INT: This is an interview with Mrs. Ingrid Wuga on Sunday the 29th of August 2010. So can you tell us when and where you were born?

IW: I was born in Dortmund, Westphalia. The date of my birth is the 24th of June 1924

INT: And what was your name at birth?

IW: Ingrid Wolff

INT: Ingrid Wolff


INT: Can I just ask you, just very briefly, as a child growing up... you gave us a little sort of bit of background but what was it like? What, you know, what was it like where you lived?

IW: In Dortmund?

INT: Yes

IW: I had friends yes. I went to a Jewish school so I had no problem at all and in Dortmund some of my friends (who I've lost contact with, I have no idea where they are) from school, they were sent to high school / secondary school and it was very bad. They had to sit in the last row on their own and they all came back to the Jewish school which was an ordinary school, not a high school. But our headmaster was a very, I would think, very clever or looked into the future and he could see that emigration was imminent and he said 'I know you would like to learn many other languages. You can have French lessons in the afternoon privately but I want to teach you English'

And we had English at school every day. He said 'It's more important because wherever (if you emigrate) wherever you go English will be a useful language. Whereas French not necessarily'

INT: Right so he was quite insightful then?

IW: Yes I think he was

INT: He realized what was ahead

INT2: And that was your secondary school?

IW: No that was an ordinary school; the Jewish school in Dortmund

INT2: So how...when did you start learning English?

IW: In that school

INT2:.How old were you?

IW: Eleven or twelve

INT2: Right

IW: And then we went to Hamburg. Eventually we lived in Hamburg where I also had English lessons at the school (also a Jewish school). You just... could hardly afford to go to a non-Jewish school.

INT: Have you, have you gone back?

IW: I've been back to the town where my parents originated, a little town, and I had no problem at all. I've been to Dortmund and I couldn't get out quickly enough. I have no happy memories there because there was nobody to speak to; nobody that I knew at the time was there.

INT: They'd all gone

IW: And I didn't want to... I said I wanted to go back to just see where I'd lived, where I'd grown up and I was very unhappy there. I went to Friedrichstadt in Schleswig-Holstein and I had happy memories of being with my grandparents (with my parents obviously) and I had no problem at all. And funnily enough Friedrichstadt was started by a Duke Fredrick who...There were people in Holland who were persecuted because of their religion and Duke Fredrick said 'I've got a piece of land that needs draining and I know Dutch people are good at draining land. You can have that bit of land'

And these Dutch people went to Friedrichstadt and started the town; all the immigrants from Holland. So it's... Friedrichstadt is built very much like a Dutch town with very gabled roofs and I have lots of happy memories there.

INT: It sounds very picturesque

IW: It is a very picturesque little town

Listen to the testimony

Creative Commons

Unless otherwise stated, the content on is available to re-publish under the terms of the Creative Commons license.

Please check our Terms of Use for details on what is allowed when using our material.