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Bea's Map

Bea Karp, neé Beate Stern, was destined for an unexpected journey in her young life due to the war. Born in Lauterbach, Germany, Bea and her family were forced to join relatives in Karlsruhe due to heightened antisemitism and confiscation of Jewish property. Not long after the beginning of WWII, the Sterns were transported by the Gestapo in passenger trains in October,1940 to internment camps in Vichy France. Rosa Stern, the mother of Bea and her sister Susie, made the difficult decision to release the girls at separate times to the custody of the Jewish French Underground, Œuvre de secours aux enfants (OSE) while in the Rivesaltes Camp. According to Bea’s testimonies, the girls were moved at least 14 times to various chateaus and convents until the end of the war. Lack of documentation complicates tracking exact chronology of Bea and Susie’s whereabouts in the French countryside during the Nazi occupation. Through research of Bea’s saved letters, postcards, and a return visit to France with her husband, Bob Pappenheimer, we can construct a glimpse of her journey as seen in this interactive map. Rosa and Moritz Stern, Bea and Susie’s parents, were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 1943. Bea arrived in the US in 1947 after being in Paris and London following liberation. She and Susie spent the rest of their school years living with their mother’s siblings in New York. Bea married Bob upon completion of high school and the couple moved west. After opening grocery stores in communities in Northeast Nebraska and South Dakota, Bea settled in Omaha with her husband and four daughters. Bea spoke extensively about her Holocaust experiences with Nebraska and Iowa schoolchildren and at community gatherings.

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