Latvia, Stutthof Concentration Camp
Mrs. Natasha Glossen was born in Latvia in a German prison internment camp. She and her mother were taken to a concentration camp, where she was used for experiments.
When her mother discovered that they were going to trash her, her mother put a cross on her and sent her into the forest with the partisans where she was rescued. The partisans placed Mrs. Glossen in a Riga State children’s home. From there, she was taken to Germany and placed in a children’s orphanage where she remembers many atrocities. She was in this home until 1949.
Mrs. Glossen’s father, a Ukrainian, was a partisan, who was captured by the Nazis and escaped. Both of Mrs. Glossen’s parents were partisans during the war, they met in Latvia and married. Both parents were captured by the Nazis and taken to Stutthof and her mother was then taken to Ravensbruck. Mrs. Glossen does not know what happened to her father, but did find out later that her mother survived the camps.
Mrs. Glossen came to the United States in 1949 with her mother’s last name on a piece of paper. She had no Jewish or Nazi connection and was told she was in a Communist Gulag. New York City was the first place she arrived and then came to Michigan where she was adopted by a Gentile family in Detroit. She grew up in Michigan and later married moved to Hagerstown, Maryland.
One day, in 1979, Mrs. Glossen saw Phil Donahue on television and heard Florence Fisher talking about adoption. She called in and began searching for her family. In 1981, she discovered that she had surviving relatives. Her mother had survived the camps, remarried and had three children, one boy and two girls from her second marriage.
In November of 1996, Mrs. Glossen received a letter from Budapest, Hungary from her half brother, Evar. She traveled to meet him the following month. He welcomed her with open arms and they bonded immediately. From him, Mrs. Glossen found out that her mother and father were both Jewish. Mrs. Glossen said that finding out that she was Jewish was like “the shoe fit”, although she didn’t “fit the type” and didn’t look Jewish.
When Mrs. Glossen’s mother’s new husband discovered that his wife was Jewish, he wasn’t happy or supportive. Her mother never talked about the war until her new children were in their teens. She would cry and lock herself in her room. She continued to look for her daughter, Natasha, until the day she died in an automobile accident. It gave Mrs. Glossen comfort to know that her mother loved her. She also received a letter in Russian from her mother’s aunt saying that her mother was very upset that the Nazis had performed experiments on her daughter, Natasha.
Mrs. Glossen attended attended a Holocaust survivors group meeting In Norfolk, Virginia and listened to older survivors put into words exactly how she felt.
Date: July 2000
Interviewer: Rene Lichtman (World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust)