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Oral history interview with Waltrudis Becker

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0310.1 | RG Number: RG-50.486.0001
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Waltrudis Becker, born in 1917 in Villingen, Germany, describes her family and childhood in Karlsruhe-Forchheim, Germany; her father’s work as a farmer and how he came to support National Socialism; stories told to her by her parents about the first World War; her father’s antisemitism; traveling by bicycle with her mother to Nuremberg during the Nazi party conference in 1933; hearing Hitler speak; hearing about attacks on Jews; the persecution of Jews in her town, including the boycott of stores owned by Jews; her time in the Bund Deutscher Madel; joining the German Labor Service before it became the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD); working on a farm in Schussenried, Germany; the death of her father in 1937; traveling to Forchheim to assist her mother; her engagement and marriage in 1939; her time in a women's labor school in Reutlingen; local complaints about the government; the role of her husband as the local farm leader; the different types of forced laborers on her farm during the war, including Polish, Russian, and French prisoners of war; stories about individual workers and how she and her husband treated them; her comfortable living conditions during the war; her support of the Nazi regime, including her membership in the Frauenschaft; sheltering family members during the war; the births of her children during the war; rumors that deserters from the army were hanged; American soldiers taking away their forced labor to a displaced persons camp in Coburg in 1945; American soldiers taking over her home at the end of the war; disposing of the evidence that she and her husband were Nazi Party members; forced laborers who defended her husband’s actions during the war; the arrival of refugees in her town; the trial of her husband which ruled him to be a minor Nazi supporter; her classification as a bystander; her understanding of Nazi policies; critiques of how the history of the Third Reich is taught; and her life after the war.

Interviewee
Waltrudis Becker
Date
1999 March 13  (interview)
Language
German
Extent
4 sound cassettes (60 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 10:37:22
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508495