Lore Oppenheim

Nashville, Tennessee

Born: 1922 Wiesbaden, Germany

Refugee: Wiesbaden, Germany

“I’m very glad I fought for that education. No matter how adverse the conditions are, if you want education badly enough you really can get it.” Lore Oppenheim was expelled from 5th grade because of an antisemitic law, but then attended a 2-person Jewish boarding school. The school closed; Lore got a tutor. In 1938 Lore attended a Jewish school in Frankfurt. The day after Kristallnacht a terrified Lore made her way home to Wiesbaden. She found her father and uncle in hiding; their business destroyed; the synagogue ashes. The teenager worked and trained in an orphanage, then in health care, and narrowly escaped a labor camp.”

After a failed attempt to leave Germany, Lore’s family obtained visas to the Dominican Republic. The final paperwork was obtained through a lucky accident! The ship from Lisbon traveled through New York where the family was detained. Lore earned her high school credits and attended New York University, graduating in 1948 with a degree in occupational therapy. “I was deprived of my normal teenage years,” she said. Panic attacks struck her on the subway, reminiscent of fearful train rides through Germany.

In 1952 Lore married Ernest Oppenheim. Their daughter Carol was born in 1957. The Oppenheim family moved to Nashville where Ernest had family in business. Lore worked for the Tennessee Department of Public Health and for the School for the Blind. In 1989 she returned to Wiesbaden for two days, but it was not a happy visit.