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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 becoming an enemy alien in March 1941.


In March of 1941, I was 16. And between March the 13th and March the 14th I became an enemy alien. I had to register at the police and somewhere or another I might still I don't think I have...Anyhow I had this photograph is this little grey aliens' registration book which showed how cold and chilblain ridden I was at the time. You see to me I wasn't a refugee, to me I'd come here and what they thought was their problem. When I went to this police station...I suppose it was fortunate that it was in Wales because they made light of it. I just knew it hit people...and again it was something that happened like bad know you just took it...and I had this card...the Welsh police were rather sweet. You know I don't think it impinged a lot. What impinged was something much deeper that I was coping with, by saying to myself 'I'll show them who I am'.

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.


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

Depository: Imperial War Museums, catalogue number: 19796.

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