holocaust jewish oral history

The Memory Archives

The Memory Archives is an in-depth examination of one of the seminal events of the last 100 years. It is a compilation of the testimonies of survivors of the Holocaust and the descendants of those survivors as told through stories written, recorded and video-taped by 20 students from the International Media Center (IMC) at HAW Hamburg and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Over a period of half a year, I worked on an international team to research and contact people in the Chicago area with ancestoral roots in Hamburg. Using digital storytelling techniques, the team created an archive remembering Jewish lives in Nazi Germany and as they rebuilt their lives in the United States, connecting the sister cities of Chicago and Hamburg.


Written and produced by Shyla Nott and Lena Janz

Eva Eiseman was born and raised in Hamburg until she fled Germany with her family in December 1938. She died on Aug. 6, 2002 at 77 years old.

Eva Eiseman, née Cohen, was only 12 when she stood in her new dress at Hamburg’s harbor, waiting for one of the last ships to leave Germany to escape the Nazis. Her experiences influenced the way she lived her life in Chicago where she moved in 1964. Her sons, Steven and Rob, have always appreciated their mother’s witty expressions and zest for life. Although Mrs. Eiseman is gone, her sons keep her story alive.

Listen to the Cohen family story.

The work is also archived in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's online collection.