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Oral history interview with Ralph M. Hockley

Oral History | Accession Number: 2016.60.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0873

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

Ralph Hockley (né Rudi Hockenheimer), born on October 17, 1925 in Karlsruhe, Germany, discusses his family, including his sister Marian and his parents; spending every summer as a child with his grandparents and his mother’s sister; living in a large single-family house in Karlsruhe; speaking German at home; attending the elementary school one block from home for two years; experiencing antisemitism from his non-Jewish classmates; his family’s decision to move to France; living with various relatives for a few months at a time between 1934 and 1935; moving in 1935 to Marseilles, where they rented an apartment in a middle class neighborhood; attending a private school at first and then the Lycee; going to synagogue with his mother and his sister for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; attending mass with his best friend; joining the Protestant Boy Scouts since they were conveniently located whereas the Israeli Boy Scouts was on the other side of town; the arrest of his parents circa 1938 when they tried to extend their temporary residence permit; the imprisonment of his father and the release of his mother; the beginning of the war; his father’s internment at Les Milles in Aix Le Provence and Gurs; the release of his father in December 1939; not being allowed to attend school after September 1940; volunteering as a translator at the American Quaker Society and being assigned to be a messenger for the American Consulate to find out the status of the refugees; being ordered by French police to evacuate in June [1941?] and taking a train to Lourdes; seeing his father on another train during the journey; his father being taken to Saint-Nicolas camp and then Gurs; returning home with his mother and sister; the fates of his extended family members; his mother successfully obtaining visas for the family for the United States; sailing on the “Winnipeg” to Africa and then the West Indies; the capture of the ship by the British and being taken to Trinidad; taking the “SS Uruguay” to New York; staying with relatives in Cincinnati, OH; spending 15 months there and graduating from high school at age 16; attending the University of Cincinnati at night and working during the day; joining the US Army when he turned 18; going to basic training at Ft. Bragg, NC and then Oklahoma for four months for radio school; being assigned to the artillery at Ft. Bragg; being transferred to Camp Richie, MD; becoming a citizen after finishing basic training and changing his name from Rudolph Hockenheim to Ralph Hockley; being shipped to Scotland on the “Ile de France” and taking a train to Southampton, England; going to France to the Villa Le Versine Intelligence Center; being accepted into the Counter-Intelligence Corps for his last six months there; being in Paris on May 8, 1945 (VE-Day); returning to the US and attending Syracuse University; being promoted to be a 2nd Lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Reserve; spending 25 years in Germany as an Intelligence Officer for the US government; getting married in Bonn; and his son Clifford.

Interviewee
Mr. Ralph M. Hockley
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
2016 January 12  (interview)
Geography
creation : Carrollton (Tex.)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
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Record last modified: 2018-05-23 11:26:49
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn533039