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Oral history interview with Maria Niederkofler-Wierer

Oral History | Accession Number: 2009.402.7 | RG Number: RG-50.654.0007

Maria Niederkofler-Wierer, born in 1922 in Ahrntal, South Tyrol, discusses the August 1944 arrest of her family following her brothers’ desertion of the local police regiment in South Tyrol; her family’s farm which was later plundered by local Nazis; her cousin, who as a soldier, participated in her family’s arrest along with local citizens from the Südtiroler Ordnungsdienst (SOD) and Ortsgruppenleiter Jakob Oberhollenzer, the owner of the local inn; her family’s interrogation in a prison in Brunich; their transfer to Bozen (Bolzano); the different types of prisoners at the camp, including political prisoners, Jews, Italian intellectuals; and some English pilots; conditions in the camp, including starvation and disease; names of some of the camp’s guards which included local Italians, Ukrainians, and Germans; the barracks for Italian intellectuals; the disappearance and murder of the Italian intellectuals who were taken away by truck loaded with machine guns; working outside the camp, cleaning offices of the guards; witnessing frequent beatings of prisoners; hearing about the death of one of her brothers who was shot by a guard; hearing about and seeing physical evidence of the torture of female prisoners in Fossily; witnessing a hanging in January 1945; frequent transports of trains taking prisoners to Auschwitz and Mauthausen; witnessing donkey carts transporting bodies from the camp hospital; a guard who, because he felt guilty, confessed to her that he had shot an Italian prisoner in the camp; her liberation from Bolzano in February 1945; accidental meetings with former members of the SS who were in hiding in Brixen and Arntal valley while they arranged for transport to South America; hearing about her cousin’s participation (for money) in organizing transports of former members of the SS; her mother’s refusal to the war with their cousin; and her thankfulness for their survival.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Maria Niederkofler-Wierer
interview:  2009 December 08
1 videocassette (DVCAM) : sound, color ; 1/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2020-05-04 15:30:16
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