Open Tuesdays through Sundays 1:00pm – 4:00pm; Daily Docent Tours at 1:30pm

Ilse Wischia (born Ilse Linz) and her family lived in Rotenburg, Germany. After Kristallnacht, they fled to Frankfurt. Ilse’s father was arrested and taken to Buchenwald concentration camp. He was released due to his World War I war record and ordered to leave Germany. Mr. Linz had to leave his family behind.

After her father’s departure, Ilse’s mother learned about the Kindertransport. Ilse’s train took her to Holland where her father joined her. He rode with her until the French border and put her on a boat to cross the Channel to England. During this time, Ilse’s mother and brother were waiting for their quota number to come up for them to immigrate to the United States.

Ilse was met in England by a representative of the Refugee Committee of Bloomsbury who took Ilse to an English boarding school. She experienced great difficulties there—they lacked food and the students resorted to eating grass. Ilse was forbidden to speak German but not taught English. Eventually, the couple who ran the school was arrested. Ilse and her peers moved to another school, The Atherton School, run by a Jewish couple.

Finally, in 1940, Ilse was allowed to meet her parents in the United States. She took a convoy boat to NYC and met her parents in Chicago the following day. Ilse married and had two children. Much later, Ilse and her daughter returned to Rotenberg and by the request of a man collecting artifacts and archives of the time period.

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