USF Libraries | Special & Digital Collections | Exhibits

On the morning of December 8, 1941, the Nazi SS forced Erika Mannheimer and her family from their home in Bad Wildungen, Germany and sent them to Riga Ghetto in Latvia. After a 3 day journey by train, without food and water, they reached the ghetto where they found "empty houses, burnt out synagogues, over crowded cemeteries, and bodies lying in the streets, swimming in their own blood." Erika was 18 years old.

In 1946, Erika documented her experiences traveling from ghetto to work camp to concentration camp, 11 locations in all, from December 1941 to January 1945. She lost 11 members of her family, from 3 generations, at the hands of Nazi perpetrators, but survived to tell her story. Her son, Richard Oppenheimer, graciously shared her diary, family photos, and documents with the University of South Florida Library to honor Erika's life and memory in this online exhibit.