Audio Recording of Interview
Anne Moradpour discusses her experience as a Jewish girl escaping Nazi Germany in the Kindertransport and living in England before coming with her sister to the U.S., where they met their parents and settled in New York. She describes navigating her connection and practice of her faith, marrying a Jewish man from a different cultural tradition, and her favorite Jewish traditions.
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Narrator: Anne Moradpour
Location: NYC, New York
Summary: Anne Moradpour discusses her experience as a Jewish girl escaping Nazi Germany in the Kindertransport and living in England before coming with her sister to the U.S., where they met their parents and settled in New York. She describes navigating her connection and practice of her faith, marrying a Jewish man from a different cultural tradition, and her favorite Jewish traditions.
Topics: Relationship with Faith, Jewish Traditions, Evolution of Faith, Synagogues
Section 1: (00:00 – 06:56 )
Childhood- Was born in Berlin, Germany in 1927 and lived through Hitler’s rise to power. Her life changed after Hitler came and anti-Semitism and restrictions emerged. Went to a public school for first grade, but a law passed that Jewish children couldn’t attend public school. Then went to a Jewish day school until 1939, when her family left. In 1938, Kristallnacht occurred, when Jewish stores were plundered, synagogues were burnt and schools closed. This led her family to decide to leave Germany.
Leaving Germany- Her family signed up for Kindertransport, a program from the British government in which 3,000 German children were invited to live in England for a year to get on the list for visas. Left in May of 1939 with her sister through Kindertransport. Her parents left and went to Sweden in August of 1939, before the war started in September. Her parents came to the United States, while she and her sister stayed in England. Went to high school and worked in a nursing school with children. Worked in a private school with kindergarten children. Got a visa to come to the US with her sister in 1946, after the war.
Section 2: (06:56 – 37:21)
Religion- Grew up in a Jewish home and went to services with her family every Saturday. Learned Jewish history and Hebrew in school. Found a temple in England and continued her Jewish education there. Lived with Jewish people in her hostel and kept up Shabbat and sang Hebrew songs there. Parents went to Park Avenue Synagogue, but she didn’t feel comfortable there. Went to Central and felt welcome there, eventually joining and marrying her husband there.
Reformation- The reform movement was big in the US but not Europe. Many Jews were conservative or orthodox. Decided to go to a reform synagogue since her husband didn’t have much background and she didn’t speak much Hebrew.
Evolution of Faith- Says her Jewishness became more and more as time went on. After retiring, she devoted more time to the synagogue and did volunteer work. The synagogue has changed a lot since she has joined it and she worked as an usher during services. Goes to the synagogue most Friday nights and finds it to be a very comfortable place. Before joining Central, she mainly practiced at home and went to the synagogue for high holy days. Was affected by the anti-Semitism in Germany but never lost her tie to the Jewish religion. School helped teach her Jewishness before they were kicked out.
Beliefs- Shares that she does believe in God and that never changed. She feels very Jewish. Believes that there’s good and bad and people try to do the right thing, which is believing in God and carrying out the right things. Says she’s not really spiritual and more of a realist.
Section 3: (37:22 – 48:38 )
Marriage- Her husband came from Iran with little Jewish background, as Judaism was not very popular there. He adjusted to the religion by joining the synagogue. Says she wouldn’t have married outside the faith and felt more comfortable with a Jewish man.
Discrimination- Didn’t face discrimination in America, since it is such a melting pot and people are used to meeting from all over the world. There is a large Jewish population in New York City, which makes it easier to live there.
Tradition- Tradition of Passover is memorable to her, as her father used to lead the service and all the family came. Says people observe and think about religion in different ways. Religion was a continuity throughout her life.