Sunday, September 4, 2016

Caroline Heller

Caroline Heller is the author of the book Reading Claudius: A Memoir in Two Parts. From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: What was the role of Edward R. Murrow in helping your father leave Europe?

A: I think about that a lot because of what’s going on now in terms of refugees. The whole story would have been 100 percent different had Edward R. Murrow not made that connection with my father. It was quite serendipitous.

In April 1945 the camps were quasi-liberated but there was still a lot of death. My father [who had gone to medical school] summoned the doctor in him and [separated] the prisoners with TB…

When Edward R. Murrow came in with the soldiers, he went to that building. My father was one of the strongest physically in that building, and he became one of Murrow’s guides. Murrow said, What can I do for you? [My father] said, Please, get my name on air. No one knows I survived.

In one of my research trips I met with [my parents’ friend] Eve Adler Road. She was with Erich and Eve’s husband [in England] the night of that broadcast. They heard it as live as it could have been at that time.

There was a postscript to the evening news—no one ever knew what it would be. That evening, they said, Let’s keep the radio on. And it was the Buchenwald broadcast. I was so blessed that Eve lived so long [and could describe it to me]—Erich never talked about it in that detail.

It’s very much as it shows up in the letters my father wrote to my mother. Murrow stayed in touch, and [my father] got his personal assistance in getting a visa…if you’re just a number, one of thousands of refugees who needs help, it can happen or not, unless someone is your advocate. That was Murrow for my father.

When we lived in Washington, they were pretty closely in touch. I knew my father visited Edward R. Murrow when...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue