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Oral history interview with Franciska Mikus

Oral History | Accession Number: 2005.394.41 | RG Number: RG-50.834.0040

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

Franciska Mikus (née Schwarz; also known as Franziska and Fran), born in Munich, Germany, describes her experience as a Deaf Holocaust survivor; growing up Christian; having two siblings and being the only one born Deaf; her Deaf father (born in Bogenhausen), who could hear noises but could not distinguish sounds; her family’s belief that her grandfather’s over-drinking caused deafness in two of his 17 children; not being able to speak in her earliest years and expressing herself only through her own sign language; Fran communicating with her hearing mother through lip reading; her mother teaching her to sew; attending a hard of hearing class; asking her parents to transfer her to a school for the Deaf; having difficulty in learning to read lips; struggling with her penmanship because of her malnourished hands; feeling her intelligence was not fully realized; desiring to become women’s tailor; attending a Catholic club for Deaf girls at a nun’s order for training in dressmaking; the rise of antisemitism; her brother who was excited by Hitler; beginning to date her boyfriend Christian Mikus in 1934; how Christian lost his hearing because of Scarlett fever; learning of ominous reports from Christian about things going on in Dachau; being required to join the League of German Girls and the leaders’ interactions with the girls; the “Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases” (Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses); receiving a government order to be sterilized along with her mother; her family petitioning the order, but only her mother being excused from the order; undergoing forced sterilization; her mother being upset at Christian and Fran’s unexpected (out of marriage) pregnancy; the family doctor reporting the pregnancy to the government; receiving a government letter for a forced abortion; seeking a marriage license in 1941 and the registrar’s requirement for a second sterilization; having complications from the procedures; their post-war struggles finding work as a Deaf couple; and their accomplishments in assisting the Deaf community. [Note: more information on Fran’s experiences can be found in the book “The Other Victims: First-Person Stories of Non-Jews Persecuted by the Nazis”.]

Interviewee
Franciska Mikus
Date
1989 April 13  (interview)
Extent
2 sound cassettes : analog.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ina R. Friedman
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Record last modified: 2018-05-03 09:43:48
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn90066