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Oral history interview with Hermine Schmidt

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1992.A.0124.87 | RG Number: RG-50.028.0087

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    Oral history interview with Hermine Schmidt


    Interview Summary
    Hermine Schmidt, born in 1925 in the free city of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland), discusses her parents; her sisters; growing up in Danzig; her mother’s Bible studies; her parents’ first contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1919 and converting in 1920; Danzig after Hitler’s rise to power; her parents instructing her and her sisters to not say “Heil Hitler” or salute; her difficulties at school and the other children’s treatment; hearing about arrests of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Danzig and in Germany; her parents emphasizing Bible study and keeping faith; fearing the Gestapo; she and her family experiencing persecution; her parents’ occasional work as couriers for distributing Jehovah’s Witnesses publications; meeting her future husband, also a Jehovah’s Witness; her and her parents’ arrest by the Gestapo in 1943; her imprisonment in a small cell at Gestapo headquarters for a week; being interrogated and pressed for names of other Jehovah’s Witnesses; the beatings her husband endured during interrogations; being transported to Stutthof; forming close relationships with some of the other Jehovah’s Witnesses prisoners; being assigned to heavy work details because of her young age; Soviet soldiers’ arrival at Stutthof after she had left via transport; the different types of prisoners and the conditions in Stutthof; gay prisoners in the men’s section of the camp; the writer Hermann Hesse; her parents’ wartime experiences; being transported by boat to Germany near the war’s end, but arriving in Klintholm Havn, Denmark in May 1945; being released into the care of the Red Cross; the teachings of the Bible; having to wear a purple triangle badge in Stutthof; being offered the chance to leave Stutthof if she signed a document renouncing her faith, but refusing to do so; the behavior of guards in Stutthof; poetry she wrote after the war; and her husband’s wartime experiences. (Family photographs and descriptions follow the interview.)
    Hermine Schmidt
    Robert Buckley
    interview:  1995 July 25

    Physical Details

    1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Schmidt, Hermine, 1925-

    Administrative Notes

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Oral History Branch, in cooperation with Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. produced the interview with Hermine Schmidt on July 25, 1995.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 07:59:45
    This page:

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