Relentlessly accepting the mother’s advice, also confirmed by another prisoner working as a clerk, she ages the guards as 15 instead of 12 and qualifies for forced labor instead of extinction.
At the end of the war, she remembered her mother telling the first American soldier she met that she had escaped from the concentration camp. “His gestures were unmistakable,” she writes. “He turned his back with his hands on his ears. Translated by his mother. He was full of people claiming they were in the camp.”
“This was my first American and he deliberately closed his ears,” she recalled. “One thing I thought was that this war wasn’t fought for us.”
After the war, she studied philosophy and history in Regensburg’s Philosophy-Theology Hochschule while her mother worked as an interpreter. In 1947, they moved to New York and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Hunter College in 1950. She worked as a librarian and earned a master’s degree in English and a PhD in German literature from the University of California, Berkeley.
Her marriage to Werner T. Angles, who taught European history in 1953, ended with a divorce. In addition to her son, she has survived by four grandchildren.
She taught at Case Western Reserve University, University of Kansas, University of Cincinnati, University of Virginia, and Princeton University in Cleveland. She first enrolled at the University of California, Irvine in 1976, set out for Princeton, and returned six years later in 1986. She retired in 1994.
In the late 1980s, when she was hit by a bicycle, she directed an overseas education program at a university in Göttingen, Germany. Emerged from a coma, her repressed memory of the Holocaust was unleashed. She wrote an autobiography published in German in 1992 as “To Stay Alive: Childhood” and an English version almost 10 years later.