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Oral history interview with William Hess

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0427 | RG Number: RG-50.106.0076

William Hess was born William Verna on August 8, 1921 in Stuttgart, Germany. He was an only child and lived a pleasant life there. Despite the Nuremberg laws, he was permitted to continue his schooling as his father served during World War I. Nevertheless, they lost the service of their maid. William experienced little anti-Semitism in Germany but knew that Hitler made anti-Semitic speeches and had newspaper articles written against the Jews. His father's business suffered little from the boycotting but he sold it in 1938. Anti-Semitism was more severe in the outlying towns than in Stuttgart. William studied English for two years before immigrating to Danville, Illinois with his uncle's assistance in 1937. He had difficulty adjusting to the US so had an English tutor. Additionally, he had difficulty living on his wages of $12.50 as $9 went toward room and board and he also had to cover tutoring and transportation expenses. Kristallnacht and his father's internment in Dachau influenced his parents to leave Germany in 1939 for Danville.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Mr. William Hess
Esther Finder
interview:  1997 August 15
creation: Rockville (Md.)
2 sound cassettes (74 min.).
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 19:52:33
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