Fred Terna and Rebecca Shiffman: An oral history of a Jewish-American marriage

Posted on November 11, 2010


In March 1939, four months after Kristallnact and six months after the Munich agreement under which Czechoslovakia was compelled to cede the Sudetenland, the German speaking areas that abutted the German border, to Germany, German troops occupied the rest of Czech speaking Bohemia and Moravia in what is today the Czech Republic, and a puppet state was created in Slovak speaking Slovakia. Prague resident Fred Terna was then 15; he would spend his late teens and early twenties in the Lipa, Terezin, Auschwitz, and Kaufering concentration camps. After the war he married a fellow survivor, and after his first wife died of cancer Fred married Rebecca Shiffman, the daughter of survivors, in 1982.

I interviewed Fred and Rebecca in August 2007 in their Clinton Hill, Brooklyn brownstone. I began the interview by asking how they met.

Read the entire interview on

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