Index to the Erna Williamson Interview,

Veterans History Project Collection,

Record Group 024

NARRATOR:  Erna Williamson

SPOUSE: Robert Williamson (deceased)

OCCUPATION:  Retired

BIOGRAPHY:  Mrs. Erna Williamson was born on a small family farm in Germany in 1928. Her experiences of World War II span her childhood and early adulthood and molded the rest of her life. She lost her family through war relocations and did not find them again until after she was married. She married an American service man, Sgt. Robert D Williamson in 1958. During World War II she trained at being a nurse and even spent some time in a concentration camp at Dachau.  She believes she and her family were sent to Dachau because they did business with a Jewish storeowner in her town. 

INTERVIEWER:  Barbara Whorley

DATE: July 20, 2003

PLACE:  Enterprise, Alabama

GENERAL SUBJECT OF INTERVIEW:  Childhood experiences during World War II. Education during World War II. Family life during World War II. General knowledge of political situation.

Date processed:   5-2005

Processed By
:
M. Olliff


INDEX

No. of tapes: 1

No. of sides:  2

Length of tape: 60 minutes

Initials

Side

Counter

Topic of Discussion

EW

1

006

Family Background:  Her oldest brother was in the war.  She trained to be a nurse.  Some of her childhood was spent in a   concentration camp.  She lost four brother to the war.  During the war she was separated from parents.  She found them again in 1959.  In 1956 she was in Erlangen.  In 1958 she married her husband, a US soldier.  In 1960 she moved to the US.

EW

1

096

Concentration Camp Experience:  She was sent to Dachau.  The reason seems to be unknown to her, but she does remember her family doing business with a Jewish store keeper and receiving a free pair of shoes from the storekeeper one Christmas

EW

1

111

Family’s association with the German military:  In 1938 her father joined the military.  In 1939, he returned, but through the fighting.  She was separated from her family.

EW

1

123

Finding her family:  She found her family in Mehrklenburg through the American Red Cross.  Mrs. Williamson reported that her family returned to look for her, but were sent back to Mehrklenburg.

EW

1

142

Childhood memories:  Her fondest memory is going to church.  Her worst memory is of not having enough clothes to wear.

EW

1

191

Memories of the beginning of the war:  Mrs. Williamson was 11 years old at the start of the war.

EW

1

198

The realization of the war:  One was not allowed to talk about Hitler.  Or anything having to do with the political situation.  Most women and children did not know what was going on, the government said move and everyone moved north.  

EW

1

234

Activities during the war:  She admits that there was very little time to play.  Most of the time was spent working in the fields and tending to the farm animals.  

EW

1

269

The difference between children of today and those of World War II:  Children back them did not receive everything that they wanted. Most things were hand made.

EW

1

281

Games and entertainment of children:  Mrs. Williams admits that there were not very many toys.  Toys included things such as yoyos and balls.  Games were things such as “ring around the rosy.”

EW

1

298

First memories after the war ended:  Her most vivid memory is that of many, many soldiers.

EW

2

318

Medical attention for the civilians during the war:  There were very few doctors available.  Most medical treatment was provided by nurses or midwives.

EW

2

362

Contributions towards the war:  Mrs. Williams began to train as a nurse.  She rolled bandages and cleaned surgical instruments.

EW

2

376

The media:  Most people received the news from the   newspapers. Everyone simply wanted to believethe propaganda that was issued out by the Nazi party.

EW

2

407

The division into sectors in Germany:  Mrs. Williamson resided in what would become the American sector. This is how she met her husband in 1956 while working in an American hospital.

EW

2

438

Sgt. Robert D Williamson:  He was a cook for 18 years and a VIP Steward 2 years.

EW

2

497

Wedding memories:  Mrs. Williamson admits that she had a very simple wedding with a justice of the peace.  After the wedding the car broke down.  Her family was not present at the ceremony, since they were still lost to her.

EW

2

595

Finding the family:  Mrs. Williamson’s family thought she was dead.  Once she found them they were very excited.  Her family neither agreed nor disagreed about marriage.

EW

2

658

The changes in life after having married:  One is not only responsible for self.  There are new rules and regulations to follow.  The exchange in currency, the American culture, and traditions were new experiences.

EW

2

692

The things to remember:  Mrs. Williamson feels that her children and grandchildren do not have any interest in her experiences.

 

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