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Oral history interview with Madeline Dautartus

Oral History | Accession Number: 1993.A.0087.62 | RG Number: RG-50.091.0062

Madeline Dautartus, born in Strasbourg, France, discusses her parents, two sisters, and one brother; being raised Catholic; attending a Catholic high school; the evacuation of the entire town to Perigueux in Dordogne 1939; her father and brother being drafted into the army; the German occupation; her family’s return to Strasbourg; the Aryanization of Alsace-Lorraine; the burning of books; participating in the resistance; refusing a job in Germany; working at the social security office and being given a pass to enter the POW camp; bring food, clothes, and information to the prisoners; her desire to join the French army in Africa; being caught in 1942 while attempting to escape from Strasbourg with two young men; swallowing the message she was carrying; being detained in prisons for a month; being interrogated; being taken by train to Schirmeck camp (near Struthof extermination camp); her work in the laundry and cutting trees; a rosary that was shared amongst inmates; contracting diphtheria and pneumonia; the doctor who visited the isolation unit regularly to see who should be sent for extermination; being released after a year; being required to sign a statement saying she would never reveal anything about the camp; returning to Strasbourg and her job; being warned that she was being watched; being arrested twice more and questioned about her resistance activities; being prepared to commit suicide when she arrested two months before liberation; the Gestapo building being burned by US bombers; her family hiding two wounded US soldiers and two Arab soldiers from the French army in their basement until liberation; her brother’s experiences during the war; the liberation of Strasbourg in November 1944; serving as civilian in the Bureau Militaire; enlisting in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps in France; being posted in Stuttgart, Germany and then Freiburg, Germany for five years; her encounter with a former SS guard; preparing the papers for a Lithuanian scout, who later became her husband; serving as a secretary to General Jean de Lattre; and working as a civilian in the military until 1950 when she immigrated to the United States.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Madeline Dautartus
Interviewer
Toby Lewis
Date
interview:  1984 August 09
Language
English
Extent
2 videocassettes (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the National Council of Jewish Women Cleveland Section