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Oral history interview with Ernest Koenig

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0434 | RG Number: RG-50.549.02.0003

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Ernest Koenig discusses his family background and childhood in Miroslav, Czechoslovakia; his first awareness of Hitler and the Nazi Party; meeting his future wife Elizabeth as a refugee in Paris, France in 1939; his liberation by the Russians after escaping a death march in 1945; his return to Czechoslovakia where he discovered that his family had perished; his immigration to England in 1946; his lack of plans after liberation except to find Elizabeth and immigrate to the United States; the conditions in Czechoslovakia after World War II; reuniting with Elizabeth in England and marrying in 1947; immigrating to the US in 1948; his first impressions of the US; earning bachelor's and master's degrees in economics and obtaining a job as a junior instructor at Johns Hopkins University; getting a job at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC and working there for forty years; becoming an American citizen; the ignorance and lack of interest in the Holocaust in the US before the 1980s; his appointment in 1959 as the Assistant Agricultural Attaché at the American Embassy in Germany, moving to Brussels, Belgium in 1964 to work as the Agricultural Attaché with the Common Market (European Economic Community); leading the American Agricultural Delegation in a trade negotiation in Geneva, Switzerland in 1974; returning to Washington, DC for two years and being appointed as the Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the American Embassy in Paris, France; retiring from government service in 1990; dealing with government officials in Germany who were former Nazis; antisemitism in Germany after World War II; his beliefs about Holocaust survivors and how his experiences affected his daughter; his memories of his time in the French Army and as a concentration camp inmate; and his reflections on learning about the Holocaust and the possibility of future genocide.

Interviewee
Ernest Koenig
Interviewer
Dan Collison
Date
1997 June 12  (interview)
Language
English
Genre/Form
Oral histories.
Extent
2 sound cassettes (74 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:39:12
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn506735