Marian University hosted Anneliese Krauter on October 14 to speak to a group of forty First-Year Seminar (FYS) and German students and faculty in the Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences. Mrs. Krauter spoke about the change in how she (a young girl of seven) was treated by her classmates and teacher, how her family was the target of insults by the neighbors after and during the war, and the family’s time in the internment camp.
Prior to Anneliese Krauter’s lecture, the First-Year Seminar students had read an excerpt from her memoire, From the Heart’s Closet and watched the documentary Children of Internment, a documentary by Indianapolis resident Joe Crump and his sister, Kristina Wagner. The documentary highlights the stories of Germans and German-Americans who—like Anneliese Krauter—were interned in American camps and held without charge during World War II.
“What makes Mrs. Krauter’s story even more unusual is that her family was chosen to be ‘repatriated’ back to Germany in February 1944, during the height of the air raids. So, she experienced not only ostracism and internment in America, but also the bombing raids in Germany,” said Wendy Westphal, Ph.D., assistant professor of German, chair of the Department of Languages and Cultures, and the director of Study Abroad at Marian University.
Dr. Wendy Westphal organized the lecture as part of her FYS course on collective memory (“Remember when? Memory, Monuments and Museums”). Students in the course on memory have been learning about the selection process in both individual and collective memories—that the keeping of and the discarding of memories are both integral parts of the memory process.
Dr. Westphal explains, “Some collective memories are given prominence, others are discarded. I invited Mrs. Krauter to speak because, while many know that there were internment camps for Japanese in America, Mrs. Krauter’s story, as a German-American child interned in the Crystal City internment camp in Texas during World War II, is one of the stories that has not been given much public attention.”
The last class trip for Dr. Westphal’s First Year Seminar will be the end of October to the Indiana War Memorial in downtown Indianapolis, to learn about the reasons for the creation of the War Memorial and learn about the way Indianapolis honors its fallen soldiers.