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Disgrifiad

This audio clip is from an interview with Maria Beate (Bea) Green, recorded by the Imperial War Museums in 1999. In the clip, Bea discusses her experience of antisemitism as a child refugee in Aberystwyth.

Transcript.

While still in Aberystwyth, I did come across some antisemitism in an extraordinary form. A fellow student in my year—Austrian-German chap called Stan Price—had been, as an even younger man, full of enthusiasm for Hitler and all his ideas and ideals and been in Germany and worked for the Arbeitsdienst [Reichsarbeitsdienst, meaning National or Reich Labour Service] but come back from a year or two doing this in order to pursue his studies and then the war broke out and he joined the army. I mean, he was as fit as a fiddle and joined the army. And on one of the manoeuvres that he was on he either shot himself in the foot or trod on a mine or something...anyhow he shot his big toe off or his big toe was lost somewhere. And so, he was invalided out of the army and party because of his erstwhile convictions and partly because he resented the British army for having got him to lose his toe, he reverted to this or took up again his original ideas of, you know, the Herrenvolk and superior..., racial superiority and all of that and spouted this publicly. When he realised that it upset me—because apart from that we had been colleagues and friends and in the same group—there were only about six or seven of us in our year who were German—he said "Well, you know, you're alright". You know, the argument you're alright, it's all the other Jews. And I remember there—because of the way he spoke—one couldn't actually argue against him, because there was nothing tangible to argue; it was an attitude which was so entrenched and so profoundly ill thought out, that certainly at that stage there was nothing, I felt there was nothing I could do about Stan Price. So, I remember I walked down to the beach—I don't know if you know Aberystwyth but it's a pebbly beach not a sandy beach—and I sat on the pebbles and wept into the sea. I was just so frustrated and so upset thinking that here I'd come away from this thing only to meet it again.

Maria Beate Green - a short biography.

Bea Green was born in Munich, Germany in 1925. She lived in a block of flats in the city with her father who was a lawyer, her mother and older brother. Bea attended the local primary school and had a happy life.

In March 1933, her father was brutally beaten in an antisemitic attack. Even after this terrible event and with Hitler now in power, initially Bea's family had mixed feelings about leaving. Her father had built a successful legal practice and they had an agreeable life. But in 1938 Bea's school was closed and after Kristallnacht things became increasingly more dangerous and desperate. The family knew they had to do everything they could to get out. Eventually, in June 1939, Bea travelled to Britain on a Kindertransport leaving her parents behind. She was taken in by the Williams family in England.

After the Second World War started, Bea was evacuated to Wales where she stayed for some time. Eventually, several years later, she was reunited with her parents. She settled in South London with her husband and three children and had a career as a linguist and translator and would speak to groups about her experiences.

Source.

IWM, Green, Maria Beate (Oral History) [accessed 22 December 2021]

Depository: Imperial War Museums, catalogue number: 19796.

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