Oral history interview with Helga Gross
Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
- Helga Gross
- Stephen Stept
2003 January 22
3 videocassettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Helga Gross, born in 1923 in Hamburg, Germany, discusses being diagnosed as Deaf when she was a child; her memories of when Hitler came to power in 1933; her parents’ attention to her and her siblings’ educations; a brother who was also Deaf; the presence of a lot of music in the house; her parents' encouragement to sign and not always lip-read; going to school until she was 14; working as a weaver at age 16; the bombings in Hamburg; the destruction of her home in a fire; being told when she was 11 that she would have to be sterilized; her forced sterilization at age 16; the surgery and her parents’ reactions; not realizing the significance of being sterilized until moving to the United States in 1954 and seeing her sister's baby; refusing to join the Nazi Party; carrying the papers to join the Nazi Party but never signing them; the end of the war; being prevented from coming to the U.S. at first because she and he husband were Deaf; her husband, an Olympic swimmer; how her husband had been sterilized without anesthetic; learning American Sign Language; and her Deaf brother who was not sterilized and his children. The recording includes pictures from her childhood in Hamburg.
Record last modified: 2018-06-14 08:48:06
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn60511
Also in Oral history interviews of the Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race exhibition collection
Oral history interviews with twelve Holocaust survivors recorded in preparation for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's exhibition "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race."
Dorothea Buck discusses her forced sterilization at age nineteen; details of the sterilization procedure; her sense that she would always be marked by her infertility; how the doctors who performed forced sterilizations were later honored while the victims were ignored; and expressing her pain and finding happiness through sculpting.
Paul Eggert discusses his forced sterilization at the city hospital in Bielefeld, Germany at age eleven.
Irene Hizme (née Renate Guttmann) and René Slotkin (né Guttmann), Jewish twins born December 21, 1937 in Teplice-Sanov, Czechoslovakia (Teplice, Czech Republic), discuss being sent to Theresienstadt in 1943; their memories of Prague, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic); the death of their father in Auschwitz in 1941; the night they were marched to the cattle car to be deported; arriving at Auschwitz; the conditions of the camp; violence in the camp; being separated from their mother and then each other; how all the people in their barrack were killed that night; René witnessing roll calls and mass shootings; Irene's memories of being hungry; their experiences with Dr. Mengele; painful medical procedures; how they kept going because they knew the other one was alive; how Auschwitz changed in January 1945, a time when there was more confusion; experiencing air raids; how Irene was very ill in 1945 and was rescued by a Polish woman after liberation; a Jewish organization that took her from the woman’s home and put her in an orphanage in Fublaines, France; René's memory of being marched away from the camp; the German guards disappearing suddenly before the camp was liberated by the Russians; how he was taken to a hospital and then to an orphanage in Košice, Czechoslovakia (Slovakia); not remembering when they were tattooed; how René lived with a few different families and left Czechoslovakia in 1949; finding each other in 1948; how Irene was selected to represent the war orphans for in the United States for the organization Rescue Children; being adopted by an American family, the Slotkins; how René found her after she was photographed for Life magazine (November 17, 1947 issue); growing up in the U.S.; how René was adopted by the Slotkins; not talking about their experiences for decades; how their experiences influenced their lives; how Irene was ashamed of what happened to her and was astounded by American leniency; speaking about their individual experiences in 1985 when they discovered other twins who had survived Auschwitz; and how Irene was told as a child about the tremendous odds against her surviving Auschwitz.
Antje Kosemund discusses her disabled sister who died in Vienna, Austria during an illegal medical experimentation in 1944.
Benno Muller-Hill discusses the Nazi Party's embrace of Eugenics as a way to provide antisemitism with a scientific basis; the wide acceptance of the euthanasia program among psychiatrists in Germany; and how doctors justified medical experimentation on human beings.
Elvira Manthey discusses her experience as a child in a children’s home that cooperated with the Nazis; the euthanasia deaths of children who were declared mentally ill or physically disabled; the loss of her sister who was killed under the euthanasia program; how she avoided death; and her ongoing fight for human dignity in Germany.
Rita Prigmore, the surviving twin daughter of Theresia Seible, discusses her mother’s experience in the clinic where she and her twin sister were born.
Simon Rozenkier, born in Poland, discusses his deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau; medical experimentation under Dr. Mengele; his forced sterilization; his transfer to Buchenwald; and his liberation by American forces.
Theresia Seible discusses her experience as a Romani mother of twins who were born in a clinic under Nazi doctors’ supervision.