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Erika Mannheimer

Erika Mannheimer was born on 16 Nov 1923 in Bad Wildungen, Waldeck-Frankenberg,
Hessen, Germany. She lived in Bad Wildungen from 1923 to 1939. Erika lived at
Eichlerstrasse 23 from 1923 to1925 and at Lindenstrasse 3 from 1925 to 1939. She and her family were forced by the Nazis to leave their home in Bad Wildungen and move to Kassel. She lived in Kassel, Hessen, Germany between 1939–1941 at Banhoffstrasse 6. On Dec. 8,1941, Erika and her family were deported to the Riga Ghetto in Latvia, on a transport of 991 Jews. She lost 80 relatives in the Holocaust. The only other survivor in her family was her mother. Only three Jews from Bad Wildungen's 1200 survived the Holocaust. Erika, her mother Lina, and Selma Hammerschlag. Erika and Lina were two of approximately 500 survivors of the 20,000 Jews sent to Riga. In all Erika was at eleven different ghettos, concentration camps or work camps.
She arrived at the Riga Ghetto on Dec 12, 1941. On Feb. 6, 1942 she was sent to a work camp in Duenamunde, north of Riga. She returned to the Riga Ghetto and stayed until Oct. 1942, where she worked in the Luftwaffe (Air Force) Laundry, and also folded parachutes. On one occasion, she and some co-workers cut holes in some of the parachutes, saving the precious silk scraps in order to make undergarments. Then she was transfered to work in Linas Hazedek Hospital, in the ghetto, sorting clothes taken from new arrivals. In October, 1942, there was an Action (selection and murder process) where 40 Jewish Ghetto police and 100 sick and elderly were massacred. From Jan. 1943 until July 1943 Erika was at the labor camp Meteor, where there was a synthetic rubber factory. In July 1943 she was sent to Pleskau until October 1943, when she was sent back to Mitau (Jelgava) Latvia. Then Erika was sent to the Concentration Camp Kaiserwald, in Feb 1944, because the Ghetto was being closed in Riga. She stayed in Kaiserwald for 4 months. In June 1944 she was sent to the work camp at A.B.A., Armee Bekleidung Amt (Army Clothing Department), where clothes were sorted, cleaned and mended to be sent to the German soldiers fighting in Russia. As the Germans began to retreat from Russia, she was moved to the concentration camp Stutthof for 4 weeks. Then she was sent to camps at Thorn and Korben, where she blew up bridges (in order to delay the advancing Russians) and dug trenches for the German Panzer tanks. Then Erika partook in the Death March back to Poland heading toward Germany. On Jan. 27 1945, she was freed at Concentration Camp Bromberg, Poland, as the Germans scattered and ran from the approaching Russians leaving their prisoners behind. Erika came back to Kassel after being liberated, and was given a home to live in, located in the DP Camp set up in Kassel. These were homes confiscated from the Nazis by the Americans, under General Eisenhower.
She departed from Bremen, Germany on 22 Aug 1946 with her mother Lina. She arrived in New York City, NY on 31 Aug 1946. She arrived on the SS Marine Perch into New York City
harbor, pier 88. She lived in Bronx NY in 1946 at 1200 Simpson Street with her uncle (Lina's brother)Sigmund Lilienstein. She was able to get a job as a sewing machine operator until she got married on June 14, 1947. She lived in Brooklyn between 1947 and 1959 at 126 Weirfield Street after she married Max Oppenheimer. Lina moved to Brooklyn with her, and lived with Erika until her death in 1981. Erika lived in Flushing, NY from Aug 1959 until 1988. She died on Aug. 16, 1988 of heart attack at Booth Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, Flushing, NY. She is buried at New Montefiore Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY.