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Oral history interview with Hertha Beese

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.54 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0054

Hertha Scholz Beese, born in Berlin, Germany on September 10, 1902, describes her non-Jewish, German family; her parents, who were active in the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and trade unions; attending schools in Berlin before World War I with Jews and Catholics; being forced to participate in Protestant religious instruction of the Landeskirche (the regional church) because she was not baptized; how in 1933 she and other SPD members lost their jobs; the Nazi persecution of socialists and communists as well as Jews; her resistance group in Berlin; hiding people until they could cross the mountains into Switzerland; sheltering Jews and non-Jews in her home; her brother being beaten by SA storm troopers before the war; life in Berchtesgaden, Germany and observing the resentment of local residents toward the SS and the exploitation of German laborers; her refusal to fly the Nazi flag, her children’s refusal to join the Hitler Youth, and the devious means she used to avoid serving in the Luftschutz; having to work in the Arbeitsdienst from 1943 to 1945 as a teacher in the Spreewald area; working illegally as a bookkeeper for Jewish cattle dealers who were SPD members that joined the Nazi party to avoid deportation; a local farmer hiding several Jewish Berliners she brought to him; becoming the vice-chair of the Brandenburg SPD in 1945; chairing an anti-fascist commission in Potsdam, Germany; being the deputy mayor of Reinickendorf from 1948 to 1965; being honored with the Golden Rose of Paris for aid to French prisoners of war; and being declared an “Elder Statesman” of Berlin.

Interviewee
Hertha S. Beese
Date
1983 October 15  (interview)
Language
German
Extent
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, gift of the Holocaust Oral History Archive of Gratz College
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:52:20
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508678