PRINCE: Eva, let’s begin with where you were born.
KLIN: Okay. I was born in Munich, Germany, January 17, 1929.
PRINCE: Okay, and tell me about your family…who lived in your home?
KLIN: Okay…who lived in my home? My mother, my stepfather that I considered actually my father and two younger sisters. At the time of my birth – they weren’t here yet, because I am the first born. So…my second sister was born in 1935 and my third one was born in 1945. So there’s a large span of time…
PRINCE: Eva, what was your maiden name?
KLIN: Albrecht – like Albrecht Durer.
PRINCE: Okay. And…what were your sisters’ names?
KLIN: Hilde and Traudl.
PRINCE: How…say that again.
KLIN: Hilde – H I L D E (I think it’s Hildegard in German) (LAUGHTER) I forgot about that.
PRINCE: And the second one?
KLIN: Waldtraud – Traudl in short…but Waldtraud in long…in…How do I spell Waldtraud – W A L D T R A U D…Waldtraud.
PRINCE: Okay. So there was six years between…you were six years old…
KLIN: Mine…yes, my next sister and the other one is 16 years younger than me.
PRINCE: Okay. Now your father’s name?
KLIN: Georg – George…that’s my stepfather. My, uh, real father was (I forgot now) was…
PRINCE: You’ll think of it.
PRINCE: And your mom’s…your mother’s name?
KLIN: My mother’s name was Appolonia.
KLIN: Uh huh…like Appolo.
PRINCE: Uh huh. Did you have grandparents that lived there?
KLIN: Yes, but I only knew my mother’s mother. My grandfather had committed suicide after the First World War.
PRINCE: Was he in the war?
KLIN: Yes. He came back from the Battle of Verdun and couldn’t stand the butchery and killed himself. (SPEAKS QUIETLY)
PRINCE: So you knew your…
KLIN: My grandmother…
PRINCE: Your grandmother.
KLIN: Uh huh.
PRINCE: Were you…
KLIN: I was very close with my grandmother.
PRINCE: And she lived in Munich?
KLIN: Yes, she lived in Munich.
PRINCE: Okay…what did your father do?
KLIN: My father was a fine mechanic which was a very necessary occupation at that time…for the war purposes. And he worked for a Swiss firm…a Swiss owner…eventually became a Nazi – stayed in Germany and became eventually a Nazi.
PRINCE: A “fine mechanic?”
KLIN: A fine mechanic – I don’t know whether you’d call that anyways. I think it’s a tool and dye maker. I’m not quite sure about that so I’ve never really investigated it.
PRINCE: Okay. What’s the first memory you have?
KLIN: First memory of what?
PRINCE: Of anything. What do you think of when you think back to the very beginning?
KLIN: Very beginning?
PRINCE: Uh huh…
KLIN: Of home – I suppose you mean.
PRINCE: What kind of home did you have? What did it look like? Describe it…
KLIN: We had our own house. It’s very small in comparison to our houses…primitive. We had a large garden and actually I remember lots of fun besides having problems as a kid. But we were basically, I would…I would call it here, middle class. I always thought I was poor, but when I look at the poor people here, we were in the middle class, insofar we had our own little house – we had our own garden. A bike was a “big deal” for me.
PRINCE: And you had one?
KLIN: And I had one, and ice skates. I always wanted to have, and we never got around to it. And a tennis racket, I always wanted to have, and I never got around to it. But thank God I got around to it now. (LAUGHTER)
PRINCE: When you say “garden,” did you grow flowers or did you grow food?
KLIN: We grew food…some flowers…but we had a large vegetable garden which was really…
PRINCE: Now what years are we talking about right now? When I say, I asked you about what you remembered…it, this…?
KLIN: Very good, yes. This is about, I would say…1935. Previously, now as you say, what do I remember? My memory goes a little earlier. We had an apartment. Apartment – it was one large room and in that room, actually my memory’s very hazy there. Okay, I think we slept in it, we cooked in it, and we bathed in it and we did everything in there. But that’s hazy. And we built a house in 1933 or ’34 – it might have been ‘ 35, illegally. What does it mean “illegally?”…You have to have permission of the city commissioner and I remember we didn’t get it. So my father went ahead and built at night, and if he had a certain amount up, they couldn’t tear it down.
KLIN: That just came to my memory recently. (LAUGHTER)
PRINCE: Interesting law…
PRINCE: Okay, uh, allright. So you were about six or seven or eight when you moved to the house?
KLIN: I was more – I was younger than eight…
KLIN: I would say, yes, ’30…I started school in 1935 and we were already in the house. The house was primitive in comparison to ours. We had…the water was not in the house yet. We didn’t have electric lights in the house and I considered that middle class for that time – not our time.
PRINCE: Were all the houses in the neighborhood the same?
KLIN: No. Some of them were much more advanced and elaborate and I always imagined in my mind, after I came here, that our house was very little and our neighbors which was an aunt of my father’s…an aunt of mine…a sister of my stepfather – had a big house, I thought, in my mind. When I came back after the war – after being in the United States – the house had shriveled up. (LAUGHTER) It became very small and I was surprised how small the house was, but in my mind, it was big.
PRINCE: Was it a…was it a neighborhood where you – you knew the people and you played with the children?
KLIN: Absolutely, yes. It’s a suburb of Munich – Forstenried. I think we haven’t mentioned that. And it was at that time, a very small suburb, like, let’s say, Olivette – in the beginning of Olivette or that’s where I lived, so I can compare it – but in the meantime it grew to such dimensions that I don’t recognize it anymore.
PRINCE: Was it, uh, that we haven’t ascertained your religious background.
KLIN: No, we haven’t done that. I was born a Catholic.
PRINCE: Okay. Was this…was this…would you call this a Catholic neighborhood?
KLIN: Absolutely. I went to school with very few…kids that were of another denomination.
PRINCE: Was your school within walking distance?
KLIN: Absolutely, yes.
PRINCE: So your whole world was fairly…school…?
KLIN: Church…it’s what you call in German a “dorf,” really at that time. It wasn’t even part of Munich yet. “Dorf” meaning “village”…at that time in 1935. And everything circled around the church and the schoolhouse….
PRINCE: Your life, okay. And what did that encompass when you say “everything.” Okay, you went to school…
KLIN: We went to school, went shopping – to the bakery – to the pharmacist…
PRINCE: So the same children that might have been in your school class were in your Sunday school class?
KLIN: Oh yes. Now “Sunday school.” Sunday school did not exist in 1935 because Germany had separation – did not have a separation of the church and state. So we started out having religious (Oh, what’s the word in English?)…instructions in school – not in the church. The priest would come to church and instruct, uh…uh…religiousity in school. We did not have a Sunday school. We had a Catholic instructions in school.
PRINCE: In school?
KLIN: Uh huh.
PRINCE: So then you just went to church – you didn’t have a Sunday school like we think of here?
KLIN: No, no. You see the church and state isn’t…wasn’t separated. Hitler came in separating church and state eventually. That…it’s such a contradiction here because I embrace today, the strong separation of church and state and I found that Hitler…that was one of the things that he did…I think that are good here…the separation of church and state.
PRINCE: Okay, uh, you…so your school was a public school? How would you describe what your school…
KLIN: Yes. School was a public school. It was…
KLIN: The grades one to eighth. After this we had to go take a bus and a streetcar to finish up (what do they call it here?). I don’t recall exactly, but we had to go another two or three years to the city of Munich – but this is suburbs – and at that time, it wasn’t even Munich. It didn’t belong to Munich yet, uh, to finish up grade school. It was a small schoolhouse… “small.” The definition is kind of relative because here a small schoolhouse was one schoolroom, but let’s say the village had (I don’t know how many people) but we were about 200 people, I would…200 kids going to that small school…at the most 200.
PRINCE: Now we’re talking about 19…
PRINCE: ’35. Okay, and you’re just beginning school really.
KLIN: And Nazism is just beginning to take hold, so that, from ’33 till ’35, I really don’t have much recall of how Nazism manifested itself. I do remember in ’35 that we – the greetings were still “Gruss Gott” in contrast to “Heil Hitler.”
PRINCE: Okay. What is “Gruss Gott?”
KLIN: Gruss Gott – Greetings to – (STUTTERS) Greetings to God. It was really wishing you a “Good Day” by means of God. It’s a Catholic country. So Greetings to God…
PRINCE: So that changed?
KLIN: Yes. And that changed within, I would say, a year or two with me being in school.
PRINCE: How were you conscious of that changing?
KLIN: Well, first of all, you raised your hands when you Heil Hitler, then you…
PRINCE: Who told you to do that? Explain that to me.
KLIN: Yes, okay. If…(I have to try to recall) I think it was a first grade teacher which was a woman. And I remember her being…very…(How should I say it?)…”strict” is the only word I can think about. It struck me as a very severe change because…
PRINCE: You know you had a change…you knew there was a change.
KLIN: Yeah, yes…that the Gruss Gott is a very informal greeting whereas to me, the Heil Hitler became a very…I, in my own mind, is almost a militaristic…inclination.
PRINCE: Uh huh. Well, we know that now. Did they change teachers or just the custom?
KLIN: No, no the custom. The teachers stayed the same.
PRINCE: Uh huh. Okay. So you…let’s, let’s just go back a minute and you start in your regular…going to school and learning whatever – you’re playing with your friends. Now…
KLIN: We had the crucifix and the cross in the…the crucifix in the classroom, which changes eventually and I don’t remember the year when that happened.
PRINCE: Did you wear a uniform or anything?
KLIN: No, no, not at that time. No. You had your own clothes, however you wanted to dress. Uh, in fact, uniforms as such, from Hitler Jugend – never came…
PRINCE: Hitler Youth.
KLIN: …into Hitler Youth – really never came into school if I recall correctly. I don’t remember whether we ever wore them. Well I didn’t have one but I wanted to have one, but I don’t think we really had to wear it or were requested to wear it to school.
PRINCE: Okay – now back to just the “schoolroom,” and you’re there and the change takes place…the first one was the changing of the…
KLIN: Of the greeting.
PRINCE: The greeting.
KLIN: From Gruss Gott to Heil Hitler and…
PRINCE: Did you go home and ask your parents?
KLIN: No, I don’t remember, uh, asking. Also in the beginning of school I remember we used to have prayers. Before, we would get up and say a prayer whereas later on, within a year or two (I don’t remember the time) that was not done anymore. It was changed over from prayer services to political instructions, like “Deutschland braucht Raum” meaning, “Germany needs room”…needs room, meaning “land”…being too cramped into whatever Germany encompassed at the time. And I remember vaguely meaning room in the East, like Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc. But the timing of this, I don’t have it straight – I don’t remember how far that from ’35, ’36, ’37, ’38, ’39…war is already going on. So it must have been between ’35 and ’39.
PRINCE: That you began to get this? Okay. How did you react to it, how did your friends react to it?
KLIN: Well my father, or my stepfather, being a strong Catholic…there was a lot of discussion at home going on but I don’t remember a lot. I remember my stepfather being strongly opposed to the Nazi movement insofar when they removed the crucifix…the cross from the classroom, when that came, there was a strong reaction and a lot of discussion from my father’s side at home.
PRINCE: Did they do it in a ceremony or did you just come one morning and it was gone?
KLIN: Oh now – it was just gone – no ceremony.
PRINCE: Did you…did anyone ask?
KLIN: Uh, I don’t remember. I remember that there was a strong reaction from my father and there must have been…
PRINCE: At home?
PRINCE: Did he go to school?
KLIN: No. I remember having…he must have talked with our priest but I don’t remember what happened. In other words, a lot of, uh, abrasive…
KLIN: Abrasive, uh, discussions going on – what to do and that caused problems at home, uh, was how to handle that. And that’s where, I have mentioned it previously, I think we talked about it, where my stepfather was searching for help from the church – how to handle that, and that’s when he…
PRINCE: Emotionally or physically?
KLIN: I think “emotionally” how to handle it and “physically” how to handle it. Because in retrospect, I can now empathize with my father – not knowing what to do. And there is the name of Pater Meyer always comes back…(Make a note on there)…
KLIN: No, it’s in German – P A T E R…
PRINCE: P A T E R?
KLIN: Uh huh – Pater and M E Y E R. Pater Meyer.
KLIN: I’ve never been able to find out what he stood for.
PRINCE: And he was your priest?
KLIN: No. My father went many times to find out from him…with him…with other people – (that’s very vague in my mind) – how to handle the situation…the changes that were happening.
PRINCE: And he was someone important at that time?
KLIN: Yes, yes – the same way – now I cleared up my haziness of my mind with Cardinal Faulhaber. Cardinal Faulhaber, uh, was the leading Cardinal in Munich – waivered from…waivered…going from one side to the other…vacillated from one side to the other – sometimes…
PRINCE: He did this?
KLIN: Yes. Faulhaber…Cardinal Faulhaber…supporting the Nazis and sometimes opposing the Nazis. And I think, also in retrospect, my…it caused a lot of problems for my father because he wanted really…he searched support from the church to resist in any way what the Nazis were doing. And he didn’t find the support in Cardinal Faulhaber.
PRINCE: Did he realize how dangerous that was at that time? Did he have any friends? Do you remember?
KLIN: He must have realized this. I…we never talked about it amongst us, but…
PRINCE: Why not?
KLIN: Apparently discussion was not one of the things that was done. Maybe they were afraid that I will repeat something in school…very possible…I’m speculating on this. But in retrospect, my father must have known the danger of this because I remember one of our neighbors being picked up – tarred and feathered and thrown out of a driving car. Again, it must have been between ’33 and ’36.
PRINCE: Do you know what he had done?
KLIN: Uh, I am not sure. I think he was accused of being a Communist and in fact the same man who was for a while my guardian. He was in the neighborhood, his name was a Mr. Klaag – K L A A G. He was my guardian for a while but you know, it’s very hazy for me today. He was accused of being a Communist. He was picked up from the Nazis and between Staenberg which is also…Staenberg is a lake and also a village…
PRINCE: A lake and a village?
KLIN: Uh huh, was…there is a forest – that’s where he was thrown out of a driving car…that Mr. Klaag…tarred and feathered…nude and picked up and from his wife again and nursed to health. And eventually, I don’t know really what happened with him. It would be interesting for me to know.
PRINCE: How did you find out this bit of information?
KLIN: I guess from my mother and from my father. They must have talked about it. I don’t remember discussing it.
PRINCE: Okay. But did your friends know it? Was this common knowledge?
KLIN: I am sure, but nobody…
KLIN: Nobody talked. It was always “hushed.” If it was talk, it was talked behind closed shutters.
PRINCE: So that was something else that began to change besides your school and what was going on there, uh, the feelings of openness or whatever, that was beginning to change.
KLIN: Very much so. I’m…don’t remember (OVERTALKS)…
PRINCE: Go ahead.
KLIN: …The freedom of before ’33 – I don’t remember that. I was born in 1929 so I would have been four years old, okay. I’m not able to recollect.
PRINCE: So you don’t have the feeling of freedom before you have the feeling of…
KLIN: Of fear – of being caught for something to be put to Dachau. Dachau was a word that did appear and was attached – fear was attached to Dachau.
PRINCE: Tell me what Dachau was.
KLIN: Dachau is…was a concentration camp in…I remember…
PRINCE: And where was it?
KLIN: It’s about 30 kilometers, I think, from Munich. And the people were put there for their opposition to the Nazis.
PRINCE: And it was the first…
KLIN: It was the first concentration camp?
PRINCE: I believe so.
KLIN: Yeah, I think you’re right.
PRINCE: Tell me, while this is going on in school – the changes are taking place in school – you’re being taught something different, your cross is removed – your father is trying…your stepfather is trying to resist and find some help and you feel fear. What is going…what do you…what do you hear in church on Sunday?
KLIN: Good question. I don’t remember that anything…yes…there were discussions about the church being expelled from the schools but I’m very vague about it. To put it really into words…I’m not able.
PRINCE: Well, that’s unfair to ask you that particular question. Let me put it a different way. Did church seem to change? Was it as filled up? Were there uniforms in church?
KLIN: No, no uniforms. If a uniform appeared, I remember somebody coming there with a uniform one time and being…picking up somebody else. A couple of people in uniform and they picked somebody up. But I don’t remember who it was and it was an intrusion – it was a disturbance – and again there was fear attached to it and apparently a lot of that stuff. I either forgot or didn’t want to remember.
PRINCE: And you were still a little girl playing games, and…
KLIN: Yeah. That’s ’35, ’36, I was six, seven years old. I remember vividly having an aunt, actually she’s a great aunt of mine – she passed away in the meantime – being…her being a very strong Catholic – living not too far from us – and also they got specifically better radios what they could listen to radio (let’s see what was it…CBS…) London – it must be CBS Radio London to information. (That comes in later – I think that comes in – with war time) Okay? See, war started when I was 10 years old and so many things happened in that time…so many changes…that it’s a little helter-skelter in my mind.
PRINCE: All right, well, let’s talk about…I know it’s difficult to go back, but what’s one of the first changes in your own life? I’m talking about your life…I’m not talking about what…what, in your…just your own feelings.
KLIN: Well my own feelings were very torn. I have a father…a stepfather, okay, who was very opposed to the Nazi movement. And I really wanted to join the fun. And the fun consisted of singing and of playing ball and doing calisthenics and having a fire and sitting around the fire and I felt I was being deprived by my father opposing those type of things. And what I wound up with was that I was the only one in the classroom what had to stand up and say, “I haven’t joined the Hitler Jugend yet.” And I kind of resented that. I wanted to join the fun because the situation at home wasn’t much fun. And it seemed to me, as a seven, eight, nine year old, that they were having a lot of fun.
KLIN: And I was deprived of that.
PRINCE: And you were the only one?
PRINCE: So you felt very left out.
PRINCE: That was very difficult. And how…did they talk about it a lot? I mean, is that how you knew what everyone else was doing?
KLIN: Of course I knew – I had a girlfriend whose family was…they called kinderreich. It was a big deal during Nazi time then to have many children. And my best friend’s family were rich in children…that’s “kinderreich.” And they would get rewards and special treatments, etc. And I felt very left out. First of all she got to go to the Hitler Jugend. They weren’t Nazis yet, as such. They were just following along, I think, simply for getting more stuff – getting food in addition to what they had. There were about five or six kids at home, so they didn’t have an elaborate amount of food. We’re talking about times where, you know, and I said before…middle class. When I think – if we compare it today – people cannot imagine middle class – from today – to 30 years ago…more than 30 years ago. How long?…I’m 55…’38 – oh, that’s 50 years ago. (LAUGHTER) God, I’m getting old…50 years ago. Middle class was something different then as it is today. And they got support from the Nazis in form of 10 lbs. Of flour, and…
PRINCE: So you’re saying that they weren’t Nazis, but they were…
KLIN: Mitlaufer – they call in German, Mitlaufer…just followers.
KLIN: Uh huh.
KLIN: For the sake of getting something…
PRINCE: For the sake of getting something.
KLIN: And she was my…the youngest daughter was my best friend. And I kind of was always envious. She could go to the Hitler Jugend and have fun and I couldn’t. And she had a little outfit – it wasn’t a total outfit even – you can’t call it a uniform…a training suit, no, a sweatsuit. It wasn’t even a full sweatsuit…she only had the top of it. (LAUGHTER)
PRINCE: What color was it?
KLIN: Navy blue…it wasn’t brown yet…navy blue. Never mind, whatever it was – and a white blouse with it, and I wanted it very badly, and never got around to it.
PRINCE: When you’d go home and tell your stepfather this, what would he say?
KLIN: Well I wouldn’t even tell.
PRINCE: You wouldn’t tell.
KLIN: No, that wasn’t the thing. I guess we didn’t have very strong communications. It was…
PRINCE: Uh huh. Did you tell your mother?
KLIN: No, no. The times were so busy with trying to eke out a living from the garden to…I also remember my stepfather being unemployed from ’33, ’34 – not working yet in that factory that he eventually made good money with. He might have not worked there till ’35. It’s possible because I remember my mother going to work…my mother waitressing. And I remember when we built the house that my father moved the furniture and my mother coming home from work and finding dishes in a…where we were making the broken dishes…where my father had tipped over the credenza…