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Signed testimony of Helga Gross

Oral History | Accession Number: 2003.485.3 | RG Number: RG-50.718.0003

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 her 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.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Helga Gross
Stephen Stept
interview:  2003 January 22
3 videocassettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2021-01-05 17:24:39
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