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Oral history interview with Hertha Beese

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

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    Oral history interview with Hertha Beese


    Interview Summary
    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.
    Hertha S. Beese
    interview:  1983 October 12-1983 October 15
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive

    Physical Details

    2 sound cassettes (60 min.).

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive conducted the interview with Hertha Beese in Berlin, Germany on October 15, 1983. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum received the tapes of the interview from Gratz College on September 30, 1999.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:36:14
    This page:

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