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


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.

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