Survivor/Hidden, Survivor/False Papers
Vienna (Austria), Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Mrs. Ilse Loeb was born in Vienna, Austria. She had a wonderful childhood. She remembers her older brother taking her to concerts.
In March of 1938, everything changed. Hitler entered Austria and there was no resistance. In the summer of 1938, someone walked into her father’s printing business and said he had five minutes to get out and the business was no longer his.
On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht, the Germans arrested and rounded up her family who never came back. They were told to leave their apartment, leave their belongings and move in with another family in the same building. Mrs. Loeb managed to take one gold bracelet with her. Her parents felt that young people were at a high risk and told her to go with the Children’s Committee to Amsterdam. She was thirteen when her parents took her to the railroad station to leave for Holland. That was the last time Mrs. Loeb saw her family. She left with ten marks in her pocket. Her older brother had a girlfriend in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Germans thought she looked older than thirteen. She lived with Jewish foster parents and a foster sister from 1939 to 1940 until the war came to Holland.
From 1940 to 1942, the Jews were stripped of their rights and things continued to get worse, but she was still in touch with her parents. Her father was making English counterfeit money for the Germans.
In 1942, Mrs. Loeb received notice to be at the Amsterdam railroad station, arriving with Margo Frank, Ann Frank’s sister, before they went into hiding. She was told to be there at midnight. Her cousin, who was engaged to a Gentile woman, took her in and said she was the maid. They gave her a new identity, from the Dutch underground movement and falsified papers. She was now, supposedly, born in Holland as a Gentile and had a different name. She lived with them for about two years.
A Dutch Nazi became mayor of the town and tried to find the hidden Jews. Mrs. Loeb had only ten seconds to hide when their home was searched. Her brother’s fiancé Nikki contacted another family in the Dutch underground who took her in (the family name was Ott). The Ott family also saved thirty-six other Jews and were honored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem. Mrs. Loeb stayed for eight months, taking care of five children.
In 1944, the Germans were searching for men who could work. Later in September 1944 when the American and English forces moved forward, they were stopped by the Germans. That winter was freezing, there was no gas, no electricity and no food.
In May, 1945, the war ended. Her family had not survived, they had been tortured and died in Belzec.
Mrs. Loeb has four children and does speaking engagements in schools. She speaks for the memory of her parents that perished. She tells the students that it is their responsibility to tell that the Holocaust did happen.
Interviewer: Rene Lichtman