Walter tells us about his mother and her siblings.
-- transcript --
My mother's name was Ida Hess, and she came from a part of Czechoslovakia that's called the Sudetenland, which is really the area that was traded away by the British in the famous Munich Agreement, which deprived the Czechs of their defenses against the Germans.
The town where she came from was called [Neutizcein?], and the reason she moved to Vienna is because she'd fallen in love with a German officer, and German officers at that time were required to have a dowry of 20,000 Czech crowns, and if a girl didn't have that much money she couldn't get married to him, and enable him to live in the style that was expected of him.
So, she left her hometown and came to Vienna, where her sister was already living, and her brothers, two brothers... had also moved away. One of them, the older one who's name was Joseph, had moved to Vienna where he became a very important patent attorney, and he had a house in a beautiful area and a very elegant car, in fact, he drove, or rather his chauffeur drove a Chrystler Imperial, and I remember his last car was the first really streamlined Chrystler.
And then there's more to tell about him perhaps later on when the Nazis came in he moved to America and he tried to sell the American government Swedish anti-aircraft guns, and that never came to anything because unfortunately he died, like so many other people who suffered from the stresses of getting out of Germany and into the United States.
The other brother was my mother's favorite. He was the manager of a sugar beet estate in the Slovakian part of Czechoslovakia near the town of [Presburg?], and we used to go and see him most likely twice a year, once at Christmas time and then again in the summer. Uh, and that was always a great experience for me because it was a very rural economy, and quite different from a big city like Vienna.
It had huge - well not so huge - they had stables for cows, and there were maybe thirty or forty cows in each of the two stables, and they were fed on the skins of the sugar beets when they were being harvested, so they produced milk.
Can we make a pause while I organize my thoughts?
Kendal on Hudson, Sleepy Hollow, NY
videotape recordings | tape 01 clip 002
video | war | Ida Hess | Munich Agreement | Sudetenland | travel | mother | trade | rural life | farming | World War II | Vienna | trauma | Leo Hess