Margot Jeremias
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Margot Jeremias

Margot Jeremias Born: February 10, 1926, Germany
Interred: October 22, 1940
Liberated: Fall 1944
Immigrated to America:  1946

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Margot Jeremias (nee Gunther) was born in Heidelberg, Germany on February 10, 1926.  She grew up in a small village near Heidelberg named Hoffenheim, where her parents owned a dry-goods business. After Hitler and the Nazis came to power, Margot began to experience discrimination; the other children bullied her and soon she was no longer allowed to attend German schools. In 1938, her sister, Inge (aged 17) moved to the United States but Margot and her family stayed in Hoffenheim. 

On November 9-10, 1938, Kristallnacht, her father was arrested and imprisoned in Dachau for 5 weeks along with the adult Jewish males of Hoffenheim. On October 22, 1940, Margot (age 14) and her parents were deported to the Gurs internment camp in Vichy, France. She lived in a children’s camp for 6 months, then transferred to Rivesaltes on April 20, 1941 before she was taken to a French Jewish scouts camp (Eclaireurs Israelites Francais). Her parents were sent to Drancy (near Paris) in August 1942 and then deported to Auschwitz where they were likely murdered on arrival.

With the help of the French Underground (and two women code-named Sultane and Chevre-Feuille) Margot was sheltered for a year at Riscle convent using a false identity and then worked as a maid for a non-Jewish family (Malan) in Brives until the war ended. After the liberation of France (in fall 1944), Margot returned to a children’s home in Moissac operated by the OSE, where she spent 2 years before finally managing to reunite with her sister in New York City.  Margot married a German Jew (Martin Jeremias) who had served in the intelligence service with the US Army in WWII. They raised their family in New York City, two daughters, seven grandchildren eighteen great grandchildren (and counting) and as Margot says, “all from little old me.”