Margot Kemplar

"You have to be a good person. That is the foundation. It has to come from the heart."

Name at birth
Margot Tichauer
Date of birth
Name of father, occupation
Samuel Tichauer, painter/contractor
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Fredericka (Rivka) Desdeliar, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents, three sisters: Lisbeth, Erna and Joanna; brother George and me
How many in entire extended family?
Parents; three sisters, Lisbeth, Erna, and Joanna; brother, George; and I.
Who survived the Holocaust?
Joanna and I.
My parents died of natural causes before the war.  Lisbeth, Erna with her two sons, ages 3 years and 8 months, and my brother George all died at Auschwitz.

My husband fled to Italy after the German occupation of Poland as men were being captured.  I traveled to Italy to be with him.  My papers indicated she was a Polish Jew and I was not allowed to cross into Italy.  I was captured and sent to Buchenwald.  As the train was moving, I was able to jump out.  I was able to get to an underground couple in Switzerland; the Zwerling’s who put me up for thirteen days. There is a G-d I tell you, I met people who helped me survive along the way.

I had a dream in which my mother was in a pink nightgown shaking her head up and down. I took this as an omen that it would be all right for me to leave.  Later, I found my husband and we later spent a year as refugees in Tangiers.  My husband wrote a letter to President Roosevelt in 1940 asking for help.  Three weeks later, government representatives came for us and arranged for us to come to America.
Where were you in hiding?
When did you come to the United States?
Occupation after the war
My husband and I owned a well-known, children’s clothing store in Detroit called Margot. I had learned to sew while in Tangiers. Hunger is a good teacher. You discover your talents to survive.
Jacob, Helped to run the clothing store.
What do you think helped you to survive?
My strong belief in G-d. Without that belief today I wouldn’t exist. I think if you are a good person and you go through life not feeling guilty for anything. I feel that G-d pays you for it.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
You have to be a good person. That is the foundation. It has to come from the heart.

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