Lewenstein, Minnie
Interview Date
February 7, 1992
Minnie Lewenstein, a beautician who survived World War II in Central Asia; born, 1916.
[T1S1] Respondent provides biographical information. Fates of siblings are enumerated. Respondent recounts brother's escape from execution in Budapest and sisters' escape and subsistence during WWII. Father's occupation, mother's death and assistance of relatives are indicated. Respondent explains separation from fiancé and unsuccessful attempt to flee to Palestine during WWII. Circumstances of meeting future husband are indicated. Respondent's flight by boat, train, wagon and foot into Russia in front of the advancing German army is extensively recounted.
[T1S2] Respondent's flight deep into Russia ahead of the German army is extensively recounted. Respondent indicates the means of subsistence in the Belarus and Central Asia. Events surrounding birth of first child in Uzbekistan are related. Circumstances of husband's conscription into the Russian army, and his subsequent name change, are detailed. Respondent recounts theft and forgery of prescriptions in Russia during wartime. Reunion with husband is noted.
[T2S3] Husband's service and desertion from Russian army is indicated. Respondent outlines means of support in Uzbekistan and indicates living conditions in Russia. Work and remuneration in barbershop is outlined. Respondent explains corruption and theft of foodstuffs during wartime; husband's conviction and amnesty are recounted.
[T2S4] Respondent indicates husband's name changes. People who lived with Respondent in Russia are characterized. Respondent extensively recounts the animosity expressed by Poles on Respondent's journey west after the war. Respondent's flight first to Czechoslovakia, then to Austria is explained. Means of subsistence in Austria and Germany are indicated. Family members who survived the concentration camps are specified. Living conditions in Central Asia are described.
[T3S5] Husband's post-war sale of property in Poland is reported. Respondent's means of subsistence in Germany is related. Conditions in displaced persons camps in Germany are described. Habits of Asian Muslims are detailed. Respondent's and husband's lives in Central Asia are discussed; post-war attitudes of Poles and Germans are related. Relatives' survivals and deaths in the Holocaust are discussed. Sisters' escape from S.S. and conditions in temporary refuge are related.
[T3S6] Haven offered to sisters is recounted. Brother's escape during WWII is reiterated. Imprisonment of sister is related. Reunion with sister in Germany is reported. Respondent's and siblings' immigrations to U.S. are indicated. Lack of amenities in U.S. is noted; Respondent's work and education in U.S. is indicated. Respondent enumerates beauty shops for which Respondent worked prior to opening own salon. Respondent explains closing her shop and not living in Squirrel Hill.
[T4S7] Education of son is enumerated; son's children and marriages are indicated. Respondent's hobbies and friends are specified. Respondent indicates synagogue affiliation and contrasts parents' and own religiosity. Respondent explains lack of religious sentiment. Respondent's early religious and trade education in Europe is discussed. Respondent's rowdiness as youth is illustrated. Respondent's first engagement prior to WWI is discussed; circumstances of meeting future husband are explained. Inability to flee to Palestine is recounted. Reputation of German army at onset of WWII is related. Farming in Central Asia and survival during wartime are described. Respondent extensively discusses having abortion and explains the process of obtaining prescriptions in wartime Russia.
[T4S8] No abstract for this side.
[T5S9] Relatives' immigrations after WWII are indicated as is husband's difficulty obtaining work as baker in Pittsburgh. [Extraneous material] Loan obtained to study English is noted. Respondent's work as beautician in Pittsburgh is chronicled. Respondent outlines son's educations and own migration through Europe. Means of subsistence in post-war Europe, route to U.S. and duration of stay in displaced persons camp are indicated. Husband's sale of property in Poland, his detention there, and return to Germany are indicated. Respondent's relocation to Pittsburgh is reiterated; Respondent's reasons for not living in Squirrel Hill are expressed. Changes in government of hometown and ethnic diversity of region in Europe are indicated; differences in Romanians' and Hungarians' treatment of Jews are illustrated.
[T5S10] Respondent's trade, mother's death, father's profession, family's religious attitudes are expressed. Respondent extensively recounts visit of Supinker Rebbe. Parents' arranged marriage is noted; Respondent's first boyfriend is described. Family's house in Europe is described. Meal on Sabbath is specified. Lack of amenities in home is indicated; modernity of town is assessed. Respondent's apprenticeship in Europe is discussed.
Quality of life--Europe; Russia; World War, 1939-1945
Birth Date
Sapinska; Marmaseta
Occupation (father)
Length (hours)
Gordon, Debra
Ariel, Rose Anne
Gordon, Debra/ Ariel, Rose Anne
Collateral Materials
Box 104 FF 5
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