Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Experience with German Culture

Let's go back to when you were in school.

Yeah, sorry it was ???...

Uh, what did you speak in your household? What kinds of--what was, what was the language of your house?

Oh Czech.


Czech, yes. My parents spoke German sometimes if they, if uh, they didn't want me to understand. But I did learn German, you know. It was a sort of a second language to, to learn. Uh, and uh, I didn't know it all that well.

So did you read things in German as well?


Just in, in Czech.

...not really.

Do you think that your parents identified with German culture?

My mother had German schools, my father had Czech commercial, commercial school. I mean, they both spoke a few in German because uh, under the uh, while we were part of the Austrian empire, and that is when they were uh, young people in their teens. And if you wanted to go to university or to a proper college, you know, you, you had to know the language.

Uh, was your father in the First World War?

Yes, he was.

A, a soldier in the Hapsburg Army.

Yes, that's right, he was.

Did it help with the license when he was--after the war, a license to sell liquor and wine.

I don't know how that came about quite honestly, I couldn't tell you, but I don't think he had any help from uh, outside.

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