A few months before Eva Derby was born, her father left for Poland to visit family and was taken by the Gestapo during his travels. So, Eva was born in July of 1942 to a single mother, Julia Rosenberg. When Eva was born however, her mother checked into the hospital with her maiden name (Julia Wineberger), since her husband’s death indicated that the Rosenberg name was on a kill list as he had been Jewish. Therefore, Eva was originally given Wineberger as her last name. She would later change her name to be Eva Derby.
After giving birth, Eva’s mother was able to obtain a false baptismal certificate from a priest, shedding her Jewish identity. Since Eva’s father was a Jew, Eva was now concealed as a mischling with protection from her “Aryan” mother. By faking an intermarriage, Eva’s mother was able to protect herself and her daughter from Nazi threats for an extended period of time.
In 1944 however, the Gestapo recognized that the papers were false and took both Eva and her mother to Theresienstadt. The small family was liberated in 1945 by the Russian army. Eva and her mother would have been taken by the Nazis much sooner if it wasn’t for the regime’s sensitivity around intermarriage.
After the war, Eva came to the United States when she was only four years old. Her mother remarried and gained U.S. citizenship. Eva’s last name was changed to Derby when she married her husband and settled in St. Louis, Missouri with three children.
Written by Julia Earnest