Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Anne Hirschle - July 21, 2006

Experiencing the War Firsthand

One day-I had only been there a very short while-there was a terrific noise overhead and everybody was running into the street and people were screaming, "Jerry down, Jerry down." And I was staying with a friend and we ran in the direction of some black smoke across some fields, and there was this smoke and this plane that had crashed on this field and you've got to remember at this time the news of the war had been terrible. There hadn't been many Allied successes. And the idea, we shot down a German plane, you know, this was for kids. So we were very excited and we ran towards this plane, which of course was probably the most stupid thing to do, but anyway, we were kids, we, we did this before the police arrived on the scene. And my friend picked up a glove-a leather glove, and she picked it up and she turned ashen white and she said to me, "There's a hand in it."

Oh. So, the pilot had not gotten out of the plane before it crashed.

And so in that moment, that for me was a turning point. For me-from this absolute jubilation, "Jerry down! Jerry down! We shot a German plane down, you know, how fantastic," to the absolute horror of what this meant. This, this, this, you know, this is war, people die. And uh, that I think uh, that, that was a very, very important point in my life. I, I, I was thirteen and it's as vivid in my mind as anything that, you know, has ever crossed my mind.

The war became real to you.

The war, the war became real and personal. It wasn't just Nazis and Jerrys, it was people, you know, people were blown to pieces.

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