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Oral history interview with Christian Koppenstein

Oral History | Accession Number: 2018.76.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0957

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

Christian (Chris) Koppenstein, born on October 20, 1936 in Bessarabia (now Moldova), discusses growing up in a German village called Fundu Sarasika; his family’s farm; growing up Lutheran; his father’s involvement in three different armies (Russian, Romanian, and German armies), though he preferred his farm; being forced to leave Bessarabia; being transported in 1941 by trucks to a quarantined area in Poland, where they remained for approximately three months; the birth of his baby sister in 1941; his father purchasing another farm in northern Poland; a young Polish woman working on their farm and his parents paying her for her work even though it was illegal; his father being called into the German Army; his father’s brief return; attending school with other ethnic Germans who had been displaced from elsewhere; witnessing an SS officer kill one of their neighbors; how there was one Jewish student in his class; his father being sent away again; fleeing westward and seeing what he believes were death marches heading eastward; joining his maternal grandparents; going to western Germany and then a town under British control; seeing British soldiers mistreat the locals; the end of the war; his father being in a prisoner-of-war camp five miles from the town where they were living; never feeling at home in Germany and feeling resentment from Poles in Poland; being sponsored by a Lutheran organization to go to the United States in 1952; and settling in the American West, where there were a lot of people from Bessarabia.

Interviewee
Christian Koppenstein
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
2018 March 24  (interview)
Geography
creation : Overgaard (Ariz.)
Language
English
Extent
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
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Record last modified: 2018-08-13 12:50:48
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn597035