Oral History Interview with Hertha Beese

Hertha Scholz Beese, born in Berlin, Germany on September 10, 1902, describes her non-Jewish, German family; her parents, who were active in the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and trade unions; attending schools in Berlin before World War I with Jews and Catholics; being forced to participate in Protestant religious instruction of the Landeskirche (the regional church) because she was not baptized; how in 1933 she and other SPD members lost their jobs; the Nazi persecution of socialists and communists as well as Jews; her resistance group in Berlin; hiding people until they could cross the mountains into Switzerland; sheltering Jews and non-Jews in her home; her brother being beaten by SA storm troopers before the war; life in Berchtesgaden, Germany and observing the resentment of local residents toward the SS and the exploitation of German laborers; her refusal to fly the Nazi flag, her children’s refusal to join the Hitler Youth, and the devious means she used to avoid serving in the Luftschutz; having to work in the Arbeitsdienst from 1943 to 1945 as a teacher in the Spreewald area; working illegally as a bookkeeper for Jewish cattle dealers who were SPD members that joined the Nazi party to avoid deportation; a local farmer hiding several Jewish Berliners she brought to him; becoming the vice-chair of the Brandenburg SPD in 1945; chairing an anti-fascist commission in Potsdam, Germany; being the deputy mayor of Reinickendorf from 1948 to 1965; being honored with the Golden Rose of Paris for aid to French prisoners of war; and being declared an “Elder Statesman” of Berlin.

Date: 10/12/1983
Interviewer: Hanna Silver
Interviewee: Hertha Beese
Language: German
Subject: Bookkeepers--Germany.
Hiding places--Germany.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Germany--Personal narratives.
Human smuggling.
Prisoners of war--France.
Righteous Gentiles in the Holocaust.
World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor--Germany.
World War, 1939-1945--Jews--Rescue--Germany.
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, German.
World War, 1939-1945--War work--Germany.
World War, 1939-1945--Women--Germany.
Women--Personal narratives.
Berchtesgaden (Germany)
Berlin (Germany)
Germany--Social conditions--1933-1945.
Potsdam (Germany)
Reinickendorf (Berlin, Germany)
Spree Forest (Germany)
Beese, Hertha Scholz, 1902-
Germany. Reichsarbeitsdienst.
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei. Sturmabteilung.
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands.
Location: Berlin, Germany
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