Survivor STORY

Inge Marx Robbins was born in Stuttgart, Germany. Her father, Hugo, lost his paper business after the "Aryanization" of Jewish businesses became law. In 1938, the Marx family emigrated to the United States, where they settled in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Inge and her husband, George, eventually settled in Atlanta and still work for the paper company, Piedmont National, established by Inge's father, Hugh (Hugo).

Inge and her brother, Albert, have committed themselves to having translated a trove of letters written by family members in Germany and Czechoslovakia just before and during the war, in many cases documenting their desperate attempts to get visas to leave Europe. Most of these relatives were not granted permission to emigrate and perished during the Holocaust.

Leaving Europe

And we did not know until that day that we were leaving, and no one, Mother could not tell her parents that we were leaving because I guess everyone was afraid of, not that they would tell, but they would be overwhelmed, and you know, so, that we could leave. And apparently, they came for my father that day to try to arrest him. They had arrested him a couple of times on blackmail-type charges. And just, I mean, things were really, really, really bad. And I guess if you didn't have your whole family there, your beautiful house, your big business and so forth, you know, nice lifestyle, you just would have left a lot sooner, but it was just giving up everything.

Learning English

Well, the day after we got there, they put me in school. And I was like a, some kind of a star to these people, because I was an oddity, obviously - dressed differently, spoke differently, if I spoke, and I was very shy anyway. But they had autograph books, and they wanted me to sign in their autograph books, because the script, the German script that I learned, was not the English script. So it was interesting, but they started me in kindergarten, and I went to, by the time I finished that year, I was in the regular grade where I would have been, but they started early so that I would learn the language.

Life and Survival in Europe

I just can't believe that somebody could be so terrible towards humanity. It's just unbelievable that they could, it's just like a puppet on a string, they swing you this way and that way and you have no control over anything. They take everything away from you. My grandparents write that they had to take a border, they had to have a woman living there, my, they had to start doing any kind of work. And oh, one of the things in the letters, everyone was trying to learn a new trade they could work on over here, so when they came they would have a job. And my aunt from Czechoslovakia, she writes about that often, she's learning to sew and she's learning other kinds of things, and her husband's learning to be a chef. I mean, they were just very industrious, trying to prepare for leaving, and nothing ever happened, except bad, you know, it was just one bad thing after the other.

American Dream

We're the luckiest people, I think. I mean, with all the bad that's happened. You just have to be positive and look to the future. And it's [America's] a wonderful place to live and a wonderful place to raise your family, and we were very fortunate. That was the only thing that came out of that, the fact that we were very fortunate to be able to start a new life here. And with all the freedom, and you can earn, work hard, you earn what you work for, generally. So, it's, and the work ethic is German, as you probably know, so there is the work ethic there, so people who came did work very hard, for the most part. So, we feel, I feel extremely fortunate. And just couldn't, I mean that was the silver lining.

Inge Marx Robbins