Oral history interview pertaining to the Bernays family history
Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
- Mr. Alfred Dessayer
1974 November 27-1975 May 25
3 sound cassettes (60 min.).
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Alfred Dessayer
Simone Bernays Dessayer discusses in detail her family history beginning from the 18th century in Germany and France, including her grandfather’s experience during the Siege of Metz and her father’s early life in France; her experiences in Switzerland when WWI broke out (her memories begin in part 5); the trip to Frankfurt, Germany when she was 2 years old; how her father was drafted during WWI, then removed and assigned to the Red Cross in Southern France and wrote a report on the prisoner-of-war camps; her parents’ business; her life during and after WWI; her education; and her hobbies.
Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:39:19
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn44640
Also in Oral history interviews of the Dessayer family collection
Oral history interviews of the Dessayer Family collection.
Frank Dessayer (Dessauer), born in Frankfurt, Germany, discusses leaving Frankfurt in 1933 and moving to Paris, France; how, during the war, he fled to the Southern France with his wife and son; being in the French Army in Syria and Lebanon in the summer of 1940; the threat to his life because he was a German-born French naturalized citizen; living in Toulouse and then in Rabastens; being active in the resistance movement; having their family name changed to a more French-looking name in 1942; immigrating to the United States in 1949; his family history; the experiences of his Jewish family in Frankfurt in the 1930s; attempting to visit his parents in Germany in 1938 and escaping the German police; moving to Toulouse in 1941, where he bought and sold postage stamps; being detained by the police department for unwittingly selling false stamps; working with the French resistance in 1942; the deportation of his father from Germany; being sent to Paris and being detained in Valence; being part of a counter-intelligence unit in Paris as a Captain with the French Army after the liberation of France; being suspected as a German spy; the evacuation of Toulouse; killing a treasurer from the German Army in order to take his supplies and money and give it to the resistance; and being promoted. Note that his memories of the Holocaust are recorded at the beginning of part 1 and parts 5-7.
Simone Bernays Dessayer discusses her experiences in Germany during World War I and moving around often with her French parents; graduating high school in 1931; life in Frankfurt, Germany between the two world wars, including day-to-day activities, education, and social customs; learning to use a sewing machine; wanting to become an interpreter; attending Viktoriaschule (now Bettinaschule), which was a high school that emphasized foreign language education; taking economics and law at the University of Frankfurt beginning in 1931; interning at a small bank from 1932 to 1933; being urged to join the Nazi party even though she was Jewish; leaving Germany in June 1933 with her family; having to give up a percentage of their money to the German government; how her parents had left France in 1914 and did not want to return; moving to Paris, France when she was 21 with her family; spending time in England, working in a bank; and being a secretary for Universal Pictures in France.