The Reesers were born in what is now Czech Republic, formerly known as the Czechoslovakia, in a small town provincial town of about 30,000 people, located about 60 km west of Prague. Karl’s life in Rakovnik was very pleasant and luxurious. He and his family lived in a very large house facing the pretty main square, called Husovo namesti.
When the German invasion happened, things changed quickly though; and with the implementation of the Nuremberg Laws, the Reesers made their way from Prague to Paris.
In Paris, life for the Reeser family consisted largely of meeting with members of the small Czech community and pursing arrangement to emigrate to Canada. After a week or so, they received word that their visas to Canada were ready to be picked up; at the Canadian Consulate they received all documents required to Enter Canada as permanent immigrants. Moving to Canada was a very difficult process for the Reeser family because of the barriers encountered by European Jews, but they made it, and Karl remains thankful for that.
Karl was interviewed for this project in January 2014 by Crestwood student Joanna Estey.
Oral History Project April 6th, 2014
Edith Pagelson’s personal story of survival began in Germany. She and her family were victims of Hitler’s Nazi regime well before the war began, feeling the sting of the Nuremberg Laws and Kristallnacht all through the 1930s. She and her family were deported from Duisberg to the Terezin Ghetto, where Edith’s father died. After spending some time, she and her mother were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they spent a few months before being selected as labourers and sent to Stutthof, on the eastern front. They laboured as the Soviet Red Army closed in and the end of the war drew near. After liberation, Edith fought to regain her health, and she and her mother managed to get back to Germany, from where they later emigrated to the United States, where she settled in Brooklyn.
Edith was interviewed by Scott Masters in her home in Portland, Maine, along with Chuck Sanford and David Astor, both of whom appear in the Military Veterans section of the Oral History Project.
admin July 9th, 2012