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Experiences During World War II

This content was developed during the eCommemoration Campus 2020 »Beyond the Crisis«.

Story: Martha, 1935 / Interviewed by Michael

At the start of the war I was 4 years old and I did not notice much of what was happening yet. At that time, we were not afraid at all and we even went to the streets when there was an air-raid alarm and watched the planes flying over Weiden in der Oberpfalz, where we lived, coming from Czechoslovakia and heading to Nuremberg. It was spectacular.

I remember how I always enjoyed the visits of a former concentration camp inmate, who had been sent to Dachau in 1934 for being a social democrat and being caught writing social democratic slogans on fences. In 1939 he was eventually released and in the early 1940s started to visit his girlfriend, the daughter of our neighbour.

He visited us often and then we would listen to the so-called ‘Feindsender’

He did not tell anything about his time in the concentration camp, but we knew that he had been there. He visited us often and then we would listen to the so-called ‘Feindsender’. Those were radio stations in German language operated by the allies. And although it was dangerous, some people met in the kitchen of my uncle, who was somehow opposed to the Nazis, and talked about the political situation.

Later, we were affected by the war directly when the Americans bombed Weiden. The town now being too dangerous, my mom and I went to a small village nearby. However, this village was on a major road, so soldiers would surely come there. We left for another village, but the Americans still caught us there. We had gone down into a cellar and barricaded ourselves in. Suddenly, the door opened and there was a huge black man standing there and looking in. We were all very frightened, but he was all right, he did not do anything. We eventually became friends with the Americans.

Martha, 1935