Abstract

Hilde Hornung was born in a town in Yugoslavia named Neuschowe and lived with her father, mother, and two siblings. At the age of two, Hilde and her family were forced to leave their home, and they were forced to endure horrible conditions in three starvation camps. They were finally able to flee into Hungary and then Austria in the late nineteen-forties. Hilde and her family immigrated to Cleveland, Ohio, when she was thirteen years old. In Cleveland, Hilde would participate in a local organization where she was able to connect with fellow Germans through activities such as dancing and soccer.

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Interviewee

Hornung, Hilde (interviewee)

Interviewer

Hornung, Conrad (interviewer)

Project

Cleveland German-American Oral History Project

Date

8-1-2018

Document Type

Oral History

Duration

50 minutes

Transcript

Conrad Hornung [00:00:02] All right, good evening, Tatiana and Hilde. My name is Conrad Hornung. I am the son of Hilde, who I will be interviewing today, and also the father of Tatiana Hornung, who is here to listen to what her grandmother or Oma, as she calls my mother, has to say throughout this interview. It is the first of August in year two thousand and eighteen. And we are sitting in the kitchen at the kitchen table at the home of Hilde Hornung, who is the subject of this interview. The subject, I should say the actual subject, will be to get some free form responses and thoughts and feelings of how it was during World War Two and immediately after for Hilde Hornung as they fled from communist Yugoslavia, where they went to, how they actually found themselves to decidedly come to Cleveland, Ohio, and what it was like being an immigrant in the Cleveland area and other questions that will stem from that part of the conversation. So with that in mind, I'll ask again, as I did in the, our, test run, Mom, would you please state your name, your current name, and your maiden name, how old you are, and the date of your birth, and then the city of your birth, please.

Hilde Hornung [00:02:32] My name is Hilde Hornung. My maiden name is Retenbach. I am the third daughter of Katarina and Martin Retenbach. My birthplace is Neuschowe in Yugoslavia. I was only two years old when we had to flee our home. I am told by my mother that we were forced out of our home suddenly by the partisans, which were troops led by Marshall Tito. We were not able to take any possessions with us and we were led to the train station where they just pushed all the members of the community. We were not the only ones that were forced to evacuate, so to speak. We were then forced onto a train and we did not know where in the world we were going. We ended up in some camp, which I now consider a starvation camp because we were forced to eat watery soup and a piece of dry bread one time a day. During that time, I do not recall how long we were there, but I know the first place was called Jarek. And in Jarek, my grandfather passed away from hunger. My mother had three kids with her, my aunt and her son, Richard, and my grandmother, we were all stuck with I don't know how many people, approximately twenty-five people to one room that was covered with straw, that was our sleeping quarters.

Conrad Hornung [00:04:40] Can I stop and ask you for a little bit of clarification for me? Because I'm uncertain, I'd like to go back to your statement about the fact that other people in the community were forced to. What what do you mean by that?

Hilde Hornung [00:05:02] All of the German people in Neuschowe, which was considered a German city, was completely occupied by Germans when the partisans or the troops led by Marshall Tito, Russians, they just came and said, that's it, you have to leave.

Conrad Hornung [00:05:22] And then also, although you said you're the third daughter of your parents, you're the third child.

Hilde Hornung [00:05:33] Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:05:33] Correct? So and then how, I didn't follow exactly what you meant after you talked about your grandfather passing away from hunger, and then how Uncle Richard came into play.

Hilde Hornung [00:05:54] They escaped at the same time as we did. We were all together.

Conrad Hornung [00:05:59] Okay.

Hilde Hornung [00:05:59] From Neuschowe. Yeah, we were all together with many other people that you might be able to interview during this. All of these people were forced to leave with nothing on their backs. And of course, I had a brother and sister older than I. My sister was seven years older and she told me, just recently I visited her on their sixtieth anniversary, she told me that when we were forced to leave, I was a little child. My sister, when I went to visit, told me that during that time, just as we were leaving, she looked around and she saw my mother carrying me on her back. Then she said, Mom, "I have to go back and get a pillow for Hilde." So she ran back and grabbed the pillow for me so that I'd be more comfortable, of course, when we ended up in the camp. There's nothing comfortable about that.

Conrad Hornung [00:07:10] And that camp was this Jarek?

Hilde Hornung [00:07:13] Jarek, yeah. I have no idea or no knowledge of how long we were there. I suppose it was a considerable time when you have nothing to eat and no place to sleep. All I know is that my mother, along with my aunt and my grandmother and the kids, of course, tried to escape during the night to see if they can find some safer place. Unfortunately, many times they tried several times, as a matter of fact, many times they were caught by the guards and forced back. We ended up second, we were then moved again because they did not know what to do with us. We were then transported to Neusatz, which is a bigger city, but we're still put in a camp. Which was pretty much the same as the last camp. And once again, my mother, along with my Aunt Liesel, and they tried to get us some food. I was told by my mother that during the night she tried to get out of the camp and see if there was some potatoes left on the field somewhere or anything that's edible that she could bring back. So the kids have something to eat. A couple of times she was caught trying to get out of the barracks and was threatened to get shot. She returned again, pleading for her life that she has children and she has to take care of them. She tried that several times and she also tried to get away during the night to visit some farmers to beg them for food and I really don't know any of the details because I was too little, but when I went to see my sister, she gave me a detailed description of what she remembers.

Conrad Hornung [00:09:46] OK, we took a little break here because mom wanted to refer to some notes that her sister Elizabeth had written about what she remembered just to help my mother recall some of the atrocities or the issues that transpired and remembered some very important things that she left out that she would like to put down on this audio recording of their flight from Yugoslavia, communist Yugoslavia. So why don't you go ahead, Mom and?

Hilde Hornung [00:10:36] I just wanted to say that my father during the time was conscripted into the German army, which means he was forced just like a draft. And that was in the early nineteen forties. He was in the SS until he was captured. SS was a special group in the German army, and he was caught and was a prisoner of war in England. He was a prisoner of war till 1947. Until he contacted the Red Cross and was finally put in touch with us and he came to us to find us again in Austria but was still in the process of fleeing. I just wanted to mention one other thing, that my grandfather was sort of like the town crier.

Conrad Hornung [00:11:45] And was back in Yugoslavia?

Hilde Hornung [00:11:48] That was in Neuschowe yet, while we were still in Neuschowe. That all happened just as we were ready. We were told that we have to evacuate. He was the first to be taken and be shot right then and there in the town square.

Conrad Hornung [00:12:04] Oh my goodness, OK.

Hilde Hornung [00:12:06] So now, going back to the camps, my mother and many other people were trying to, of course, get away. But it wasn't to be because we ended up in two more camps before they actually were able to flee. We ended up in Futok.

Conrad Hornung [00:12:29] And how do you spell that?

Hilde Hornung [00:12:30] F-u-t-o-k and got Gakowo, G-a-k-o-w-o. Finally, I think somehow my mother and aunt, they found someone who said they might be able to help them flee to Hungary and from Hungary, then wouldn't be too far to flee to Austria, which was a neutral nation. When they tried that, the guy led them roundabout and they ended up back in the camp again. So, and I think if I remember my sister telling me that they had to pay them X amount of whatever money was at the time, I do not know. Of course, that was all gone because he just left them around in circles and they were back where they were. So then they tried again. And after many, many months, they ended up in Hungary. Finally, they crossed the border and they felt kind of free, but they knew they couldn't stay there. So they said, OK, we're going to try to make it to Austria, which was neutral. They made it to Austria and I do not know, the year sometimes in forty-five or forty-six, and it wasn't too bad, but, it wasn't, they didn't want to accept any of the refugees.

Conrad Hornung [00:14:12] Austria?

Hilde Hornung [00:14:12] Austria. Yeah. So we had to continue on. We finally ended up in upper Austria and where they had, I don't know what it is called, an edict to force people to take some people in.

Conrad Hornung [00:14:36] An edict yeah.

Hilde Hornung [00:14:38] Edict. However, we ended up in another barrack in Linz, Austria. That was actually outside of the Barrick was the biggest Barrick. I don't know how many thousands of people were in there. I do recall from then on a little bit, I don't have to rely on notes, but I do remember that it was Christmas time. 1947. They had a Christmas program in the Lager Haid, h-a-i-d, and those that that's outside of outside of Linz, just outside of Linz.

Conrad Hornung [00:15:23] So this is the Haid Barracks?

Hilde Hornung [00:15:27] Haid Barracks, it's the biggest, biggest community of refugees.

Conrad Hornung [00:15:31] OK.

Hilde Hornung [00:15:33] They had a Christmas program.

Conrad Hornung [00:15:36] In 1947 you said?

Hilde Hornung [00:15:38] Yes. At Christmas time we went to it, my mother, my brother, sister, my grandmother, my Aunt Elizabeth and my cousin Richard. We all lived in one room. We went to the Christmas. All of a sudden somebody came and said Katy, that's was my mother's nickname, Katy quick Martin is back. So it was just, you know, he found her. So we're all running back, I was scared of my father. I didn't want to look at him. I did not know him. I was four years, less than four years old. And I just hid from him and I don't know how long that was, but I know my sister told me now when dad was so upset for the longest time that you wouldn't even look at him and talk to him. But I was four years old. I had no clue that this was my father. You know, all this time I had nobody. But anyway, my father, then he was a bricklayer and he found some work. It was actually one of the people that owned the construction company was a Haller. In Linz, a Haller, was my grandmother was a Haller.

Conrad Hornung [00:17:18] Haller, just for clarification's sake, is a last name.

Hilde Hornung [00:17:23] Haller Is the last name of many, many people in Schowe.

Conrad Hornung [00:17:28] Of Schowe citizens, that's right.

Hilde Hornung [00:17:30] Yeah. So he happened toto know that this guy was from Schowe. And so he went to apply and they gave him a job. So we were allowed to leave, Haid and move into a building in Noiche-Noi- what is it called now? Let me think for a moment. Ah. Into a building that was bombarded. Only part of it was still standing. But there are two rooms on the first floor and on the second floor, actually, that the builder said, well, there are still trying to figure out what to do. We can live in there. So we had two rooms for all of these people. However, the one thing I remember about that, the staircase was an open staircase.

Conrad Hornung [00:18:24] Oh.

Hilde Hornung [00:18:25] I scared stiff to go upstairs to our rooms. It was just too scary. I finally started first grade there in Linz and it was called Neue Heimat.

Conrad Hornung [00:18:44] Which means the new homeland.

Hilde Hornung [00:18:53] Yeah Neue Heimat.

Conrad Hornung [00:18:53] That was the name of the school?

Hilde Hornung [00:18:55] No, no, that was the name like-.

Conrad Hornung [00:19:01] Oh.

Hilde Hornung [00:19:01] Sub-sub, suburb.

Conrad Hornung [00:19:01] Like, your, sub. Gotcha. Okay.

Hilde Hornung [00:19:02] Yeah, just outside. So we were actually lucky that we had two rooms, not just one crammed with 12 people, and my brother and sister were enrolled into school and appropriate classes, and my father really, you know, worked a lot. A lot. Finally, it was maybe 1950, the builder, he was, he had a partner, there were Paquor and Haller. And they finally said, you know what, we have a place more in town that we can bring you, so you're closer to the work area. So they have a little, they have a little plot where all their, they had their bricks and blocks and sand and all that. They had a little house where their office was. There were two rooms in there. So we got two rooms. But next to us were five brick barracks, five barracks that made out of block actually.

Conrad Hornung [00:20:22] Right, right.

Hilde Hornung [00:20:24] So we got one room in there and we had two rooms here because we had my grandmother yet. So the kitchen was in here. My sister, brother, and I slept here. My mother and father slept in the kitchen. There is one single bed in the kitchen. We had two single beds with straw on the bottom. And one like horse blanket to cover us. Then I was enrolled into first grade, I mean, second grade, because first grade I started, second grade was in Lager Funfundsechzig. How you say it? I don't know

Conrad Hornung [00:21:13] The fifty-sixth barrick.

Hilde Hornung [00:21:16] Sixty-fifth.

Conrad Hornung [00:21:19] Sixty-fifth. I'm sorry.

Hilde Hornung [00:21:19] The whole community there was it was a big,.

Conrad Hornung [00:21:25] Sorry.

Hilde Hornung [00:21:25] Big camp again. OK, I was registered in there. I went to school there for second grade. I have a picture of my second-grade picture. I had a male teacher. I had to walk really far to get to the school. We lived here. I had to take the road all the way down, I don't know, maybe a mile and then go up the hill to this Lager Fundfundsechzig and the corner. My teacher came from the other side and he always waited for me at the corner so we could go up to the school together. I mean, I remember that I could still see him. He was gray-haired and had a little beard. Then in third grade, I had a teacher. Her name was Padosh and her daughter was Dorothea. And we became really good friends. And then when once when we were done with fourth grade, we were enlisted in the all-girls school of high school, all girls. And Dorothea and I went to that school together. So we knew each other. You know you knew some friends. And to this day, I still remember Dorothea's mother. As a matter of fact, I met Dorothea again after we left Austria. Thirty years later here in Cleveland. She recognized me thirty years later.

Hilde Hornung [00:23:09] Anyway, getting back to the time schedule, I'm getting ahead of myself. And while we were there, my mother also started working in construction because we had nothing. So I remember I had one dress per week. I think I had two dresses, one for one week, the other the next week, so one can be washed. I was so happy once I got a new dress, you know, it was like. Anyway, we lived there for many years and up to when I was thirteen. My parents had applied to go to America from Linz because my dad's uncle, my grandmother's brother, lived in Cleveland and he agreed that he would sponsor us. Because at that time, you needed to have a sponsor to make sure that you don't become dependent on the American government. But since my father was in the SS that was looked upon as a no-no. So we were rejected twice. Finally, the third time it worked, they allowed him to go to America. I was thirteen years old in eighth grade. My whole class, that I was in that in the girls school, came to the train station and they sang to me. It was very difficult because it meant to leave everyone behind. We cried and cried. And my girlfriends too, they were just waving goodbye and everybody cried and they sang, "Ich hatt' einene Kameraden." (I once had a comrade)

Conrad Hornung [00:25:27] What is it?

Hilde Hornung [00:25:27] Ich hatt' einen Kameraden

Hilde Hornung [00:25:27] We ended up on the train in Munich, Germany. And had to wait there several days until we were allowed to leave because we had my grandmother with me and they said she wouldn't be able to handle a long boat ride boat trip.

Conrad Hornung [00:25:48] Can I ask you a question about, as you grew up in Austria, there going to school, did your family talk about the fact that you were Germans? I mean, was.

Hilde Hornung [00:26:04] Oh, yes. That was known. It was known. But when we were asked to leave, we were left. We had to leave because we were Germans.

Conrad Hornung [00:26:15] And right so from the communist standpoint, between the Russians and the Serbs, they forced you out?

Hilde Hornung [00:26:24] Yes.

Conrad Hornung [00:26:24] Because of the fact that you were German.

Hilde Hornung [00:26:27] Yes.

Conrad Hornung [00:26:28] I guess, I, I, look at this outline here and I'm looking at whether or not your parents talked about the Germans or that, in fact, that you are German.

Hilde Hornung [00:26:45] We are German. So, no, there was no talk. I mean, in Austria, they speak German. So we were not no strangers. We except we talked with a funny dialect for the. They couldn't understand us. We couldn't understand them because their dialect is like the Bavarian dialect. And of course, we've talked Schowe-ish, which is the pronunciations are all different.

Conrad Hornung [00:27:13] Now. Did you also talk about the Russians and or?

Hilde Hornung [00:27:20] Yeah, and once we when we were living in Linz, we had we lived right by the Donauschwaben and it was known that this site was German. The other side was English.

Conrad Hornung [00:27:39] Really?

Hilde Hornung [00:27:39] At that time. And you can't cross over the bridge to go to that side for some reason, I don't know how the English left and the Russians took that part.

Conrad Hornung [00:27:55] Oh, my gosh.

Hilde Hornung [00:27:56] So you really have to be careful when you crossed over that bridge that you'll be able to come back.

Conrad Hornung [00:28:02] Wow. OK, so that brings us back to how you were coming to Cleveland,.

Hilde Hornung [00:28:09] Right.

Conrad Hornung [00:28:09] So that's, that's perfect.

Hilde Hornung [00:28:11] We, ah, we took a plane.

Conrad Hornung [00:28:15] From Munich?

Hilde Hornung [00:28:16] From Munich.

Conrad Hornung [00:28:17] Oh my goodness.

Hilde Hornung [00:28:18] Because my grandmother was elderly. And so it was like a troop plane. I don't know.

Conrad Hornung [00:28:27] Wasn't it a warplane or something?

Hilde Hornung [00:28:29] Yeah, something. It wasn't like a fancy plane. Like, like you have now. But we landed in Newfoundland, Canada.

Conrad Hornung [00:28:43] Oh, sure.

Hilde Hornung [00:28:44] Newfoundland, way up north there. And the first there was a stop. They had to stop, I guess, to refuel. And then they went to New York. In New York, we landed. OK, they took us to the train station, the grand...

Conrad Hornung [00:29:02] Yes, Grand Central Station.

Hilde Hornung [00:29:05] Grand Central, we didn't know what we were going to do.

Conrad Hornung [00:29:09] Yeah.

Hilde Hornung [00:29:11] But my uncle had paid for a train trip already from New York to Cleveland. And said, you know, he made clear that they can serve us food. We didn't know that. We didn't understand anything. So we were on the train trip. It took us like ten hours at night and we were hungry, you know, but we were afraid to ask anybody for anything when we came into Cleveland with a terminal tower. And a lot of our friends were there, like my aunt and uncle, they already went six months before us.

Conrad Hornung [00:29:53] Which ones were they were they-?

Hilde Hornung [00:29:55] Lisel and Michelle Cole.

Conrad Hornung [00:29:59] Oh Cole, okay.

Hilde Hornung [00:30:00] And their son, Richard.

Conrad Hornung [00:30:01] I see.

Hilde Hornung [00:30:02] They had made the trip six months before we did. So they are allowed to leave earlier than we were. They had applied also because Uncle Haller was here, you know, and he signed for them as well. So we were happy as can be. But then started the hard times started. We had, for the first time, we had our own apartment. We had more than one room. In an old house, my aunt and uncle had paid for a duplex house. We lived upstairs. We had a bathroom, which we never had. We never had a bathroom. We never had a bathtub. I remember when we were still in Linz, we were, we were making, we took sewing lessons in school and we made towels. And I couldn't figure out how come there's nothing to hang them on. I needed something like a nail to hang them on. How can the towel hang here? It's made no sense to me as a child. So finally we came, we had a bathroom and a towel bar. What the heck is that? We didn't know what that was.

Conrad Hornung [00:31:22] Oh, my gosh.

Hilde Hornung [00:31:23] But anyway, the first couple of months were really hard. We cried and cried and cried. Why did we do this? Why did we do this? And my aunt and uncle come. It'll get better. Just relax. You know, they got my father a job right away. Even though it was wintertime. We landed in December. 1956.

Conrad Hornung [00:31:45] Wow.

Hilde Hornung [00:31:46] And my dad somehow landed the job right away and my mother landed a job with my Aunt Elizabeth who worked in a factory and she took mom and said to the owner she really need. So they worked together in there. So here is the first day my mom, you know, we need some food. But nobody knows what these things are called. So, mom went first. I was in a little tiny store there in the corner, she took some onion peels, she showed the onion peels to the owner. This is what I want. She got some onions. Then the next time, you know, since I had taken English classes for almost three full years, I still couldn't speak English. I mean, this was an English lesson that gave you all the words, but not how to communicate. So trying to help my mom trying to buy some groceries or so. Finally, my aunt said, well, go to this store. I don't know whether it was Kroger's or so. You can just pick everything. You don't have to ask for it and pay for it at the end. So that was a great thing. We ended up living in that house, 56, three years. My parents worked so hard, they both worked. My brother worked also because he was already in training as a car mechanic. Since he was not 18, they said he has to go to school, but he said, no, he's not going. He was like 17. He said I am already training for this. So he got a job and a VW in Lorain on Lorain somewhere. He started work also.

Conrad Hornung [00:33:55] For VW?

Hilde Hornung [00:33:56] For VW. For Volkswagen. Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:33:59] Oh my god.

Hilde Hornung [00:34:00] Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:34:05] OK. I'm going to stop this for a second.

Hilde Hornung [00:34:07] Yeah, during the three years that we stayed on West Fifty Fourth Street, they pulled enough money together to buy us a used car, which was something unthinkable when we left Austria. Never dreamed of owning a car that was like only in the movies. So that was something really exciting after three years since they worked so hard and diligently, my parents had enough for a down payment to a house which was on Dawning Street in Cleveland off of between Pearl Road and Broadview Road. And it had three bedrooms and a kitchen and it had a basement and it had an upstairs. Attic that was finished.

Conrad Hornung [00:35:10] So what was it like being an immigrant in Cleveland? Were you ostracized? Did a lot of people know that you were German and because of the war?

Hilde Hornung [00:35:21] Well, they knew in school that I was German, you know because I still had a dialect.

Conrad Hornung [00:35:29] Oh sure.

Hilde Hornung [00:35:29] But no. other than that, no, we really did not hang around locals that much. We hung around with all the people that we know that fled just like we did from Schowe and from other parts of Yugoslavia and Hungary. So we got together. They, we all lived close together. And every Saturday and Sunday, we all got together visiting each other and made friends, really good friends. And no, we weren't ostracized at all, I can't say.

Conrad Hornung [00:36:09] OK, did-.

Hilde Hornung [00:36:13] The atmosphere was a lot different than it is nowadays as far as immigrants were concerned because the immigrants that came in 1956 and before and maybe a few years after, they wanted to make good here and they were working so hard. And, you know, we just didn't rely on help from the government at all. So that's one big difference that I know for certain.

Conrad Hornung [00:36:45] Interesting comment.

Hilde Hornung [00:36:47] Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:36:48] Wow.

Hilde Hornung [00:36:52] So.

Conrad Hornung [00:36:52] That's something. Anything else? How did the, ah, Who introduced you to the Danube, Swabian or Donauschwaben organization here in Cleveland?

Hilde Hornung [00:37:14] Well, when we were we were getting together with all these people that we know from Schowe that moved to Cleveland, too. And all of a sudden somebody must have said there is an opening, a club or there's a club here that the Banater Schwaben have and perhaps we can go there sometimes and check it out, you know.

Conrad Hornung [00:37:38] Sure.

Hilde Hornung [00:37:38] So then we went there and we liked what we saw. You know, it was pretty much German. And so we felt at home like and that's where we met then every weekend we met there and then they created the soccer club. Then every Sunday afternoon, everyone, including the girls, were at the soccer club rooting on the team, winter, summer, all the time. And that's how I met your father on the soccer team.

Conrad Hornung [00:38:07] Oh, really?

Hilde Hornung [00:38:08] Well, yeah. He was going or looking at the soccer and watching soccer. And then we also went to the German Central. There was another place, but of course, that was further away from where we lived. So we didn't go that often too. But then everyone got their cars and all that finally. On Saturday night, we went to German Central. On Sunday evening, there was a dance at the Banater Club from six to ten, which we went to. So every Saturday, German Central, Sunday, the Banater Club. So your dad and I then became acquainted and we kind of liked each other and so he asked me out. I went actually with somebody else the first time to the central, which was Leo. And he was a good friend with George, you know, my husband. And, ah.

Conrad Hornung [00:39:13] Still is.

Hilde Hornung [00:39:14] Yeah, he is. And so we were at the Central and your dad asked me to dance and you know, we danced because I love to dance. And then when it was time to go home, he said, Leo, do you mind if I take her home?

Conrad Hornung [00:39:33] That's funny.

Hilde Hornung [00:39:33] And from then on, we met at Leo's house all the time. Because Leo lived three streets down. I lived on fifty-fourth, he lived on fifty-ninth. We had, I don't know how many children were there, six or seven children. I went to school with one of them and so we said I used to tell my mom, oh, I'm going to go see Gretel, which is Leo's sister. In fact, I was going to see Leo and George.

Conrad Hornung [00:40:04] That's funny.

Hilde Hornung [00:40:05] But anyway, it turned out OK.

Conrad Hornung [00:40:09] That's great. That's great.

Hilde Hornung [00:40:12] So any other questions that I can?

Conrad Hornung [00:40:15] No,I, I, is there any other, uh, are there any other parts that you can think about what you've already shared that you want to embellish or...

Hilde Hornung [00:40:28] Let me think a little.

Conrad Hornung [00:40:30] Sure.

Hilde Hornung [00:40:32] It's just about my parents, my parents came from my mother, who came from a family of nine children. And my father, my father's father died during World War One, so he had a stepfather because my mother, my grandmother remarried and had another child, which is Tante (aunt) Hanni she is from the same mother, but a different father.

Conrad Hornung [00:41:06] OK, I missed that.

Hilde Hornung [00:41:08] Tante Elizabeth (aunt) and my dad were real brothers and sisters, and Hanni was half brother, half sister because she had a different father.

Conrad Hornung [00:41:23] Because of...

Hilde Hornung [00:41:26] The first one died in the war and she remarried. Wolf,

Conrad Hornung [00:41:31] Ah, no kidding.

Hilde Hornung [00:41:34] So she was a little different.

Conrad Hornung [00:41:41] Are they still alive?

Hilde Hornung [00:41:42] No, no. They died a long time ago they had a son who didn't want anything to do with us anymore after a while.

Conrad Hornung [00:41:53] Warhollik? H-O-L-L-I-K.

Conrad Hornung [00:41:54] Yeah the son's name is Gunter.

Conrad Hornung [00:41:57] Gunter, yeah that's right!

Hilde Hornung [00:41:57] Gunter Warhollik.

Conrad Hornung [00:41:57] Yeah.

Hilde Hornung [00:42:03] Whatever became of him, I don't know. I know he got married because he lived at Aunt Liz's for a while.

Conrad Hornung [00:42:09] I see.

Hilde Hornung [00:42:11] On the upstairs when the duplex. But he was very mean so she didn't want him anymore.

Conrad Hornung [00:42:20] I remember that.

Hilde Hornung [00:42:20] Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:42:21] Yeah I kind of remember him, too, so.

Hilde Hornung [00:42:24] Yeah. Well, you don't have to report that. It's already in there.

Conrad Hornung [00:42:32] What else? Now, you were only two when you left Yugoslavia.

Hilde Hornung [00:42:38] Yeah. Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:42:39] What do you remember having any type of... thinking back to your time in the barracks, especially the big one, the Lager Haid that you called the new home. Did you recall any fun times there?

Hilde Hornung [00:43:02] I don't because, no, I do not. Because I was too little. I was just, you know.

Conrad Hornung [00:43:09] But I thought you went to school there till you were like 13 or something.

Hilde Hornung [00:43:14] Not in Lager Haid.

Conrad Hornung [00:43:15] Oh.

Hilde Hornung [00:43:16] In Lager Haid, was just the first couple of years. Then we moved to Neue Heimat, which I attended first grade.

Conrad Hornung [00:43:27] Oh, I-.

Hilde Hornung [00:43:27] First was Lager Haid in Lintz.

Conrad Hornung [00:43:28] I thought that was Lager Haid and Neue Heimat were the same.

Hilde Hornung [00:43:32] No, no.

Conrad Hornung [00:43:34] Okay.

Hilde Hornung [00:43:34] Neue Heimat was the second place. It is also a suburb. It's called Neue Heimat. That was not a Lager that was...

Conrad Hornung [00:43:46] More like a development or?

Hilde Hornung [00:43:48] Well, it was like homes that were bombarded.

Conrad Hornung [00:43:52] Oh over the bombarded homes, I'm sorry.

Hilde Hornung [00:43:53] Yes, so that they said we can live in there for a while and-.

Conrad Hornung [00:43:58] Wow. And Paquor and Haller. Paquor spelled P, A, K, W, O, R?

Hilde Hornung [00:44:03] P, A, Q, U.

Conrad Hornung [00:44:03] Really?

Hilde Hornung [00:44:03] O, R. Paquor and Haller.

Conrad Hornung [00:44:11] Q, U, Boy that's an interesting name.

Hilde Hornung [00:44:16] They were really nice, though, actually, since my mother worked in construction for them.

Conrad Hornung [00:44:24] Your mom?

Hilde Hornung [00:44:25] Yeah, my mother worked in construction when we were in Linz.

Conrad Hornung [00:44:28] I'll be darned.

Hilde Hornung [00:44:29] She was like a helper. She carried bricks and all that.

Conrad Hornung [00:44:33] No way?

Hilde Hornung [00:44:34] Really the skinniest she was.

Conrad Hornung [00:44:35] Yeah.

Hilde Hornung [00:44:36] She was she was skinny like me at that time. But Paquor, Mr. Paquor liked her a lot and they had a really nice house up on the hill and that Linz was hilly, some on the side, beautiful. They had a house and a little and the hill and he had I don't know how many children. He said, Katy, you're going to come to my house and you help my wife clean. So she stayed all day, they fed her and she help clean, she even took me along one day they had a swimming pool.

Conrad Hornung [00:45:19] No way.

Hilde Hornung [00:45:20] Yeah, they had a swimming pool.

Conrad Hornung [00:45:23] They had a swimming pool in Austria in the 50s?

Hilde Hornung [00:45:24] Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:45:27] Oh my gosh.

Hilde Hornung [00:45:27] I went that long. I was scared stiff. I had never been in a pool before. I was like, what was I, eight or nine years old. So the kids, you know the kids. Come on Hilde they come on Hilde. So I went in, I thought I would drown. I just hung on to the side of the pool and I'm getting out of here.

Conrad Hornung [00:45:52] Oh.

Hilde Hornung [00:45:52] But yeah, they were really nice to my parents. They loved them because they were such hard workers.

Conrad Hornung [00:45:57] That's amazing.

Hilde Hornung [00:45:58] Mr. Paquor was very nice.

Conrad Hornung [00:46:00] But Paquor that's not a German name, is it? or?

Hilde Hornung [00:46:03] No, but they were, I don't know what their origin was...

Conrad Hornung [00:46:07] But they spoke German obviously.

Hilde Hornung [00:46:08] Oh yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:46:09] So that because they obviously communicated.

Hilde Hornung [00:46:10] Oh yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:46:10] With all of you.

Hilde Hornung [00:46:12] Oh yeah. And since Mr. Haller was his partner and Mr. Haller was from Neuschowe. So-.

Conrad Hornung [00:46:19] Yeah.

Hilde Hornung [00:46:19] He knew right away. You know Martin good. Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:46:25] That's awesome.

Hilde Hornung [00:46:25] So that was no problem there.

Conrad Hornung [00:46:28] Now, I'm going to ask you a question that I want to understand whether or not this was true. It seems to me, I remember. I don't know who told me this story. But that the way your dad was conscripted, was, in fact, that the German people came to Neuschwobe and they told him he's-.

Hilde Hornung [00:47:03] He's got to go.

Conrad Hornung [00:47:05] And then he said, I got a wife and three kids. And that the people that told him he needs to go said, and this is what I want to confirm, that they actually threaten him by saying, if you don't go, will, we will shoot your wife and your three kids in front of you.

Hilde Hornung [00:47:24] I'm not certain that that was true, but I would say that was quite possible, that they said that because they were real cruel and even though they were the Germans, you know, we need the help. You've got to come.

Conrad Hornung [00:47:42] Crazy.

Hilde Hornung [00:47:42] Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:47:44] Wow, wow.

Hilde Hornung [00:47:46] Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:47:47] Phenomenal.

Hilde Hornung [00:47:49] It was not a pretty story.

Conrad Hornung [00:47:50] No.

Hilde Hornung [00:47:51] But the outcome was good.

Conrad Hornung [00:47:54] Yep, here we are and...

Hilde Hornung [00:47:56] Got a nice family and nice grandkids and great-grandkids and living the good life finally.

Conrad Hornung [00:48:04] Thank God.

Hilde Hornung [00:48:05] Yeah. Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:48:07] Well, if there's nothing else to say at this point, then I see you've written down some, notes was that just to remind yourself?

Hilde Hornung [00:48:18] Where I was. Where we were. I actually got these notes from Caroline Lindenmeyer. Oh, she is the one who has everything recorded. And I told her once, I'm going to come and copy your things because she was everywhere that we were her mother and my mother were best friends. Mrs. Lindenmeyer and her mother. And my mother.

Conrad Hornung [00:48:42] Yes. Yes.

Hilde Hornung [00:48:44] So she knows very well. They were in the same room with us. Do you know, on the same straw?

Conrad Hornung [00:48:54] I know that now, I remember.

Hilde Hornung [00:48:57] Yeah, so she's the one who said this and this and this and this, and I wrote it down and one of the notes in my I kept, I have it in my purse all the time. Just a reminder, you know...

Conrad Hornung [00:49:09] And she's still doing well?

Hilde Hornung [00:49:16] Yeah.

Conrad Hornung [00:49:20] I want to thank everyone here for their time and and I look forward to coming back tomorrow and talking to my dad and getting his side of the story.

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