Tennessee Holocaust Commission Home

Hanna Hamburger

Tennessee Holocaust Commission -

Nashville, Tennessee
Born: 1922 Eppingen, Germany
Refugee : United States

“There were good people then, too. Not everyone believed what the Nazis told them,“ says Hanna Hamburger. “The nun at my school refused to allow me to be ridiculed. She protected me a lot.“

Raised in Germany, Hanna Hamburger escaped Nazism at the age of sixteen. She and her family managed to leave just weeks before Kristallnacht. She recalls the fear and intimidation and the quiet exchanges between her parents. During the Boycott of 1933, Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, urged Germans to boycott Jewish-owned businesses. The boycott bankrupted Hanna's father. Anti-Semitism was rampant. At Hannah's fifteenth birthday party, no one came. “I can still see myself all dressed up waiting for my guests,“ she recalls. But she also remembers the Nazi physician who tenderly cared for her grandmother, the nun who protected her from anti-Semitism in school, and the German soldiers who urged her father to leave.

Hanna's father wrote to America and asked for a visa. His timing was good. When they arrived in New York in 1938, her distinguished father became a dishwasher, her mother a maid. Today she admits, “I feel guilty for surviving when so many didn't. There was so much loss and so much torture.“