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Ingeborg B. Weinberger

b. 1920

Ingeborg B. Weinberger has worked much of her life with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), helping new immigrants and refugees resettle in the United States. Born in 1920 to a popular local doctor and his wife in a small town outside Leipzig, Germany, Inge's once comfortable life was radically changed with Hitler's rise to power. In the late 1930s, her family scattered to England, Prague, and Bolivia. In 1939, en route to Bolivia, Inge's ship docked in Baltimore, where her German boyfriend, Hans Weinberger, was already living. With the assistance of local Jewish leaders, Inge and Hans were married in a surprise shipboard ceremony. Despite her marriage, Inge was forced to continue to Bolivia, where she lived for a few years before being permitted to return to the United States to be reunited with her husband. After World War II, Inge and her husband returned to Germany, where Hans was a translator at the Nuremberg Trials. During this time, Inge worked for the U.S. Office of Censorship in Germany and later, in Vienna, on fiscal matters for the U.S. military. With their return to Baltimore, she began working for HIAS, rising to Executive Director. An avid life-long athlete, Inge continues her exercise regimen and works part-time at HIAS.

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Scope and Content Note

Ingeborg discusses her family, hometown, and being Jewish in a small German town. She also shares her observances of class and social status in Germany and talks about her experience in school and at synagogue growing up. She also describes the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party during the 1930s. In 1936, Ingeborg happened to purchase a ticket to the Olympics held in Berlin and witnessed Jesse Owens' historic performance there. In 1937, Ingeborg and other Jews were forced to leave her German school, took a physical education course through a Jewish education program, and began teaching in a Jewish school. Ingeborg shares her memories of Kristallnacht, escaping Germany in 1939, and briefly reuniting with and marrying her German boyfriend, Hans Weinberger, when their ship docked in Baltimore en route to Bolivia, the only country she and some of her family could obtain visas. In Bolivia, Ingeborg lived and taught in a children's home for other refugees. In 1940, Ingeborg was able to join her husband, Hans, in Baltimore. She discusses her life in the United States, working as a camp counselor at Camp Woodland, a Jewish summer camp, a waitress, and masseuse before getting a job at Comfy Manufacturing during World War II. Ingeborg's husband was drafted into the Army. Ingeborg describes Baltimore, the various neighborhoods, Jewish community, social structure, community organizations, and how the city has changed over the years. After the war, Ingeborg worked for the Jewish Welfare Fund. Her husband worked for the Pentagon before being hired as a translator for the Nuremberg Trials. In Munich, Ingeborg began working for the U.S. Office of Censorship and explained her role there. After the trials, Hans worked for Military Intelligence in Vienna, Austria, and Ingeborg got a job with the Department of Army dealing with fiscal matters for the Vienna Military Post. She looks back on her time overseas, their work, travels, and married life. When the Weinbergers returned to the US, Hans found work as a salesman, and Ingeborg became actively involved in HIAS, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. She details her career with HIAS, eventually serving as its executive director. Finally, Ingeborg reflects on her friends and family, life in the United States, involvement in community organizations, and changes in Baltimore throughout her lifetime.

How to cite this page

Oral History of Ingeborg B. Weinberger. Interviewed by Jean Freedman. 20 May 2001. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 11, 2023) <https://jwa.org/oralhistories/weinberger-ingeborg>.

Oral History of Ingeborg B. Weinberger by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.


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