Ruth Birndorf was born in Munich, Germany in 1931. Throughout her childhood, anti-Jewish laws were implemented throughout the country. For Ruth’s family, anti-Jewish policy peaked in November 1938 when her grandfather’s store was destroyed in the Kristallnacht pogrom. One month after the pogrom, her family legally left Germany for Tilburg, The Netherlands, where her father had been earning a living. Life was not easy for Ruth in Tilburg. Her school teachers discriminated against her and other Jewish students. When Nazi Germany invaded The Netherlands, she was no longer allowed to go to school, but they were able to keep their home.
One day, the chief of police, who was secretly unsympathetic to the Nazi regime, received a notification that Ruth’s parents’ home was going to be taken over by Germans. He sent someone to warn them ahead of time, and so they left first thing in the morning and found refuge in a private home. Her father stayed with them for a few days and then joined the resistance in Amsterdam. Ruth spent the rest of the war hiding in homes, and was liberated by British troops. She speaks and educates regularly about her experiences in the Holocaust.
Surviving the Holocaust: Stories of Life
An ongoing project of KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles
and Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park