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Oral history interview with Dietrich Elsner and Hannelore Elsner

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0310.35 | RG Number: RG-50.486.0035

Dietrich Elsner, born in 1924 in Halle an der Saale, Germany, describes his family background and childhood; joining the Jungvolk in 1936; his reasons for wanting to join the Hitler Youth; the disappearance of three Jewish classmates in the late 1930s; his training in his uncle’s construction business which used British prisoners of war as labor; his uncle renting out machines and workers for the construction of what became Auschwitz III (Monowitz); the construction of Nebenlager; the use of inmates at the construction zone; the shooting of those inmates unable to work; building roads; how the Nazi youth organizations trained members to be brutal and accepting of violence; his draft into the army in 1942; his deployment to France; experiencing his first attack, living in huts, and dealing with lice in 1943 and 1944; becoming a lieutenant in 1944; preparing to fight partisans on the Eastern Front; his role as a company leader while withdrawing from the Eastern front; being wounded in the head in 1945; returning to his company in Czechia, where he was taken as a prisoner of war by the Czech military; a Soviet officer who prevented Czech soldiers from shooting him and his crew; his time as a Soviet prisoner of war; his life after his release; and his flight to West Germany.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Hannelore Elsner
Dietrich Elsner
Rosalyn Manowitz
interview:  2004 July 19
interview:  2004 September 30
8 videocassettes (MiniDV).
6 sound cassettes (90 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2021-02-16 15:52:36
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