Sandra Holyoak: This begins an interview on July 18, 2001 in Concord, Massachusetts with Dorrit Weil Moloney at her home in Concord. I would like to thank you for taking time to do this spontaneous interview with the project. To begin the interview, please tell us a little bit about where you were born and about your parents.
Dorrit Moloney: All right, I'll be glad to do that. I was born eighty years ago in Vienna, Austria, in 1921. I celebrated my eightieth birthday in Vienna, Austria this last year. I went to grade school and high school, but I never finished in Vienna ... I then came to the United States and continued my education here. My mother and father both were born in Vienna ... in the nineteenth century, both of them. My father, went through grade school, high school and university in Vienna and in Paris at the Sorbonne. He went to the University of Vienna, got a degree and a PhD in law and my mother was brought up also in Vienna, had her schooling there and then she met my father, during World War I. ... He gave a lot of lectures. She saw him at a lecture. She walked up to him, introduced herself, and then, it went from there ... I have an older sister who is married to an Englishman and lives in England, has lived most of her life in England and I lived most of my life in the United States. I went to the University here in the States in Ohio at Wittenberg University and after I finished I came back East because my parents lived in the East, here in New York. I was looking for a position and I saw an ad in the papers from General Motors. They were advertising to train young college graduate women, for positions in the defense industry. I applied for the job and they accepted me and sent me down to Rutgers to take all engineering course. While I was down there, pretty much in the beginning met my husband and we were engaged after twelve days. It was wartime, I wanted to say that too, but we had set a wedding date. I was working at General Motors and somehow, I used to eat my lunches in the cafeteria, I contracted trench mouth. I had a terrible time, it was swollen and I couldn't eat for many weeks. I had to postpone my wedding and we did get married in April of 1944 in New Brunswick. We were married by Dean Metzger, and my husband was never quite sure whether he had recorded the papers properly, so he always teased me saying maybe we are not married. After the war, my husband came back to Rutgers and I got another degree, an MA degree, in political science from Rutgers University. I worked for the library for about six months or so, but then I became pregnant and we were expecting our first child. We had three more children within two-and-a-half years and I couldn't go back to work, so I worked from time to time. I Did go back for additional graduate work after the children went to school. I was concerned with the children's education, with my own education, with my husband's education. He used to come home for lunch and I had to have lunch on the table and he would eat in about five minutes and turn around and go back to Rutgers. It was quite a hectic life and the children always brought somebody else home to eat, so I always had to be ready with some extra food. They were all in college at the same time. After they were gone, my husband worked for sometime after that. After he retired we did a lot of traveling and that's about where it ends up.
SH: I would like to go back and ask you to explain what it was like to grow up in Vienna before you came to the United States in 1938?
DM: No, in 1940.
SH: Can you talk a little bit about what it was like as a teenager, and your early memories?
DM: Well, my early memories ... it was quite different from what anybody can imagine. First of all, it was quite primitive, I would say, in a way, primitive. I remember when we got our electric lights and there were the wires going across the ceiling and a bulb was hanging down, a bare bulb, but then eventually we did get nicer fixtures. ... I do remember, I don't like to talk about it, but I remember the toilet facilities. They improved as time went on, but my father used to write plays and sometimes, he wouldn't use the first draft or so, so my mother would cut up the paper for the toilet. We tried to piece it together so we could read the plays on the toilet, it's terrible to talk about this but I remember this distinctly and we lived near Schonbrunn, which was a palace, a royal palace and so I spent a great deal of time in Schonbrunn and we lived on one end of Schonbrunn and I went to school as a little child on the other end. It was about a two-mile walk, and everyday, my father used to take me by the hand about six-thirty in the morning, it was completely dark in winter, of course and walked me through Schonbrunn to the other end. I never took a streetcar, we didn't have a car and so I walked with him and then at noon, my mother would meet me and I would walk home again. As a little kid, I had a lot of exercise, really, when I think about it. We had to either walk everyplace or take a streetcar, but usually, I walked because my mother would give me the money for the streetcar but I wanted to save up the money so I would rather walk. ... The one thing I do remember, that children were very political at a very young age. We were ten years old and they either were for Hitler or against Hitler and they used to fight, little kids, really little kids, and then in high school, we had what they called "illegal Nazis." They were underground because the Nazi party was outlawed in Austria after 1933 and they would meet. We knew when they met because they weren't allowed to wear uniforms, but they had a certain way, they had certain clothing that meant it's a uniform. We knew when they wore that they were going to meet that day, and the one young man in our class of teenagers, he was one of the most active ones in Austria. ... He became the Deputy Fuhrer, what they call of the Hitler youth of Austria. He was killed in the war. ... All the Nazis in our class, ...had to ... fight in the war, but all the Nazis were killed in the first onslaught in Russia, ... I talked to somebody after the war, who was also in my class and I mentioned this, he said, "Terrible, young people to be killed," ... "Well, you know, they were taught that it was an honor to die for the Fuhrer, and they just thought they were doing the greatest honor giving up their lives..." I couldn't understand it. It was terrible. It was really very bad because there were so many different factions and they all were very political the teenagers. All they thought about is the policies and one day, one of the girls appeared saying, "I just had Hitler's arm around me." She went up...to Berchtesgaden, to his place, with two others, and after Hitler marched into Austria in March of '38, she came out with the picture showing us that he had his arm around all three of them. They were very proud of it. ... We had a very nice swimming pool in Schonbrunn where ... at sixteen months, I learned how to swim. ... I had always gone there and we used to go after school, ... and swim. It's a very large pool. They just closed it in 2000, I don't know why, because they didn't have the money to keep it up, but it's a beautiful pool and they are thinking about reopening it. ... We used to go there and swim and then we used to go and play ping-pong a great deal and walk and hike and do things like that for our recreation.
SH: Were there youth organizations or clubs that people belong to?
DM: Well, yes, they belonged to the Nazi organization. ... They had the Catholic organization, they had ... something similar to Boy Scouts and they had, as I say, the Catholic youth organization and the Hitler youth, but they always clashed. They were fighting each other, and I do remember distinctly, how the terror that existed in the '30s ... was instituted by the Nazis. I remember in 1934, there was a Jewish jeweler in one of the main streets in the district where I lived. ... My mother..., I had a sore throat so I didn't go to school, ... took me out anyway. She had to go shopping in that street and we heard this terrible loud noise and she and I walked down there and we saw this decapitated man lying in the street ... three people were killed, somebody had thrown a bomb into the store, but he was lying there dead ... I was quite young at that time and it really impressed me, but the Nazis used to do it, the bombs used to be in telephone cells, all over town really. It was quite hairy in the '30s, and then of course, in 1938 when [Kurt von] Schuschnigg who was the Chancellor of Austria, went to see Hitler. ... He gave in to Hitler, and then he came back and gave a speech in Austria. People thought, well, he won, he defeated Hitler. Hitler won't come and I turned around and I remember distinctly hearing it. I said to my father, "Baloney, Hitler would be here in about three days," Hitler was ... here in Austria in three days. I mean it was obvious, so my youth did revolve a lot around politics, but I must say also, that we took trips. I had been to the French Riviera, and I had been to Italy, and we went to Czechoslovakia a great deal. We went to the Sudeten land [region in northern Czech Republic on German border], that was another one, but the little kids there, little ten year olds already were talking politics, and it was terrible. I went to a camp, an Austrian-French Camp in The sur-les-Bains which is on Lake Geneva, but on the French side and I remember there was a little kid, he thought he was a big shot, he was only thirteen-years-old but he and his whole group were all French Nazis. It's amazing when you think about it, but there was a big Nazi movement, Fascist movement, in France at that time and all they talked about was politics, ... I remember that too and I remember going into Sudetenland where they used to openly, wear their swastika, they weren't allowed to, of course, and I remember they were agitating a lot ... we were encircled by the Nazis, really, and by terror and all that. I remember that very distinctly.
SH: Did your mother and father talk openly about what was going on?
DM: Well, they didn't believe. No, well, ... I always said, I was realistic. I don't know why, I could be realistic, they weren't. I was wrong they always told me, and one of my father's friends... (Hitler came to power in Germany on the thirtieth of January 1933). Had spent a month from '32, the end of '32, to just before Hitler came to power, in America, traveling all over. ... He was a journalist and he came back and the first thing he called my father up and he said, "Hitler will never be in power in Germany, because the Americans told me they wouldn't tolerate it." Three days later, or two days later, or the next day, Hitler was in power. I mean they were in the United States, so completely unrealistic. He had traveled all over and talked to people, politicians, journalists, and so on, and he said, that it just won't happen.
SH: What was your father's employment at that point?
DM: He was a writer. He wrote for newspapers and he wrote operas, operettas, plays and he did, one thing he did, he wrote many, many movies, but they had to be censored. ... The movie industry was really in Germany. At first, ... he wrote under a pseudonym, ... but then he completely disappeared ... because there was this Aryan paragraph, I don't know if you are familiar, but especially in movies and writing and so on, you had to produce your eight [great] grandparents birth certificates. ... He couldn't do that because he was of Jewish extraction. He had a co-writer. Father did all the writing and everything else, and he, the co-writer had the eight Aryan great grandparents and therefore he could sell, the movies. He came back with the money each time, gave my father between five and ten percent, and took the rest. Funny thing, but I just found out this year, when I went to the Jewish museum, to give a speech speech, somebody told me that his money, the guy who made all that money on the movies. (His daughter, Mady, was a friend of mine, but she committed suicide in 1948.) After his death, the money went to his wife. ... The closest relative was the sister of his wife, and the sister lived to be a hundred years, in Salzburg. ... She didn't have any heirs. She went to a nursing home, because she wasn't quite there anymore and the doctor who took care of her in the nursing home who was a Yugoslav, he somehow got hold of her. She adopted him, signed over all the money, millions and millions of dollars and he took her name and took all the money, of course, he inherited it from her, and that's where my father's money finally ended up. It was an interesting story. I just had to laugh.
SH: It's a movie in itself.
DM: Yeah, it's a movie in itself, how really the money traveled from one to the other and how it finally ended up, it actually was quite tragic, the whole thing. I mean that the most successful movies, some of them came to the States ... they're still being played in Europe, ... but how the money traveled to somebody, who had actually nothing to do with it. ... It was his [my father's] head that created all that, but this is one of the things.
SH: Now, what about your mother? Was she able to produce her Aryan paragraph?
DM: Well, she didn't have to. She was just married to my father and that's it, she didn't work or anything, ... It was terrible.
SH: How did he acknowledge his Judaism? Did he attend the synagogue?
DM: Well, no. He converted when he was sixteen, but that's no good. I mean you have to, his mother wasn't Jewish either, but he was born Jewish and he was Bar Mitzvahed too, but you know the circumstances were just terrible.
SH: Was he involved in World War I at all?
DM: Oh, yes. He was in the war. You saw the picture, that's it. He was an officer in the war. Yes, he was down in Albania during the war. Well, I have some pictures of his whole unit. He was a cavalry officer. Yeah, he was involved and he was involved in, he started the front theater so they went all over also entertaining the troops and so on. He started that in World War I, yeah.
SH: Did you know your grandparents?
DM: My mother's father I didn't really know because she didn't grow up with him. Her mother died when she was a year old, so relatives brought her up, and he was in the army all his life. He was in the army band in the Deutsch Meisters, which is a very famous regiment and he played trumpet in the band, but he was also an artist. He was a painter, an artist, but he died of ... gangrene, he had his legs amputated. He was only fifty-six, and my grandfather on my father's side had cancer and he died way before I was born, or before my father was married and my grandmother, his mother, my father's mother, my mother's mother of course died when she was a year old and never knew her. My father's mother died when I was five, so I vaguely remember her. That's all about my grandparents.
SH: You said your sister was older than you?
DM: She was a year older, fifteen months actually. She was born in January and I was born in April but a year apart.
SH: When you were little and you were making this trek clear across the palace grounds, was it to attend a special school?
DM: No. No. The school still exists in the same building, so every time my children or grandchildren come to Vienna, I show them what room I was in, but no, it was a public school but it was better than in the district where we were. My parents thought I would get a better education, probably the children were more to their liking, maybe, too. That's the only reason.
SH: How did you first make the decision to come to the United States?
DM: Well, that was a weird thing. My parents fled Austria and went to Czechoslovakia.
SH: How old were you when that happened?
DM: Oh, I went on my own. I was sixteen when I went to England on my own with a suitcase and ten marks in my pocket. It was hair-raising.
SH: You went before your parents did?
SH: Did your sister go with you?
DM: No, she went to Belgrade.
SH: At the same time?
SH: Okay, I'll let you tell the story.
DM: Well, the year before I had spent the summer in England, in Bornmouth and I had a very good friend, I made friends with an English woman. She was somewhat related to Anthony Eden, and they had quite a bit of influence there and after Hitler came in, she wrote and invited me to come to England, so I went to England.
SH: Did she understand the danger that you were in?
DM: Oh, she did, oh, yeah. I'm sure because she and her parents, she was younger than I was. She was just a young teenager and so I went and I stayed with them for a month, but I felt I shouldn't stay any longer, and I got myself a job. At sixteen, I was teaching in a high school in East Dereham in England because they didn't need permits in England except for household help. I wasn't going to be any household help so I got myself ...
SH: What year was it then?
DM: 1938. I wrote a lot about this position because I had this woman who was the Head Mistress of this school. She was impossible and really she was scandalous as far as I'm concerned, but anyway ... so then I couldn't stand it more than a year. I stayed a year and then ...
SH: Which town was this in?
DM: East Dereham, it's in Norfolk. You know, when you go up from London, you go up North and then it's on the East coast. It's all right, a town, and the next year, I got myself a much nicer job because it was in Aldrich. They had, the military like West Point, but they had evacuated all the children. They had the private schools and they had evacuated the children to ... Somerset, and it was really very nice and I got a job there.
SH: What did you do?
DM: I was usually teaching German and I taught swimming too, and some French too, and this Aldrich was very nice because, first of all, I was sharing a room with , a suite with a young French woman who was supposed to learn English, that's why her parents sent her to England, but she didn't want to speak English, so for a year, she only spoke French to me and really it was fantastic how much you can learn, of course, I knew French before that but really, it was wonderful. I encouraged her to speak French. Anyway, but we had all these officers' children ... and I remember the day Dunkirk occurred. Do you remember Dunkirk? You studied history, probably. They all had their fathers and brothers and uncles, they were all in the expeditionary force in Dunkirk. I remember all night long and all day the next day, they would receive calls, whether their relatives were safe or killed, and I remember that very distinctly, but ... within a week, I had to leave. It was in the countryside, I had to leave for London. They made some foreigners go to London to a certain place ... because they were afraid of spies.
SH: The English made the Germans do this?
DM: I was Austrian, but I had no choice. No, no, not the French, but enemy aliens and I went to London to a certain place. They had to go to a certain place and there were different floors and we were on one floor, the women, and above us were the men. ... Everyday, there were fewer men and they would bring ... new ones in. They were interning them on the Isle of Man for the rest of the war. ... We were wondering, I had my affidavit for the States already, so there wasn't any danger that I would have to go, but I know several women who went.
SH: How did you get your affidavit?
DM: Well, my parents were in the States already, they went in 1939, I went in '40. I went through some bombs in London, too, the German bombs, so that was kind of hairy too, but I want to go back to one thing. When I left Vienna, I went on the train to Ostend and from there by ship across the English Channel and I remember, when, in Munich, two SS men came on the train. ... There were two girls with me, two Austrian girls, and they were all smitten by them and I wouldn't talk to them so when we reached ..., Cologne that was the border, they [the SS men] wanted me to go off with them and I said, "No," because you could say "no." I just want to prove that you could say "no," if you wanted to, and they could have pulled me off but I said, "No," and I went on.
SH: The two girls who were with you, did they stay?
DM: Oh, I don't know. They had those work units for women who had to go out and work in the countryside during the summer and so on. This was during the summer, and I guess they were assigned somewhere in Germany, so they didn't. Incidentally, when I got my affidavit, my visa for London, for England, this might interest you. My aunt went with me to the British consulates because she had lived in England for about fifteen years, she was fluent in English, so I thought it would be a good idea if she went with me, and so she did and we went into the consulate and there was this English woman sitting there, not a word of German but she could say, "Heil, Hitler, "and she wore a swastika, she was English, and then she gave me the visa, because I didn't have a Jewish passport and then she greeted us again with "Heil, Hitler." Imagine, an English woman. I'll never forget that, but that is just a little remembrance of this.
SH: Those are wonderful memories. If we could go back, when did your family start discussing when you would get out of Austria?
DM: Immediately, as soon as Hitler came in, the same evening, we sat together at supper, "What are we going to do?" And it was a terrible situation because people would promise you that ... we had a lot of friends in different countries, "Oh, you can come, we'll give you an invitation." When the time came around to give the invitation, they said, "Oh, we're sorry, but we can't do it right now." It was always the same thing, and the French Consul in Prague, would say, "Oh tomorrow, I've sent it to France and it will come back tomorrow." It was always tomorrow and always tomorrow. The whole thing was a farce, like, I don't know if you're familiar with The Castle, by Kafka, where K, he always had the letters, but K, he wants to go into the castle, he always gets up to the castle, always something happens and he never gets into the castle, and this really reminds me of that situation, of that Kafka novel.
SH: What did your family do?
DM: Well, we decided what we could do, then we started writing letters to different people we knew and so on, in different countries and it always was, they always said, "Well, you can come," but then when the time came, because you had to get so many things in Austria, you had to get a license for dog, which we didn't have, we never had a dog or cat, but you have to produce that you had a license, you had to buy it and then you have to say you don't ... have the dog. ... You had to show that you don't owe any money to anybody and that you don't owe money for taxes or anything else, or that you ... so many regulations, but they only lasted for three or four weeks and by the time the three or four weeks were up that you could go, these people decided that you couldn't come to their country. Then ... something else happened, ... borders were open and then borders were closed again and some countries say "yes," and some countries said "yes" at first and then when you got all your papers together, they said no. It was a horrible thing, and you would have to stand in front of a consulate for hours ... I remember staying in front of the American Consulate, because you had to register and they were telling me that their quota is filled for the next four years, but we registered anyway. ... Four years, that's a long time, and you would stand in front of the consulate for three or four days and ... your parents would bring you some food to eat or some water to drink and you would lie on the sidewalk in line so you wouldn't lose your place. That was the conditions.
SH: Who left your family unit first?
DM: My sister.
SH: Where did she go?
DM: To Yugoslavia.
SH: Did she stay there in Yugoslavia?
DM: Well, yes, she stayed outside Belgrade. ... We had gone to Yugoslavia several times and my parents had made friends with some people. They knew these people and they've also what they call the 'gut,' it means a farm, bigger farm, I guess, and she was ... to take care of the children there, but she only had a three months permission. See, that's what they did. Two months, or six weeks, ... that's all they gave and then they didn't renew it. They needed one, so she was there for six months or nine months, and then my parents went to Switzerland...
SH: How did they get into Switzerland?
DM: Well, very strange, they were in Prague and they had to leave ... Switzerland gave out a three or four week permission for transit, they called it, so they got that, but that was in October of '38 and there was the Munich crisis and the day before ... Munich, before the Four Powers met about the agreement ... the Checks called back all the young people, only young men in the army ... had to cancel their flights. ... They told my father that he couldn't get a flight for months out of Prague, so in the middle of the night this agent called him and he said there are two seats on the plane and so he had to quickly get everything ready and that's how, ... the day before Munich, they got out to Switzerland, and they went for four weeks to Switzerland. ... They ... had some relatives, my uncle was married to a Swiss woman, ... They asked them to ... stay with them at Wohlen, but they only got very short permission to stay each time. It was really horrible.
SH: Are you alone now in Vienna?
DM: ... No, I was alone in England. I went after my sister, but to England.
SH: She went first?
DM: She went first, I went second then my parents went. ... The Gestapo came the next day for my father. They took him down to Gestapo headquarters anyway, arrested him, because he used to keep a diary and they found it in the street, he had lost it. I have that mania, diary mania, too. He always, his whole life, he kept a diary, that's why he could write about his life and about things that happened and so on, but ... and then they came for him again, the day after he had left. They were wondering where he was and then they were looking for him, but ...
SH: They had gone to Prague first then and then to Switzerland?
DM: Yeah, from Prague they went to Switzerland and then they had to leave Switzerland, and they were discussing about going illegally over the border into France, but the French used to catch people and transport them back to Germany. That's what they used to do. They wouldn't let them stay. He just couldn't. You couldn't go across and escape the whole thing. My father, he finally, wrote about a hundred letters to all different people and then he met a friend and he said, "Why don't you write to Upton Sinclair?" the writer, and Upton Sinclair got him an affidavit. That's how he got to the States, and that's how, indirectly, I got to the States, So, yeah, that's one of the things and of course, they came over and I came over afterwards, a year later.
SH: Did your sister come from Hungary then?
DM: No, she came from Yugoslavia to Switzerland.
SH: She joined them there?
DM: Then she went to England, and she was engaged to an Englishman. My father came through England. He was there for a week on the way to the States and he offered to try and get affidavits for both of us, and I said, "Hooray, I'd go right now, if you got it," and she said, "No, I'm engaged," and so on and he [her fiancée] was with the British Expeditionary, he was an Englishman, expeditionary force and "Oh, I'm going to get married." Well, as it turned out he was killed, and she was left in England all by herself, during the war, but she got married to an Englishman towards the end of the war in 1944 and has lived there all her life, but my father tried to get me an affidavit pretty quickly and ...
SH: Where did they come in the States?
DM: In New York.
SH: They came right to New York. Was your father able to work at that point?
DM: Well, as I say, he was a writer and it was an extremely difficult language barrier. He wrote a book that was published, but it was very difficult for all the foreign writers. The people, the musicians who wrote music had itmuch easier and people who like Billy Wilder, and so on had it easier because they directed, and so on, ... actors had it easier too, but anybody who wrote, was really handicapped by the language.
SH: Before you had to leave Austria, was there an international crowd that you had?
DM: Yes, we did. Yes, well, yes. We met them on travels too, and then they came to Vienna, we had a very good friend of ours, a young English woman, stayed with us for about six months in Vienna and so we, you know, we did have people come and stay with us.
SH: What would it be like for you as a teenager in Vienna, other than the political aspects?
DM: Well, I went to dancing school, and it's called Ellmayer and it still exists and Mr. Ellmayer is the ... son now, the same school ... existed for a long time, ... he always organized the ... opera ball. ... We played ping-pong and we traveled, and swim, we swam a lot and skated and skied, we did a lot of skiing.
SH: I was going to ask. What were your qualities like?
DM: Well the last one we spent, my sister and I went with a friend into Turacherhohe and she hurt her knee and she had to get down from the mountain, but she was determined because she was supposed to go to a ball. She was determined to get better, so she got down. ... There were lifts, ... but only up there, but you had to walk up to the hub and you have to ski down and that was our last skiing experience, but it was much different skiing then. We had these sealskins we'd put on our skis so we could climb up the mountains, ... and then we took them off and skied down, but we really couldn't learn too much skiing because it took us almost a whole day to go up there and we had one run down, so it wasn't really very exciting, you must say. Now they take the lift up. ...They do much more skiing, but at that time, we just didn't have any lifts or anything. It was all on foot.
SH: With your father being a writer, what was it like in the home? Did he keep office hours from nine to five?
DM: No, he didn't. He didn't keep ... well; he did most of his writing at night. ... He would go, take me to school when I was little then he would go to Schonbrunn for a walk ... everyday was café house, coffee house, everyday. They used to all meet, you know in the coffee house, so he knew all the people there. ... He had a second breakfast there. In Austria, they get all the newspapers, with one cup of coffee, he could sit for hours and read all the newspapers. He used to do that. ... Then he would go to the barber and have his shave. He would shave, and that was a very interesting assembled crowd, (?) who was second in command to Arthur Seiss-Inquart. ... Seiss was ... the first Nazi Chancellor in Austria, when Hitler came in to Austria and Edmund blaise-Hoisteman was his Vice Chancellor and he was an acquaintance of my father's. ... You have ... the German Ambassador, Herr V. Papen, to Vienna, [and he was often seen in his company]. I remember him, too. Then my father would come home for lunch and then he would ... take a nap. We weren't allowed to make any noise, I remember being a small child, our room was next door and I had my toys and all that, and if I dropped a toy or something, hell broke out. I remember that distinctly. Then he would go to the café house again. He would sit and write some notes and then he would meet with his partner, the one who doubled for him or whatever you call it. ... My father gave him all the ideas and all the things he had written down. ... He would come home, maybe at four o'clock, five o'clock in the morning ... to go to bed and the whole thing would be repeated. ... That's why he slept during the day and did all these other things, but the night was, always for work.
SH: What was your mom's schedule?
SH: We were talking about what your mother's schedule was like when you were in Vienna, was she a typical housewife in Vienna?
DM: Well, oh, she would go ...
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DM: We always talk about the cooks. My husband had his mother cooked too, and I don't know who was worse, really awful. She would take chicken and put it in a pot and just pour water over, and let it boil until there wasn't anything left, all the meat had disintegrated but anyway, she did the cooking. ... In the afternoon, she would dress up and go to the bridge club or ... visit some friends. ... She used to do that. ... The bridge club's women, ... all played bridge but they never learned how to play bridge. ... My mother never learned how to play bridge either, ... I guess they just wanted to get together or something. ...She .... went to parties and the theater and the opera and we had parties in our house and sometimes we had some famous people come and they would play music and my father would recite some poetry or something else ...
SH: Were you allowed as a child to been seen?
DM: Oh, no, no, no. I could be seen but not heard. I never was allowed to express my opinion, but you know, I was quite independent ... and I was always told I was very fresh because I expressed my opinion. I wasn't allowed to do that, but I had my own opinion and it didn't necessarily agree with my parents. My father was old fashioned, you know. He grew up under the Kaiser. He believed in ... the monarchy and all that and I didn't think it was worthwhile anymore.
SH: What do you remember about the styles that people wore?
DM: Well, do you remember the flapper style? I have some pictures of my mother ... dressed in the flapper style and the hairdo was very short and that I remember.
SH: Did your parents like the cabaret type of music?
DM: Yeah, my father appeared in the cabaret. He was one of the originators of one of the first cabarets in Vienna. Yes, they liked that, but then he switched. He decided that wasn't for him, not with a PhD in law. He shouldn't be going to cabaret but it didn't matter.
SH: Did your father ever practice law?
DM: He went and took his first year practice of law... everybody had to studied law. ... But soon, he started writing. He started writing in high school and he got a prize, a pretty high prize. His first play was put on and he got the Raimund prize that year in Vienna for the play, so then he decided law wasn't for him. He was just going to go into writing.
SH: Did he write any sort of musical scores?
DM: Yeah, he wrote musical scores too. Well, he did a lot of musical scores, some of them were published, some of them were not, but he wrote a lot of very light things too, operettas and so on.
SH: When did you leave Austria with?
DM: Nothing. One suitcase...
SH: What did you do with your household goods?
DM: They were stolen. I remember distinctly that SS man coming in, I was still there and his wife [had] a very big bag and he just picked out whatever he wanted to, ... silver, my doll, etc. I have a whole story about my doll. I had so loved Maria, she was on my bed and they had a five-year-old daughter and they said, "Ah, this is just right for her," and snatched it. I had a teddy bear, too, and I just bought myself another teddy bear that looks just like it, about two weeks ago, in Germany. [It] is ... a Steiff teddy bear. I said, "I have to have it!" Mine disappeared, so I decided I was going to buy it, and Don is [Donald Molony, husband] always kidding me, I had it sitting there on a shelf in Vienna. He said, "Teddy is looking at you," so I told him, "I'm going to give it away if you're not going to stop talking about Teddy." ... The doll was a beautiful doll. .... The miniatures, we had old books and whatever, silver, and we had a China service, a nice antique service, which is a fortune worth. I tried to buy a little cup in Dresden ... but it was three or four hundred dollars, just a little cup. ... We had a service for twelve, a complete one, it all went, all went, but it doesn't matter. The thing is it really doesn't matter because when you die, you can't take it with you anyway. I don't need it, what do I need it for? What do my children need it for? They don't need it either, so ... somebody took it, and then it was bombed and it probably disappeared anyway.
SH: When you came to the States you went to school in Ohio? Tell me how you traveled here from England.
DM: Well, I came on the Cunard Line, The Scythia, that's the name of the ship, and we had escorts, this was during the war, we had escort ships, British escort ships because they have sunk so many passenger ships. ... We had all the drill and I never saw a submarine or anything, a German submarine, so we got over here quite safely, I would say, and I was thrilled to see the Statue of Liberty. ... Then I stayed in New York for two weeks then I went to college, immediately. I decided that I should get more education. I only had two years of high school, what they call Gymnasium, you go eight years, I only had six years ... I had to study all the things for the two years I missed and then I had to take a test and the results were sent to Washington and they evaluated. ... I did college in three years ... and got a degree.
SH: How did you know to go to Ohio? How did you come to Ohio?
DM: Well, somebody offered a scholarship, and that's really where I had to go. I had no money, so I had to go wherever I was offered a scholarship.
SH: How did you come to know (Wittenberg?) in Ohio?
DM: Well, I was at another school, at Bluffton College, where Hugh Downs was there ahead of me, and so was Phyllis Diller. ... I used to give a lot speeches, and I still have somewhere the newspapers clippings... We came to Massachusetts from New Jersey when we moved. Yeah, we had a lot of valuables in a storage box and it was stolen... My father's recordings, his voice recordings, my husband's military record, my children's school records ... and we went down to New Jersey to close the house and we were gone overnight and I came back here and that thing was gone. What was I going to do? It was in a strong box, but it wasn't locked, unfortunately, but they took the whole thing anyway, yeah, the whole thing disappeared ... in our new home in Massachusetts.
SH: Were the recordings on disks?
DM: Yes on disks, he did it just before he died, but my husband ... made some copies just before that, so I have the copy, but I wanted to have the original ... we played it ... in Vienna this year. People thought it was very good and afterwards, another evening was given but we weren't there and they thought they enjoyed it very much, ... I was at that school for the first year and then the president of (Wittenberg?) came personally to that school and asked me to come to (Wittenberg?) which I thought was very nice, so that's how I ended up there.
SH: That was great, because you only had that two weeks before you left New York.
DM: Yeah, I took the first opportunity. I took whatever was offered.
SH: What did you study?
DM: Well, I studied sociology and psychology and with a minor in Spanish. I didn't know a word of Spanish when I got there, but in order to get a minor, I had to have at least two years of Spanish and we had a new professor who had just come from Columbia [South America], and he gave me all ... books to study. I had had six years of Latin, so it wasn't that difficult, actually, and I knew a little Italian, I knew some French, so it really wasn't that difficult, so I studied on my own. ... I was interested in psychology...
SH: When did you finish at (Wittenberg?)?
SH: In '43. Can you tell me about how your family watched and were there correspondences between you and your father and mother? What was going on, you've been so politically active?
DM: You mean after I came to the States?
DM: No we didn't. I was politically active; I mean I gave speeches all over the Midwest.
SH: Did you?
DM: Yeah. People they are interested to know what's going on in Europe and I didn't see my parents too much, because the first year, the first summer, I was a counselor in the mountain in a camp in Vermont. ... Well, we had these huts where I had supervision of four or five young girls. One of them was a little girl, eleven years old, her name was Ilse Koch. Her father was a Jewish doctor from Berlin. Her mother was not Jewish, but her uncle was Adolf Forster. You know who he is? Well, he was the gauleiter (of Danzig?). ... World War II started because the Germans went into ... Danzig ... because he had called them in and he became a big shot in the Nazi party. But his sister fled with her husband and of course, the family was very much against the Nazis. He was the black sheep of the family. He had nothing to do with the family, but the girl was with me in my cabin and I became very friendly with her family. Her father was practicing medicine in New York, so I saw them quite frequently, ... we also had Ineka and Josephine, their father had been the last governor of Indonesia for the Dutch. ... And they had to flee, of course, because the Japanese came into Indonesia and ... from Hungary had given me a Hungarian blouse before I left. ... And there was another counselor who became very friendly with me a friend's ... parents came up and they ... took them out for Sunday brunch. ... She wanted to have something special to wear on, so I told her ... you can wear that blouse, but you have to be very careful because it means a great deal to me, and the next thing I knew, about five hours later, they told me that she was dead, they had climbed a rock, Ruth Young and Doreen, her friend. ... She was from Long Island, and they had climbed the rock and she didn't want to hurt the blouse, so she kept away from the rock and she lost her grip and she fell and broke her neck. I felt terrible, so her uncle who was stationed on a ship in Hawaii, that was before Pearl Harbor ... had brought her a Hawaiian blouse but he hadn't given it to her yet, just her parents had received it so they sent it to me. ... But that was a terrible summer, terrible summer.
SH: I wanted to back up to England and ask were you there when they were bringing the Kindertransport out of Austria?
DM: I never saw one, and I never heard about it either. I suppose they did, but I was on the ship when they brought the transports, of English children over to America. One of them was Angela Lansbury. ...
DM: She was on the children's transports.
SH: That's what I was going to say, and then I know there were transports to this country.
DM: The only ones I know of, because they were transported on the ship we were on from England. I never saw the ones from Austria. I don't know if they went to England. I think there was a transport, was there one to England? Well, there must have been, but I wasn't familiar with it, but I do know about the one from England to America.
SH: So that first summer you worked in Vermont?
DM: Yeah, I worked in Vermont. It was beautiful.
SH: Then you went back then to Wittenberg?
DM: Then I went back to Wittenberg. ... I used to work every summer. ... I had to make money.
SH: Did you go back to the camp or did you do other things?
DM: No, I didn't want to go back to the camp because the pay wasn't enough really for what I needed, so I didn't go back. I worked in ... industry in summer. ... The summer after, I went to NYU for summer courses. I did ... so I could finish university in three years and then I just worked. The last time I worked in industry, at the National Cash Register in Dayton, Ohio...
SH: Tell me about the speaking engagements that you did in the Midwest. You said they were very interested. When did those start, and who sponsored it?
DM: Well, they have an office in each college where they have a speaker's bureau ... I was always interested in public speaking. ... I competed for a prize ... with all the ... small colleges in Ohio. ... I was pretty well known through that and so they contacted me through the speaker's bureau. ... I went to Indiana and to Illinois, and Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky...
SH: I was thinking that there would be people who would come up to you after you had spoken. What were some of the questions that they were asking?
DM: Well, they were interested what really went on in Austria and what the Anschluss was. How did the Austrians take to "foreign power?" ... Many were very enthusiastic, of course they were. How did the average person react was another question. They really were very interested in that. ... They also wanted to know if the United States would get involved in the war. Of course, I didn't know, I told them that. How would I know?
SH: That would be the question I wanted to ask. Did they ask you?
DM: Yeah, they did, but I said, well, I just don't know what's going to happen. I mean, I don't know.
SH: Did you think that they should?
DM: Get involved? Yeah, I did. ... The Germans were going to divide up the world and Hitler was going to come to the United States and just take over ... and the Germans were going to take over, South America also.
SH: Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, because you were very politically astute as a young woman, what did you think of Japan and the threat of war?
DM: There were a lot of negotiations in the United States. There was ... the worship of Hirohito as a god and people didn't have any democracy or anything like that, so, and they were arming too. Wherever you had armaments, like they had in Austria, as soon as they came in to Austria. Wholesale armaments, of course ... employed people. The same in Japan. I mean, when you have such severe armaments in the country, it has to somehow find an outlet. ... Eventually it will come to a blow. ... The Japanese, of course were already fighting in China. Really the war started in 1937 when Japan attacked China in a horrible way. ... They were trying to spread over ... China, they were in Nanking.
SH: In '37 when they were in Nanking, you were still in Austria?
DM: In Austria.
SH: Did you hear about it there?
DM: No. Not much, no. I heard very little.
SH: I wondered if the news that comes through the United States and Europe is quite different.
DM: Yeah, it is different as I found out this last time when I was there. It's completely different, but no, I didn't know anything about it.
SH: Where were you when Pearl Harbor was attacked?
DM: I was sitting in the dormitory at Wittenberg talking to a friend when it came through on the radio. It was a Sunday. I remember very distinctly and we were discussing what we were going to do that day and then it came through. Horrible shock ...
SH: How did people react in the Midwest that you noticed?
DM: Well, they felt that they had to defend their country. A lot of the people who were in my class, including the class president, went immediately into the Army. ... The Americans who raised the flag in Iwo Jima, he was one of the Marines who raised the flag. He was killed right after that. ... Our class, nearly, the school decimated, the men weren't there anymore, ... most were gone, more or less, just a few.
SH: Your sister spent the entire war in England?
DM: In England.
SH: What did she think, now of this huge influx of Americans coming to England? Did she talk about that at all with you?
DM: Well, my brother-in-law who is supposed to be a war hero, he is, because he had to diffuse ... bombs in London. ... There were only two of them doing it ... and he got a medal and all that, ... I mention this because he was always very much against the Americans. He didn't like them, he didn't like their attitude, he could do without them. That was really his attitude and my sister, I guess, she followed his leanings ...
SH: When you were in the Midwest, were there discussions about Franklin Roosevelt's presidency?
DM: Oh yes, very much so. Very much so, yeah, there were a lot of ... Wendell Wilkie ... I remember that. Yes, around election time there were a lot of discussions.
SH: Did you hear any political speeches?
DM: Yes, I did.
SH: Whom did you hear?
DM: Well, I heard some Senators and some Congressmen. I never heard Wilkie or Roosevelt or any ...
SH: Did you hear about Norman Thomas?
DM: I don't remember hearing him. I heard the Democrats and the Republicans, I remember that.
SH: I just wondered if you kept up your interest in politics?
DM: Oh, yes I did. That's why [I chose] political science, yeah. ... I mean I got very much involved in Austrian politics, and I got terribly upset this last time, terribly, with what's going on. I find that they're going the same road as the people did in the 1930s. They are trying to do away with democracy, slowly, you know, this Freedom Party. Slowly they're doing away with democracy. It upsets me terribly; I'm terribly upset about this.
SH: We need to back up, we were talking about Pearl Harbor then, and you're still at Wittenberg and coming, then you began to work for National Cash Register Company....
DM: Well, I worked in ... the evening ... and one summer. In the evening I used to go there after supper and work until about midnight. Then I used to come home and study and the classes started at seven o'clock, because of wartime. I was so tired, always tired, I remember that.
SH: Where there ASTP programs?
DM: Not in Wittenberg, no. At Rutgers there was ASTP. I knew quite a few, because we were there at the same time, but no, we didn't have it at Wittenberg.
SH: After you finished your degree at Wittenberg, whom did you go to work for?
DM: Eastern Aircraft in New Jersey, in Linden. That was the General Motors plant. They converted it and called it Easter Aircraft. They made the Wildcats there.
SH: What was your job?
DM: Well, I guess I was an engineer in the engineering department. ... I took that course in Rutgers, a concentrated course.
SH: You've gone to work for General Electric in Linden?
DM: No, no. General Motors, but no, it's Eastern Aircraft. They hired me and before I started working there, they sent me down to Rutgers. They always had a few women at the point. They had these courses, these four or five months courses down there and we were emerged in engineering... We had the regular professors, you know, the engineering professors at Rutgers College, yes.
SH: This is what year?
DM: Nineteen forty-three, in the fall of '43, because we were married in '44 and that was after I had met my husband. Forty-three, yeah, fall of '43 because I graduated in '43 from Wittenberg and then I came East.
SH: So you went for one semester?
DM: No. It wasn't a semester. It was a special course. We had to pass it but they didn't give us any grades or anything like that.
SH: The only people in this class were women?
DM: Only women from all over the country, the East more or less. I guess it was the East.
SH: These different companies sponsored them?
DM: No. Eastern Aircraft did it. Actually, I guess it was sponsored by the government, the training, but Eastern Aircraft [was part of it]. What we did was we had to take tests in order to get this position. We had to take the mechanical aptitude test and the intelligence test. ... Maybe two or three hundred or more women applied for it and then they picked out about sixteen ...
SH: Had there been other women in the same type of courses before you?
DM: Yes, before me and after me.
SH: Did you know how many years before?
DM: Well, you ask my husband, I don't know. ... Some ... before us and some... after us.
SH: What did you do? Did you get a certificate for this?
DM: No, I just got a job. No certificate.
SH: Were there any kind of security checks because you were an Austrian citizen?
DM: No. No. I had the same security check everybody else had.
SH: Were you kept from doing anything because you were from Austria?
DM: No, nothing. I could travel every place; I could do anything I wanted to. I could give speeches, political. I could contribute to a political party. No, none at all. They let me do anything I wanted to.
SH: So then from Rutgers, then you went back to Linden and worked at Eastern Aircraft.
DM: Well, I lived in New York until I got married, and then we lived in Linden, my husband and I.
SH: When you would go back to New York, were your parents working at this time?
DM: My mother was working. Oh here you are, I don't know your name, but she asked me if you there were girls, women in the course before me, but how many courses before me? You know, because you were down there at Rutgers.
Donald: I don't remember, at least three or four cycles. I don't know how many.
DM: I know there was one after me. I know of three, one before me, ... and the one after.
Donald: I gave so many of them, I can't remember.
DM: Well I just wondered. I know the three cycles, but I think there were more.
Donald: There were more.
DM: ...Because they needed the women, because all the men all went to war.
Donald: The name is Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors.
SH: One of the questions I had, was we think possibly the government paid for these courses?
Donald: I don't think so. Eastern Aircraft had to have people to do the work. That's the only way they could get them so ...
DM: But they were government sponsored.
Donald: Oh, every airplane they built was paid for by Uncle Sam.
SH: Were the women that were recruited for this program brought from other Eastern Aircraft facilities, or they were all right there in Linden?
Donald: As far as I know, because I didn't bring her there, I just became friends. The Eastern Aircraft Division hired these women. The Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors hired these women to do these jobs, [they] had to be done. I mean there were no men available to do them.
DM: So we had to fill in for all the engineers and whatever.
Donald: It was like Rosie the Riveter.
SH: Now tell me then about how it was to go. You finished the course work; do you know how many weeks?
DM: It was three months or four months.
Donald: Four months.
SH: You took an accelerated engineering type courses?
DM: Well you can ask him. ...
Donald: I just helped her with her homework.
DM: No, he didn't.
Donald: Not your homework.
DM: Others, not me.
Donald: They sit over there at ice cream store and do the homework.
DM: Well, you never helped me. I did it all myself.
Donald: Anyway, a very intensive course, but unlike regular courses, it went the whole day. It went from like seven-thirty in the morning until late at night, and then they had homework and so they really covered a great deal. They were happily classified as junior engineers because they didn't have everything, but they did engineering work.
DM: But we weren't engineers, but we were engineers for the job ... we didn't get a degree or a certificate or anything.
SH: Did they provide housing for you at Rutgers?
DM: No, that was another thing. Nash, the coordinator, you remember Nash? Well, I don't know if I should tell the episode. Well, have you heard of Hollow House, the haunted house? Well, he rented that house ... and he was making money out of it. Nash was a football coach at Rutgers, at one time ... a football player. ... Dutifully we lived there and paid him whatever he wanted to and I decided ...
SH: To see the house?
DM: No, we lived there ... and one day I went back to the house by myself. I was all alone in the house and ... I could hear doors being slammed and footsteps and all that and I decided, "Never again, I'm not going to stay here." So I went into what now is one of the German houses ... anyway it was owned by a private person but she wasn't home, only her maid was home and she had rented only to men until now and I saw this room, the maid said, "Yeah, there's a room," and I said, "Okay, I'll take it." I gave her the money for it, and the owner came back and had a fit. She didn't want any women there, but anyway, I stayed there and I took a roommate, she was Betty, ... I don't know, Betty was her name. Nash found out that I had left ... and that started a general exodus. Others left, and he was infuriated because he wouldn't get his money. Remember that? So, when he heard that Don and I were engaged, he took him aside and he said, "You don't want to marry her, she's not for you." Remember? I don't know what else he told you, but anyway, he was so infuriated because he was losing a pile of money there.
SH: Did they tell you the story of the (Hollow?) House?
DM: Oh, I knew about it, but it wasn't imagination. What I think it was ... It was a windy day and maybe some doors were open and they slammed and I thought I heard footsteps, but it probably was my imagination.
SH: You were tired from all these work. So when you went back then, when you finished the course, what did you do then?
DM: The next day I went to General Motors in Linden, I mean to Eastern Aircraft and started working. They gave an assignment in the engineering department.
SH: What was your assignment?
DM: I had to make the drawings for the electrical connections and so on for the Wildcat, the electrical wiring.
SH: This was a new aircraft that they were making?
DM: Oh, yeah it was a very successful aircraft, wasn't it? They used it against the Japanese. They say it's in the Smithsonian now.
SH: Were you involved at all in the testing?
DM: No, no testing. I used to put little letters in them, for the pilots who were out there, I remember that.
SH: What did you say?
DM: Oh, I just hoped that they had good luck and wished them much success and so on.
SH: Did you ever hear back from anyone?
DM: No. I don't think so. Did I? I don't remember, no, but I did put the little letters just to cheer them up.
SH: Where did you live before you were married?
DM: Well, I lived in New York, and I commuted ... I was lucky because there was an engineer, a man who had a car but he wouldn't get the extra gasoline without me, he had to get stickers and he wanted extra gasoline so he took as many of the people who came off the train and worked there and I was one of them. ... He always waited for me, transported me there to Eastern Aircraft and took me back again to the train. ... In New York, I had to take the subway and sometimes it was so cold in winter to take that subway and the snow was so deep and it was very early in the morning because we started at seven o'clock at five o'clock it would be dark and nobody in the street. It was safer then than it turned out to be later on.
SH: Where did you live in New York?
DM: On the West Side, West 86th Street.
SH: Your mom was working you said, what was she doing?
DM: She was working in a factory doing needlework. ...
Donald: Garment factory.
DM: And ... toys. No, she started with toys.
SH: Was your dad able to work?
DM: Well, yes he did, eventually. He didn't want to be tied down to a regular desk job, so he got a job with Western Union to deliver telegrams because he could walk around and he could think and he could go into Central Park. He wanted to have that freedom, so he did it for a while, but then he collapsed and he had to give it up. They never found out what he had, but I think ... probably his blood sugar was too low, because he always fainted from time to time and I think that's what happened.
SH: How often did you hear from your sister in England or did you not hear from her?
DM: Occasionally. She wrote to my parents mostly, so that's how I heard.
SH: Tell me about what you remember of meeting Mr. Molony.
DM: Well, I guess we met in what was it that bar, how did I get there? I don't drink any alcohol. Didn't we meet there? In the cafeteria? Yeah, of course, but then you took me to the bar and I don't drink. I don't drink anything, he did all the drinking.
SH: Do you remember which bar you went to?
DM: Yeah, I'm sure it was the CT.
SH: CT is the Court Tavern.
DM: Yeah it was the CT, of course it was. I remember that.
SH: Were you working at the Eastern Aircraft before you were engaged? What was it like for a woman in what had been a very male dominated area?
DM: Well, there were so many other women there in the same boat, I was. It really didn't matter.
SH: Were the supervisors not male then?
DM: Yes they were, absolutely. There wasn't a woman supervisor, no. Well, women usually didn't go into engineering anyway when they studied and they were graduate engineers. ...
SH: Were the male supervisors fair and just?
DM: Yeah, pretty fair. Who wasn't fair were those women with their whips who came after you ... then five minutes went to the toilet, you should stay there ten minutes and just rested a little, they really were after you.
SH: Women with whips?
DM: Whip, ... they looked like they could carry whips. They had uniforms on and I remember always being chased because I would sit, I was so tired. I was all day commuting getting up at five or four o'clock in the morning and I couldn't sit there for ten minutes, she wouldn't let me, ... "You're wasting time." I was told
SH: Did you have any close friends with the women that you worked with?
DM: Yeah. I worked with some friends of my husband [that] he had grown up with and I was friends with some of them for a long time, they were friends of my sister-in-law and we saw each other for a long time. Most of them are dead now, so....
SH: How long did you work at Eastern Aircraft?
DM: For quite a while, for the rest of the war. No, not quite, because I worked at (Smith, Hinchman and Grills?). I worked after the war. Yeah, I worked during the war, and they dissolved then General Motors came back, they started making cars, so this whole thing, after the war was ended, they disbanded it.
SH: Did you have any thought that you wanted to continue working in that realm at all?
SH: You willingly gave up your position?
SH: Where did you work next then?
DM: Well, I worked for (Smith, Hinchman and Grills?)
SH: What is that?
DM: Well, that was a strange thing too. They had the government contract for dissolving all the war assets and I had to receive all the visitors and that was down in Wall Street, Pine Street actually, and one of them was Onassis and his brother-in-law. They were buying ships at that time, right after the war. That's how they really got rich and I remember him coming in and sitting down and talking, but it was interesting because all sorts of people came, people from governments and different nations. It was very interesting.
SH: Your language skills must have been really amazing.
DM: No, I only spoke English. I couldn't speak Greek.
SH: I thought maybe you would be using your French or your Latin.
DM: No, just English. They all had to speak English. We were in America, they spoke English.
SH: Did you move to Highland Park immediately after that?
DM: Well, no. My husband was in the army until '46. We went out West in '46, New Year's '46, we went out West. He were stationed out in Oregon and I went out with him.
SH: You didn't travel with him before that to Ohio?
DM: Oh yes, I did. He told you about that, when I had shingles, did he tell you about my shingles? It was temporary. I got a job ...
SH: You went to Ohio then you went south, right, did you go south, too?
DM: No, I never went south. No. He worked on the Betatron at Ohio State U. I guess he told you that, and I worked on the electron microscope. They were just developing Prebus and Hillier. They got the Nobel Prize. I got a job with Prebus and I was the only one working for him. He made me do all the calculations, because I told him I've worked in engineering and of course I had no idea what I was doing, but he was very nice. He was really very patient, but they did get the Nobel Prize then, both of them, but anyway, so I got a job immediately because he had to pay for our apartment. It was a horrible room we had and I got shingles. I had shingles when I was out there. ... Terrible shingles, really terrible. ... I had a bad, bad case and it took a long time.
SH: How far were you from (Wittenberg?)?
DM: Not too far but, it was wartime, or after the war, I went back once again, more than once. ...
SH: Did you go back at all?
DM: Well, we did to visit occasionally because people were still there that I had known, ... Then my husband went out to Oregon, I guess, he told you, after the war he was stationed in Oregon.
SH: Washington State.
DM: No, Washington came after Oregon. [Talking to her husband.] No, Oregon was first, I went out with you. I was going to talk about this. We were looking for a place to live and so there were these cabins way, way, way out in the woods, really on the Rogue River and the Rogue River had just flooded when we got out there. We got one to the cabins and I took a shovel in the living room and shovel out the mud, it was that deep, but we got it cleaned, remember. We eventually got it cleaned and we had no heat, only the fireplace in the living room, but we had no wood, so I used to go out with an ax and I used to cut wood. Remember that with the dog, the collie because there were cougars there. That's why I took the dog along. We used to line the fireplace with wet wood ...
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SH: This is tape two of an interview with Dorrit Molony. Please continue, we were talking about the housing situation in Oregon.
DM: Well, anyway, so we didn't have enough hot water. We only had five gallons of water, so we took showers everyday but we had a system there, and we slept outside in winter, it was very cold, but Don had these canteens, these metal canteens, we filled them with hot water, we had two or three but always had blisters because you couldn't get used to get it against your skin. ... So that was our experience, ... Then Don went to San Francisco, and one of his friends, one of my friends too, had a miscarriage. ... I delivered the miscarriage, out on the Rogue River, there's nobody else around. I was the only one. She had a little boy, six months old and she had this miscarriage. I delivered the miscarriage. I put it in a bottle and threw it in the Rogue River. I wouldn't say anymore about it, but then they went down to San Francisco ... she had to go to the hospital and they went to a parade in San Francisco, so I was left alone out there in the wilderness in a cabin that didn't lock and with wild animals around and this little baby. They left me with an axe, a knife, a hunting knife, and an empty revolver because I didn't believe in guns, but still, and here I was listening to the little six months old baby sleeping and here I was thinking that maybe somebody is coming in, and I remember looking up to the stars and I said, "Please, please, I want to see the stars again." I got to protect this little baby. I couldn't sleep at all, the first night. The second night, I slept for about an hour. Third night I slept all night. I didn't worry anymore, but that was quite an experience. ... Ginger Rogers had a farm out there but she wasn't there in winter, nobody was there. That wasn't too far away. How far away was she? Two miles or so, but she wasn't out there and then somebody else was out there either.
SH: How long did you have to stay in Oregon?
DM: How long? We stayed maybe five months... no, more than that I think. Oh yeah, I didn't get a job there. I got a job in Washington. That was something too. I decided I had to go and work to make some money so I went and I got a position as secretary to the Commanding General.
SH: You got a job?
DM: Yeah, well, I got it. Everybody wanted it, all the women there. I only type with one finger, I couldn't take shorthand. They were wonderful secretaries, but I got the job, and oh, they were so envious of me. Oh, and then the war was over and all these lieutenants and captains and generals all came back from Europe and from Asia, Fort Lewis was a big fort and ... some of them wanted to stay in the army but they were demoted to ranks, to sergeants and so on and they came all day long. They would cry on my shoulders, crying all men in uniforms, captains ... and colonels and so on, crying. I'll never forget that. I couldn't do anything, but they thought I had some influence, but I didn't of course.
SH: We were talking about how big the situation that you faced when you got up to Washington?
DM: Washington, okay. That was nothing. Absolutely, nothing, nothing, nothing and I said to Don, I said, "We are going to get a place to stay," ... We walked up and down all the streets and I saw this ... colonel coming down, or whatever he was. Anyway, major yeah, that's what he was, and I stopped him and I said, "We're looking for a place to live," and he says, "Well, I have a house I bought, a little one, but it isn't fixed up yet, so if you don't mind, not being fixed up, you can live in it, you can rent it." So we rented it and I never forget that our closet was in the shower, shower room. If somebody turned on the shower, we had wet clothes. Remember that? Really it was terrible, and we had an earthquake out there. That I remember too. A really quite heavy earthquake and I was baking a ham ... I got up early Sunday morning, and Don was still in bed and I got up to bake it. ... I used to go to the PX and get the most wonderful food for nothing practically and I had a big ham in the oven and suddenly, the oven door flipped open, the ham flipped out, all the dishes came down. Not only that, out in the living room I hear this horrible thump, Don had fallen out of bed. It woke him up very quickly, very quickly he was awake, but he always slept all morning if he could and I don't. So that was our earthquake. It did, it really smashed dishes and everything else, and we were there for how long? Then Don was discharged but I was still working... I had to work and he was discharged. We had a lieutenant's wife with a little boy called Oraly next door. ... See how I remember so many years, and he had nice conversations with her. She was a young woman. I was wondering what else, you were young, but I had to work. Then we decided we were going to take a real big trip back home, so we went up to Vancouver first and then we went through the Frasier River Valley, which was in Canada...
SH: You went driving?
DM: No, we went by bus and train. ... The bus went once a day because it was a very narrow road. Now it's a major highway, but it was a very narrow dirt road at that time and I was so enthusiastic. We went all night through. Every time there was a waterfall, or something to see, the driver would stop the bus so I could see it. Remember that, and we went to Banff. We first went to Kamloops. We didn't like it, and we got on the same bus and went on to Banff and stayed in a pension in a little place, bed and breakfast. The deer were ... walking all over the town and ... there we rented bicycles, didn't we? We were going to see bears and so we ... went out to the dump the garbage dump and Don went right ahead of me. We saw bears ... suddenly there were grizzlies and ... was by myself on that bicycle. Nobody ... took bicycles. They all came out in their cars to see the bears. Yeah, I was on that bicycle standing there. There was a hill, going up a hill, I just couldn't make it so fast and here I was with all these bears looking at me. That was an experience. ... We walked every place, all up the mountains and every place. It was really nice. Then we went down through Montana and down to Colorado, because I had a very good friend and she always had invited me, they had a house there in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, which is outside Colorado Springs. ... She had asked me to come and stay with them. ... We went there and we weren't welcome, remember? ... They had their grandmother stay there and the whole family, it was very crowded. ... We didn't stay long. We stayed a day or so, and then we left and then we went home by bus back to New Jersey. Then Don started back to Rutgers, and I ... to get a job and then I went to register for graduate work, but ...
SH: Your job was with the library?
DM: Rutgers library. I worked with the library.
SH: Was it Alexander Library at that time?
Donald: I think it's the same building.
DM: No. It wasn't. That was a new building.
Donald: They added some to it.
DM: No. It was in a completely different place. It was very small and it was in an old building. The library was in an old building.
Donald: The Zimmerli
DM: Yeah, that's what it was. You're right. ... But it was very small. Miss Benedict was the charge ... See how I remember names? I'm surprised at my age, eighty-years-old, so anyway, Don doesn't remember as many names. ... I went to work and he went to school and he went back to get another degree at Rutgers.
SH: When you were working at the library, where were you living?
DM: We were living in Linden with, no, no, we had rented, you know Lincoln Avenue, in Highland Park? Eleven Lincoln Avenue, there's an apartment house. We had rented a room in that building. Did he tell you about it?
SH: I think there was a place that you were in before that, after you left your in-laws, didn't you live in another...
DM: Did you tell him about the closets? You remember the closets? Want me to tell you about the closets? Well, they had this closet but they had their telephone in it so anytime the telephone rang. ... They had to shove my clothes inside and talk on the telephone. That I remember.
SH: Now this was in Highland Park?
DM: That was in Highland Park. That was before, he's right, when we were first ... married.
SH: You were working at the library then.
DM: Before we were married? No, no. I was at Eastern Aircraft.
SH: No, no, I meant when you came back.
DM: Oh yes, I was working at the library, yes. The telephone, it was terrible I couldn't stand it. Then eventually, we rented an apartment, an upstairs apartment.
SH: When did you start having your family?
DM: Well, at first I got my Masters degree at Rutgers. I wanted to get that.
SH: Please tell me about coming for your school at Rutgers.
DM: Well I decided to go, it took me a year, you know and there were only about four or five people going for Masters, I was one of them.
SH: What was your Masters in?
DM: Political science. Well, history and political science, they combined it at that time.
SH: Do you remember who your adviser was?
DM: Yeah, he lived in Lincoln Avenue, he was very nice. I liked him, Ellis.
SH: What did you focus on and what did you find going back to school as a married woman different as opposed to when you had gone as a young woman?
DM: Well, I wanted to finish my degree, really. I like to study. I like to read and learn and it stimulates my intelligence, if I have any.
SH: What did you write on?
DM: I wrote about the diplomatic relations about the Panama Canal.
SH: Really. What had peaked your interest about the Panama Canal?
DM: No, everybody was talking about the Panama Canal at that time and it was very interesting, really ... the whole thing ...
SH: As the war was winding down, and you were seeing the pictures of the surrender and the Nuremberg Trials, what were your thoughts?
DM: Well, I followed it. I was interested in it. Well, one thing I want to say, I don't believe in the death penalty, but I think that some of these people really shouldn't have been around any longer. ... The war cost sixty million dead people. Sixty million people were killed and somebody had to be responsible for it.
SH: As you said how political as a young woman you had been even in Austria and how political the youth were, when did you first know that there were such things as labor camps and death camps...
DM: Well, ... I knew about Dachau concentration camp, but there weren't any other concentration camps when I was. ... The death camps started with the war, after they the Wannsee conference. You probably have been out there outside Berlin, have you? It's quite shocking to go out there and see the exhibit after that they really, seriously instituted the death camps...
SH: What did you think was going on at Dachau?
DM: Oh, I knew it was terrible.
SH: There were people being sent there to work?
DM: Well, no, they were beating people and they were killing them by not feeding them and working them to death, really. People did die there.
SH: When you came back and you got your Masters, how many women were involved in the program, this is in the late '40s, right?
DM: Forty-seven. Well, I was the only woman in my department, that's all I know. I don't think that. There might have been some in education or something like that, but I have to, I still have the program, ... see who graduated with me, but I don't think there were many. There might have been, some in other departments, but, I'm not aware of it. I should really look at it.
SH: Did you think to go on to get your Ph.D.?
DM: Yeah, I wanted to have children first, and then of course, I was swamped. Two-and-a-half years, four children, we had twins, you probably gathered that.
SH: Then you continued with your education, though, after the children?
DM: Well, once they were in school, then I went back. I was teaching at Rutgers too. I was teaching at the Rutgers Prep too.
SH: Tell me about those experiences.
DM: Rutgers Prep at that time, wasn't the Rutgers Prep it is now, and it was a smaller school ... they were scratching for pupils and they took the really bad apples. We had the one whose father was a mafia person, they finally caught from Metuchen. I don't know, his son ... in my class has suffered because I made a remark. ... I shouldn't have. I should have been careful. It was pretty hairy, but, what was his name again, the one who was the Headmaster at Prep; it'll come to me. Heimbein. Did you know Heimbein?
SH: So you taught for a year under Heimbein? What were you teaching?
DM: I was teaching, you won't believe it. I was teaching German and Spanish and math, eighth grade math, oh, science, I was teaching science. I had to prepare it myself. ... but I had to prepare it better and Don helped me some too, so it was quite a lot of preparation, but that's what I was teaching, but anyway,
SH: Then what did you do?
DM: I only was there for a year. I went back to Rutgers. One of the reasons why I taught there, we had gone to Europe, did he tell you about a trip to Europe, our four months trip to Europe. We had gone the previous summer for four months to Europe, taking all the children. I have so many experiences with Europe but I won't tell you them, but really I wrote them all down. It's very interesting because we only had a thousand dollars and four months and four children, and we went all over Europe. We covered all the 10,000 miles in 1958. Really it was. I can tell you, we had so many adventures, really. Like he driving over a bridge in Norway that was really crumbling and not knowing whether he was going to reach the end, with four children in the car, whether he's going to reach the other side ... at that time, it was a dirt road, going up in Norway. ... We had left Oslo with a stale crust of bread and we couldn't buy anything so Don took out the mallet from the ... we had all the camping equipment, except the tent with us and he started hacking it into pieces and that's what we fed our children so they wouldn't starve to death. Then we went to Trondheim that's the last thing I'll tell you, Trondheim I went to the market in Trondheim and I said, I'm going to buy fish, the equivalent of one American dollar and I went out to the market, the fish market and I got seven kilos of fish, and then I never believe in throwing anything out, so we went out of town, and out of Trondheim and we saw this nice big bear tracks there by the river and it was a beautiful, very wild running river and we stopped there. It was a nice little place for us to stay and he took out his one burner stove and we started cooking that fish, and I made the kids eat that fish. They couldn't eat anymore, but I made them eat, because I didn't believe in throwing anything out, and guess what? They all got sick. Then we had the car full of dirt and we had to clean that up, but my son, to this day, doesn't eat fish anymore, but the children wouldn't eat fish all summer. ...
SH: How old were they then?
DM: Well, the twins were just six, April was their birthday, that was May and Barbara was still seven and Kathy was still eight, so that's it. ... That summer it really was something, that summer.
SH: Before we end the interview, I'd like you to tell me about the Ph.D. you were working on in German?
DM: Well, I was first working in political science, then, they fought over me because there was this guy, Meehan ... Burkes, I don't know if, have you heard of Burkes, he was the department chair at that time, a very good friend of Henry Winkler and had gone to the University of Cincinnati with him and got his PhD in Johns Hopkins but he couldn't stand Meehan and Meehan was my adviser, so he was going to get back at Meehan through me. ... The secretary told me that the night before, I took the test, I answered every question, incidentally, she said they had made up their minds that they were not going to pass me because of Meehan. They, Burkes and others, wanted to show that he was incompetent, that they had to get rid of him, so that was that, and then I switched to German and I could have gotten a degree there without even having finished it because they had this three year tract, I don't know if they still have that, where they gave, a Ph.D...
DM: No. It was like a Ph.D. only without ... I don't know, anyway, but they didn't tell me about it because I did it within three years, I took all my courses and everything and so I missed that and then every time I came with a dissertation topic, there was a Mrs. (Randich?), she's not there anymore. Well, she was afraid I was going to get her job so she really agitated against me ... it was all politics.
SH: You got caught in the middle.
DM: I got caught in the middle and I finally gave up. As I said, this was nonsense.
SH: When I came here today, your husband told me that you've been busy working on compiling your father's works.
DM: Yes, I've been doing that. Well, he wrote a book, an autobiography, and I updated it, and edited and ...
SH: What was the book on?
DM: Well, he had written a book right after World War I about his life history and that became a smashing best seller. It really did. It sold 100,000 copies which was unheard of when they had this paper shortage and all that, and then he continued from there until he almost died. He stopped in 1956. It included a chapter on Hitler's takeover of Austria and I edited that and I revised and edited several other things and some of the books, some books were published in Europe and some ... came out since I took over. ...
SH: Have you written anything about like the money that had gone in so many different ways?
DM: Yeah, but I talked about the stolen money.
SH: Are you going to write?
DM: I might, I haven't gotten there, but I will. Yeah. My father had written the operetta Sissy which was really one of the biggest successes in operatic history and is still being played in Europe and somebody came out this year with a book, which is why I thought I should do something about it, saying that his father wrote Sissy and they wrote a long big article in one of the major newspapers about saying that he wrote it and I said, I got to set the record straight. I've all the documents. I have the original correspondences between my father and this other man, way before it ever was played, so I thought I should do something because it is still a success in Europe.
SH: How did World War II shape the woman that talks to me today?
DM: You were referring to me. Of course it shaped me. I mean I wouldn't, I probably wouldn't have lived in United States. I would not have had the same husband, the same children, maybe no children. Of course it did. I mean, it changed, too the course of my life.
SH: Did it give you a focus?
DM: Well, I must say one thing. I felt very insecure when I was in Europe and I didn't find security until I came to the United States. After I was in the United States, extremely important, extremely important, I can't describe it but what really what feeling that is and that is one of the major things that affected me, but it's the culture and everything else, because it's different here. I find people much more open minded, much more receptive to new ideas and kinder too, much kinder, more charitable than they in Europe and I would say all over Europe. It doesn't exclude anybody.
SH: Well, I thank you very much for taking time for the interview.
DM: I hope I didn't say anything ...
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Revised by Kathleen Ruck 01/17/02
Revised by Jonathan Gurstelle 02/09/02
Reviewed by Dorrit Molony