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Survivor Profiles: Doris Fogel

The yellow star of shame is now the courageous badge of life. They killed the Jews, but Judaism survives.

Doris Fogel

Her Story:

Doris was born in 1934, in Berlin, Germany. She was an only child, and she lived with her father, Alfons, and mother, Edith.

Doris was four years old on November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht. Her father died when she was still a child, so Doris and her mother befriended the Basch family, who became their ticket out of Germany. The Baschs helped secure Doris and her mother a trip to Shanghai, China, where they could go without a passport or an affidavit.    

Doris and Edith left for China on January 24, 1939, when Doris was was five years old. They took little to no personal belongings because the family was entirely focused on leaving Germany as soon as possible. While in Shanghai, Doris was able to attend an English-speaking Jewish school for refugee children called the Shanghai Jewish Youth Association (SJYA) or Kadoorie School. The language of instruction was English because it was assumed that students at this school would soon be emigrating to English-speaking countries.   

She spent eight years of her life in China, most of it under Japanese rule. The Japanese came to occupy China in 1941, and Doris found herself a part of the Hongkew Ghetto. This was in the most unsanitary part of Shanghai, and thirty families were forced to live in one-room homes. Though living conditions were not ideal, Doris and her mother managed to survive the war in the Ghetto. On September 2, 1945, the Japanese were defeated.   

Doris and her mother left China for the United States in April 1947 and arrived in San Francisco on May 17th, 1947. It was not until 1952 that Doris officially became an American citizen. Shortly after arriving in the United States, Doris and her mother moved out to the Midwest because their sponsors, the Heller family, were from Peoria, Illinois. They then lived in Chicago for eight years.   

Doris spent 52 years of her life in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband. She acted as the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation for several years before moving to the Chicago area to be with her children and grandchildren. 

Learn More:

Coffee with a survivor facebook live session Daily Herald article The State Journal-Regster article USHMM testimony

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