Oral history
History witnesses

Hanna Ettinger-Neuss

Interlocutor name:
Interlocutor surname:
Józef Markiewicz
Przemysław Jaczewski
Catalogue number:
Recording date:
7th June 2017
Recording location:
Recording duration:
Recording language:
Recording copyright:
POLIN Museum of the History of the Polish Jews
March’68 Participants and Witnesses

Related places

Interlocutor biogram

Hanna Etitnger-Neuss was born in 1954 in Warsaw. Her mother spent World War II in hiding. She was the only survivor of her entire family. Her father spent the war in the Soviet Union where he completed legal studies. After the war, her parents moved from Luck to Warsaw. Her mother worked as a journalist, and her father was a lawyer. He was an active member of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) and an active communist. Different war experiences caused different attitudes of Hanna’s parents to Poland- her mother wanted to leave for Israel while her father could not imagine himself living outside Poland. The March 1968 events forced them to immigrate to Germany where Hanna Ettinger-Neuss lives until now and works as a physician.   

Recording circumstances description

The conversation was recorded during the Reunion'68 meeting in Naharija, Israel.

Recording summary

  1. Initial information on Hanna Etinger-Neuss’ personal situation before leaving Poland; 00:00:15
  2. Different attitudes of Hanna’s parents towards leaving Poland; mutual decision to immigrate in the aftermath of the March ’68 events; Hanna’s father’s communist and party activities; his resignation from the party membership; 00:01:16
  3. Hanna’s father’s declarations as being the “Jewish communist”; her parents’ attitude towards religion; 00:06:15
  4. Hanna’s mother’s war experiences and their impact on her attitude towards Poland; reluctance of Hanna’s mother to live in Poland; 00:07:00
  5. Hanna’s mother’s desire to leave for Israel both during the war and after the war; contact with their cousin from Israel; 00:09:10
  6. Hanna’s father’s arguments for not leaving Poland; his faith in communist ideals; his good social standing; 00:10:20
  7. Hanna’s father’s war experiences; 00:11:30
  8. Hanna’s childhood and feelings while staying in Poland; the family’s reaction to the Six-Day War – belief that Poland sympathised with Israel; 00:13:00
  9. The March 1968 events from the perspective of a nineteen-years-old teenager – discussions within the family; discussion on immigration; 00:16:00
  10. Preparations for departure; Hanna’s father’s obtaining immigration documents at the last minute before departure to Vienna; travel to Vienna; 00:17:20
  11. Difficulties of making a decision where to go; disputes and different opinions of the family members; selecting Germany as the place of destination under the influence of the family’s friends; the lack of certainty that the decision was right; 00:19:05
  12. First days in Frankfurt on Main; the aid of the Jewish community; sharing the same room with the teenage daughter of the family’s friends; German language courses; 00:25:40
  13. Hanna’s and her brother’s dissatisfaction; Hanna’s demonstrations of her dissatisfaction in front of her parents and blaming them for the situation; 00:28:28
  14. Hanna’s odium towards the language school and learning German; expulsion from the language school; effective education in the experimental and friendly school near Frankfurt; 00:32:22
  15. Hanna’s decision to study medicine under the influence of her parents; 00:36:25
  16. Inability to leave Germany due to the necessity to take care of the ailing parents; departure of Hanna’s daughters just after their graduation from high schools; 00:38:25
  17. The necessity to preserve the diary of a teenage girl before leaving Poland; nightmare of the preparations to leave the country and to pass through the customs control; 00:41:00
  18. No direct experiences concerning anti-Semitism; 00:46:30
  19. The lack of Catholic friends; membership in the Socio-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland (TSKŻ) and in the Skier’s Club; 00:49:00
  20. Chicaneries and troubles of the friends who emigrated earlier; separating families, expulsion from apartments; supporting friends who did not have a place to stay during the last nights before departure; 00:50:45
  21. The obligation to submit written documents, e.g. diaries to be controlled and approved, as well as the lists of books before emigration; the ways of smuggling and dispatching the documents; 00:54:10
  22. Fear to demonstrate Jewish symbols such as Stars of David before the emigration; 00:57:45
  23. Successful professional situation of Hanna’s parents after the emigration; 01:00:15
  24. Visits to Poland; Hanna’s encounter with a friend after thirty years of not seeing each other, who returned to Warsaw after the March ’68 immigration; conflicting impressions from the ceremony under the Monument of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; 01:02:15
  25. Hanna’s attitude to Poland and her lack of interest in the Polish politics; her sense of grudge concerning her parents’ fate; inability to compensate for the harm done; 01:05:40
  26. No desire to regain the Polish citizenship; unclear links to the Polish culture; 01:08:50
  27. Hanna’s children’s attitude towards Poland; their knowledge of the Polish language; 01:10:25
  28. The need to make the Polish society aware of how great was their loss in the aftermath of the March ’68 immigration; 01:12:10
  29. The feeling of being a displaced person; 01:16:00
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