I was there.
Wellesina McCrary* was born in 1933 to a Romani family that led a nomadic lifestyle in Germany.
When the war broke out, Wellesina was six years old and her family was living in Poland. Together with her mother, relatives and siblings, Wellesina was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and later on to Buchenwald.
After the liberation of the camp, Wellesina went to Berlin where she met her father who had come back from the Gulag camps in Siberia. Some years later Wellesina emigrated to the United States.
*Wellesina's maiden name was Bubla Geisler von Adelsburg.
Wellesina McCrary (1933), Germany/Poland
Wellesina talks about her childhood and family.
1) Listen to Wellesina as she talks about her family. Then answer the questions.
1a. Listen carefully to the interview. Wellesina McCrary sometimes uses German words in her English speech. What are the reasons for that?
1b. Whose situation today does she compare her childhood situation to? In what terms?
Deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau
Wellesina talks about the deportation of her family to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
2) Listen to Wellesina as she talks about the deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Then answer the questions.
2a. What did the family know about where they were being deported to?
2b. Wellesina McCrary was a child when this was happening to her family. List three expressions or words which show you that she recalls childhood as opposed to adult memories.
In the Camp
Wellesina talks about her time in the camp.
3) Listen to Wellesina as she talks about her time in the camp. Then answer the questions.
3a. Watch her closely during the interview. What kind of facial expressions, gestures or intonations can you notice? List at least five of them.
3b. Do these match the content of her life story? Explain your answer.
Liberation and Postwar Experience
Wellesina talks about the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp and her experience after the war.
After the liquidation of the "Gypsy camp" in Auschwitz-Birkenau in the summer of 1944, all the remaining men were moved to Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. Women were moved to Buchenwald’s subcamps.
4) Listen to Wellesina as she talks about the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp and her experience after the war. Then answer the questions.
4a. Pick three expressions or words from the clip which touched you the most. Explain your choices.
4b.What do you think of Wellesina McCrary’s message to us at the end of the clip?