the passport to go out.

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel recounts her arrest in the labor camp for having a counterfeit passport she received from Kipras Petrauskas. She explains that a man told the gestapo about her receiving a counterfeit passport which led to her arrest. She describes her time in jail and the way she was able to finally return to working in the labor camp.

Keywords: Arrests; Children; Counterfeiting; Executions; Fake papers; Friendships; German soldiers; Gestapo; Hard labor; Jails; Opera; Passports

Subjects: Labor camps; Petrauskas, Kipras, 1885-1968; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

00:16:46 - Brother's almost-escape / difficulty remembering dates

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So later on it started, all the trouble. My parents, I knew that my parents was killed right away.

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel shares about her parents' death, and her brother's friends who were going to help him escape. She discusses her trouble remembering events during this time and difficulty recalling dates.

Keywords: Adolf Hitler; Brothers; Capture; Dates; Death; Family; Friendships; German arrival; German occupation; German soldiers; Ghettos; Jewish gymnasiums; Memories; Radios; Survival

Subjects: Jewish families; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

GPS: Kaunas (Lithuania)
Map Coordinates: 54.897222, 23.886111
00:23:01 - Friends in the same labor camp / escape from labor camp

Play segment

Partial Transcript: The Germans came in 1944--

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel remembers the friends she met in the labor camp and being able to stay with them during their time at the camp. She describes some of the work they did while imprisoned, and escaping on the way to a work assignment.

Keywords: Aiding the Jews; Battles; Bombings; Escape; Fighting; Food; Friendships; German soldiers; Hard labor; Jewish community; Marches; Russian soldiers; Shootings; Starvation; Women; Young girls

Subjects: Labor camp; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

00:32:00 - Return to Lithuania

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, but there was one commander what he took us on a wagon, with--uh, on a wagon? Or what was it? A big truck, how do you say?

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel describes being returned to Lithuania by Russian soldiers in a coal truck. She shares about a murder of a Polish family and seeing their bodies in a temple in a little town. She remembers finding two of her friends' children in a kindergarten set up by the Lithuanian government to protect Jewish children.

Keywords: Children; Coal trucks; Families; Friendships; Jewish community; Kindergarten; Lithuanian government; Murders; Polish Jews; Russian soldiers; Synagogue; Temples; Tragedies; Travel

Subjects: Holocaust survivors; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

00:37:20 - Reuniting with her sister / family background

Play segment

Partial Transcript: When we were going, I was asking that there must be some people where they know more about. That there are maybe some people are more in some places.

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel describes how she was reunited with her sister who was in Russia. She explains helping her return to Lithuania and that they were the only living members of their family left. She shares about her family's life before the war.

Keywords: America; Career histories; Children; Death; Father; Holland cheese; Marriage; Mother; Parents; Restaurants; Russia; Russian occupation; Sisters; Untied States

Subjects: Jewish families; World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

GPS: Baltimore (Md.)
Map Coordinates: 39.283333, -76.616667
00:43:08 - Escape from the Russians

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I was not a--from Lithuania I brought over my sister with a family back to Lithuania. And I escaped from there, and they didn't want to go they were afraid with the children.

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel discusses her escape from Russian-occupied Lithuania after the war. She shares about the group of people who she escaped with and their ability to create counterfeit passports and papers. She tells about their route and how she ended up in Munich, Germany.

Keywords: Children; Communism; Counterfeiting; Escape; False papers; Family; Jewish community; Passports; Post-World War II; Russian occupation

Subjects: Holocaust survivors; Holocaust survivors--Interviews

00:47:09 - Settling in Munich, Germany

Play segment

Partial Transcript: No when I came like this, today, in the morning. I came to Munich. And I suppose to be registered that I am there. So when I came and I went in in the office, in the committee, and I found there a friend of a brother of mine.

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel describes settling down in Germany for a few years before moving to the United States. She remembers being asked to work in a warehouse where DDPs from the United States were kept. She shares about taking penicillin to a nearby hospital for concentration camp survivors who had tuberculosis.

Keywords: DDPs; Employment; Friendships; German government; Hospitals; Marriage; Medication; Penicillin; Registration; TB; Tuberculosis

Subjects: Holocaust survivors; Holocaust survivors--Interviews

GPS: Munich (Germany)
Map Coordinates: 48.133333, 11.566667
00:51:45 - More about her sister in Lithuania / going to the United States

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What happened to your sister in, in, uh, in Lithuania?

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel describes meeting people that she knew in Munich, Germany who survived the concentration camp. She recalls bringing her sister and her sister's family to Lithuania in detail. She explains life in Germany, and her reasons behind coming to the United States.

Keywords: Children; Committees; Employment; Family; Friendship; Immigration; Israel; Jewish community; Personal struggles; Reunited; Sisters; United States

Subjects: Holocaust survivors--Interviews; Jewish families

00:55:27 - Life in United States

Play segment

Partial Transcript: My husband he was from a very wealthy family, he had two stores.

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel describes her husband's life before the war and their life in the United States. She discusses their struggles and the way they overcame living in a country without knowing the language. She explains a settlement she received from Germany.

Keywords: Children; Daily life; Degrees; Education; Employment; Factories; Family; Germany; Husband; Lawsuits; Personal struggles; Schools; Settlements; Success

Subjects: Holocaust survivors--Interviews; Jewish families

00:59:06 - Visiting her sister in Russia

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But the minute I got-----?? I said to my husband, I went to the store. And I said, Abe, if you want to have a wife and if you want to have a mother to the children I have to go to see my sister.

Segment Synopsis: Wollfogel describes visiting her sister in Russia in 1967. She discusses meeting survivors who had family in the United States who wanted her to contact their family members.

Keywords: Celebrations; Children; Family; Jewish holidays; Long Island; Russia; Sister; Survivors; United States

Subjects: Holocaust survivors--Interviews; Jewish families