Jewish Witness to a European Century

Journeys through an
oral history archive

Ukraine Centropa

About Centropa Stories

Where podcasting meets 20th century history and audio theatre.

Between 2000 and 2009, Centropa interviewed 1,230 elderly Jews still living between the Baltic and the Aegean Seas. They shared their life stories and 25,000 family pictures with us, all of which you can find at www.centropa.org.

This archive of Jewish memory has enabled us to produce award winning films, educational programs, illustrated books, walking tour apps and exhibitions. And now CENTROPA STORIES is producing an ongoing series of podcasts—all based on the life stories of those we interviewed.

Each quarter, we will present a thematic set of stories read by first rate actors in London, Vienna, Kyiv, Belgrade and Warsaw, so be sure to subscribe to CENTROPA STORIES. You’ll find us wherever you get your podcasts.

Our Podcast Seasons

22 June, 1941, Operation Barbarossa

22 June, 1941, Operation Barbarossa

The date when the German Army, along with its Finnish, Hungarian, Slovak, Italian and Romanian allies all surged across the borders of the Baltic states, eastern Poland and the Soviet Union. Adolf Hitler’s goal: to destroy the Soviet Union.Aside from the horrors about to be inflicted on everyone, it was the Jewish population that would suffer the most.By the time Stalin’s army had regrouped, rearmed and retook their land in 1943 and 1944, every Jew who had not fled--or been spirited away in organized evacuations--would find themselves in ghettos, marched into forests or to the edge of ravines--and murdered.First it was tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands and eventually millions.The Germans and their allies did not act alone. Far too many locals in these lands lent a willing hand-- although in every country, there were a few brave souls who hid a friend, a neighbor, or a complete stranger.In this first season of CENTROPA STORIES, we’re going to hear from three Centropa interviewees—all of whom remember the 22nd of June—when they were just children.

9 November, 1938

9 November, 1938

Picture this: you’re a child, between the ages of 9 and 14. You’re living in Vienna You’re Jewish.So far, so good.But its March, 1938, when German troops are marching over the Austrian border—unopposed. More than 175,000 Jews are living in Vienna and every one of them is suddenly desperate to get out of the country. Your parents included.Then comes 9 November, 1938: Reichspogromnacht. Scores of synagogues are put to the torch, hundreds of Jewish businesses are ransacked, thousands of Jewish men are beaten on the streets and a great many are shipped off to concentration camps.In Season Two of CENTROPA STORIES, you will meet three of our interviewees whose parents took them to Vienna’s train stations and put them on Kindertransports to England, then went home to wait for the knock on the door they knew would come.You’re also going to meet three people who fled with their entire families—and ended up hiding in Budapest, sent to a prison camp in Kazakhstan, and even to a British army prison—in the Indian Ocean.