Experiences of a German Girl Growing up during the Nazi Regime, the End of World War II, and Coming to ‘Amerika’: An Oral History Narrative


  • Toni Fuss Kirkwood-Tucker Associate Professor, Social Science and Global Education College of Teacher Education Florida State University


Abstract: This oral history describes the memories of a young German girl growing up during the Nazi Era and the end of World War II in a village in the Bavarian Alps of southern Germany. The narrative is based on her lived experiences and stories shared by her father about the horrors of the Nazi regime. Her memories include shrieking bells and imminent bombing attacks; boy soldiers inducted in the Wehrmacht; the sabotage activities of her dissident father, and the despair of villagers when death notices came for sons and husbands killed at the front. She also describes the white-flag welcome her father and grandfather gave troops from General Patton’s Third U.S. Army 10th Armored Division when they arrived at the edge of their village, and her experiences meeting White and Black soldiers who threw fruit and candy to the village children from their tanks. Concluding with her immigration to the United States at the age of 22 and her discovery of profound racism and discrimination against African Americans, this oral history gives teachers and teacher educators a rich, personal resource to use as an adjunct or alternative to textbook readings about a devastating time in Germany history.

Author Biography

Toni Fuss Kirkwood-Tucker, Associate Professor, Social Science and Global Education College of Teacher Education Florida State University

Toni Fuss Kirkwood-Tucker

bilingual and bicultural, obtained her B.A. Degree from Florida Atlantic University and her M.A. and Ed.D. Degrees from Florida International University. She served as Associate Professor Emerita at Florida Atlantic University from 1996 to 2004 and Visiting Professor and Program Coordinator in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University from 2006 to 2012. She globalized the social studies curriculum and instruction at both institutions. Prior to her university appointment, Toni worked in the Miami Public Schools as classroom teacher, curriculum specialist, and coordinator of the International Global Education Program.

She was a member of the Florida International University-Indiana University Delegation to Russia between 1991 and 1997, training educators in global education in democratizing Russian education. Her primary research centers on the integration of global perspectives in teacher education and schools, global pedagogy, curricular balance, and human rights. Toni can be reached at tkirkwoodtucker@comcast