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Oral history interview with Elizabeth Flores

Oral History | Accession Number: 2015.400.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0848

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Elizabeth Flores, born on September 18, 1929 in Heydebreck, Germany (present day Kędzierzyn-Koźle, Poland), discusses the town of Heydebreck; her family members and life at home; her parents’ efforts to shield her from both religious and political talk; her Jewish friend Ruth and her family’s pharmacy; leisure activities before the war; her father’s work as a mailman; her education at the Adolf Hitler Schule; her uncle’s disappearance; the prevalence of images of Hitler in town; her mother’s death from colon cancer; her father’s remarriage and her relationship with her stepmother; Kristallnacht; seeing German soldiers marching through town on their way to the invasion of Poland; changes after the start of the war; her father’s warning to never repeat anything she saw or heard; blackouts at night; rationing and the black market; her father listening to forbidden radio stations and the hiding place for the radio and books; her two brothers’ conscription and service in the Wehrmacht; joining the Jungmädelbund (Young Girls League) and the activities she participated in; the increase of antisemitism after the war began and the requirement that all Jews wear the yellow Jewish Star; the disappearance of Ruth’s family and the vandalism of their pharmacy around 1940; learning after the war that her sister, Helena, had hidden Ruth in her basement for about four years; knowing about ghettoization; seeing prisoners at a camp once and her reactions; the increase in air raids in 1944; leaving school in 1944; Helena’s death in 1945 in a Dresden bombing; the fates of her other siblings, including her sister Maria’s capture by Soviet soldiers and her brother Paul’s time as a prisoner of war; rumors about Soviet and American soldiers; her and her parents’ flight west in January 1945; learning about the end of the war while living in Austria; a fire on the train taking her and her parents to Germany and pulling an American soldier to safety; moving to the American occupation zone of Germany in November 1945; the black market in Bad Kissingen, Bavaria; meeting her husband, an American soldier, in 1946 and their marriage; her husband’s family’s feelings towards her; moving to Houston, Texas with her husband and their son in September 1948; beginning work at a restaurant in 1950 and learning English on the job; meeting speakers of Texas-German in the Hill Country; having five children; eventually owning the restaurant she began work at in 1950; becoming an American citizen in 1954; visiting Europe after the war; learning about her father’s death in a letter from her stepmother; her work today; speaking at schools in Katy, Texas; and feeling ashamed to be German.

Interviewee
Elizabeth Flores
Interviewer
Katherine Saint John
Date
2015 December 27  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.