A series of interviews with Magda Herzberger in 1980 conducted by the Wisconsin Historical Society,
"Her story of survival"
"The Wisconsin Historical Society wanted to conduct a series of interviews with Wisconsin survivors of the Holocaust in 1979 and 1980, Archivist Barbara Kaiser of the Wisconsin Historical Society designed a series of interviews with Wisconsin survivors that discussed not only the Holocaust but also their family history, their childhoods, their post-war lives, their experiences as immigrants, and their opinions of America. In 1979 and 1980, she arranged 22 of these interviews, including this one with Magda Herzberger.
Magda's is one of the most remarkable. It opens with her descriptions of a loving family in the Jewish community of Cluj, Romania, during the 1930s. It recounts her teenage years, when Hitler's rising shadow spread eastward and her adolescent pleasures gave way to anti-Semitic persecution. Then, at an age when most young people are enjoying high school, Magda endured the nightmare of Auschwitz, performed slave labor in Bremen while Allied bombs fell all around her, and barely
escaped death at Bergen-Belsen.
But this interview is more than a Holocaust memoir. Magda also describes returning home, starting medical school, and falling in love. She explains how, witnessing the rise of Stalinism, she and her husband fled their native land for Palestine, only to be imprisoned by the British. She relates how they endured more than a year in an internment camp on Cyprus.
She provides eyewitness account of the birth of Israel and of starting a new life in the United States in 1957. She shares her feelings about her adopted country, about parenting and family life, about being Jewish in a small town in the Midwest, and about deciding to speak and write publicly about the Holocaust."