David P. Boder Interviews [first name unknown] Rudo; July 30, 1946; Paris, France

  • David Boder: [In English] This is a record taken from . . . an apparently Spanish refugee, who was taking classes at the school of ORT, in Paris. She is being trained . . . in a profession or in a . . . trade and a . . . further thing she will clear up during this conversation.
  • David Boder: [In Spanish] It is July 30th, 1946. Recording taken by Professor Boder, Illinois Institute of Technology.
  • David Boder: Good morning Ms. Rudo. Where were you born?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Castelló d'Empúries.
  • David Boder: Could you please speak louder and clearer?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Castellón de Asturias.
  • David Boder: OK. And where is that? Is it far from Madrid?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes.
  • David Boder: Really?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: It is near the French border.
  • David Boder: Oh! Near the French border.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes. Quite near.
  • David Boder: How old are you now?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: 37.
  • David Boder: 37. And why are you in France?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Because of the War in Spain.
  • David Boder: And what was your participation in the Spanish War that made you come here?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Well, we were evacuated because Franco was on the other side . . . er . . . we had to be evacuated because of the bombs and all those problems.
  • David Boder: Oh!
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I was in favor of the Republic, you see?
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And that is why I came here.
  • David Boder: Why don't you return to Spain?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I have no family there, and it is better to wait, you know.
  • David Boder: Right. What happened [unintelligible]?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I have no one.
  • David Boder: You have no one.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I have no one, and it is better for me to wait because . . .
  • David Boder: Yes. What happened to your family?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: It has been a long time . . . they are not alive.
  • David Boder: So they did not die as a consequence of the war . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: No, they did not.
  • David Boder: So you were also alone when you were there.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes. I was alone during the whole war.
  • David Boder: OK. And what do you do in France?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Well, now I am here at the [unintelligible] Center . . . I suffered a lot from rheumatism, I am still suffering . . . but I am much better.
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And I keep telling to myself . . . if I can stay here . . . I will stay and see if I get better.
  • David Boder: I see. And what trade are you learning here?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Sewing.
  • David Boder: Sewing. So you want to learn how to sew.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes. I know how to sew, but I do not have a sewing machine, and I need to practice . . . so that I can work later . . . for other people.
  • David Boder: Right. And how long do you think it will take you to learn?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I don't know. I think it takes two months . . .
  • David Boder: OK. Now, tell me something about the war, The Spanish Civil War . . . In the Northern area, were there many . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I have never been to the North, I have always been . . . I am from Catalonia.
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I have always been in Barcelona.
  • David Boder: All right, then. Were there many acts of war in Barcelona?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes! Lots of dead people [unintelligible].
  • David Boder: And were did you go from Barcelona?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Oh! When the war started, I was in Sant Cugat del Vallès, a town near Barcelona.
  • David Boder: OK
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Of course, I did not see many things.
  • David Boder: You didn't . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Well, I heard lots of stories, and when everything was calmer . . . well, I went to . . . to Barcelona, to the family I used to live with. I was their cook, you know?
  • David Boder: Oh! So you were working as a cook with a family.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes.
  • David Boder: And where did that family go?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: They took off some time later . . . they took off, they were scared and they took off.
  • David Boder: Where did . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: They went to Barcelona, and when they were in Barcelona, they told us . . . "we are leaving" . . . I was a cook, and they had another girl, and they said they were moving . . .
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: The said they did not have any money . . . and . . .
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: . . . she said her husband was not working . . . er . . .
  • David Boder: Are there many foreign people in . . . ?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: The [unintelligible] Center?
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Oh. Today . . . I think there are around forty here, from Paris. They are sick, you know.
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Er . . . They have been deported . . .
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And of course, they cannot do the work they were doing before . . . because of all the things they have been through . . . many of them are learning a new job . . . and they can do it more easily.
  • David Boder: Are you planning to stay here in France . . . for how long?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I'm not sure. May be I will stay, because I am alone, you see?
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And I have been abroad for a long time and I have nothing.
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: If I find a good job, I will stay here. Why would I leave?
  • David Boder: Do you have better chances of finding a job here than in Spain?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Pardon me.
  • David Boder: Do you have better chances of finding a job here than in Spain?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes, of course.
  • David Boder: Better . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes. Much better.
  • David Boder: Right. But in the meantime, you are with an organization that supports you, right?
  • David Boder: Oh. Yes. Er . . . [The name of the Center is unintelligible].
  • David Boder: What is that?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: [Unintelligible] is a center for deported people. There used to be also foreign people, but there are only [unintelligible] now.
  • David Boder: [Unintelligible]
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And since many of them now have their families here, why would they stay at the center? They have gone to their own houses. Only homeless people stay there, until they find . . . er . . . a job.
  • David Boder: And where and how did you live through the war here in France?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: [Laughing] Just like the others!
  • David Boder: And where were you when the Germans came here?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I was in Corbie . . . In Corbie, and then I left with a girl friend to Amiens.
  • David Boder: Amiens . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Right. Amiens . . .
  • David Boder: So you left.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes. In Corbie there were barrack huts with Spanish refugees. It was a [unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I wanted to start working in a house. I was tired of being a refugee, I wanted to work . . . Ithought to myself "This is not living". I started working in a house, and I worked there for about a month. I was really scared of the arrival of Germans . . . so I said: "Oh! What am I going to do here?" And I knew there was a Spanish girl in Amiens.
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: So I kept telling myself: "Oh . . . I want to go with my friend." And then I would think "No. You must stay here." But then again . . . "I want to go with my friend . . . " So I finally stayed with my friend, and I was lucky because I immediately found a . . . factory . . . a job at a [unintelligible] factory, three days.
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Three days passed . . . and the soldiers arrived, and [unintelligible]. So I said "Oh . . . I am not lucky." Once I find a job and I was happy . . . And now I have nothing. No money, no food, no idea where to go . . . So my friend said: "Where shall we go?" And we tried to escape two or three times, with . . . er . . . the Germans nearby . . . er . . . Amiens, and the French in Cagny, and us in Bougainville . . . "Oh! What shall we do?" We could hear the bombs, the machine guns . . . and we wanted to run away. Er . . . we tried to escape but we could only see fire. So when everything was calmer, we left.
  • David Boder: Right. And where did you go?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: We left with a cart.
  • David Boder: A cart with [unintelligible].
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: No. Not those. A baby cart, more like a pram. And well . . . we got lost down a path, and it was getting darker, and it was raining and all that.
  • David Boder: You lost your friend?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: The two of us got lost.
  • David Boder: And what happened?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: We did not realize and we ended up on a low hill. I really don’t know where they were coming from, but we could hear gun shots. So we hid in the woods and we could see nothing. I kept saying "Shut up. Don’t say a word. Don’t say a word." And my friend was crying. And she kept saying: "Oh! They are going to kill us!", and I would reply: "No. We have not died yet."
  • David Boder: [Laughing] What a story!
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And . . . then we came back to our house. Well, it was not our house. It was my friend’s employers’ house.
  • David Boder: And where were her employers?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: They had escaped. They had a bike and they rushed away.
  • David Boder: And they left the house open?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: They left us . . . and they said they would come back.
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: But we were sure they would not return. We thought: "They will not be able to return". You cannot imagine what it was like . . . "What shall we do?" The following morning, we had no salt for the potatoes, and no food to cook . . . so I said "I will see if I can find someone, if I learn of a way, because we need to get out of here. This is impossible!" And I went to [unintelligible], yes, to [unintelligible] or Cagny . . . Yes I was in Cagny. And I saw an old family. They could barely walk. And another family with kids. So I said: "What are you doing? You have to leave." And they said: "what shall we do with the kids?", and an old woman said: "Oh, yes! But my legs . . . I cannot walk anymore. I would die on my way" . . . it is better than . . . sometimes . . . [unintelligible]. Then a soldier came to us and said: "You have to leave, if not . . . "
  • David Boder: Was it a French soldier?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes. And they approached both of us . . . Oh, they were all there . . . Oh, yes . . . What a large troop! And he said: "you both have to leave tonight . . . er . . . we are here and we will start shooting" . . . And he added "otherwise, you will have a bad time." And when I heard him, I was happy and I said: "Much better. They will be closing the road . . . Why don’t we run away?" And the old women were crying: "where shall we go? where shall we go?" And I told my friend: "this is better, because we are leaving, right? And we will save our lives, because we don’t know what can happen. We are foreigners."
  • David Boder: Oh . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: So we left towards [unintelligible], to [unintelligible], and on our way we saw a French family . . . the mother was very old . . . and she says: "If you help me carry the [unintelligible]," [she was carrying too much stuff] . . .
  • David Boder: Oh . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: . . . "you can put your bags."
  • David Boder: What did they have?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: They were carrying a woman . . . their old mother.
  • David Boder: Yes. But, what did they have? Did they have a cart?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes. A big cart.
  • David Boder: Like a push-cart . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes, a push-cart.
  • David Boder: All right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And they were carrying many things, because it was a family of four or five, you see . . .
  • David Boder: All right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And I had some tobacco . . . and I found some soldiers down the road . . . French. And we said: "If you take us far away . . . well . . . er . . . you . . . the tobacco is for you." And they took us far away, and they were happy . . . And we jumped in. Oh, we were so happy! What a story, uh [laughing].
  • David Boder: Indeed! So where did they take you?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Well, we went really far away with that family. And then a bus came, and they said . . . er . . . only foreigners . . . may leave, you may leave right away. As you wish . . . And people stayed because . . . they were working . . . he was . . . in the train, he was the engine driver: "I will stay here because I will work. I need the money." And we said: "No. We are going away, because we . . . we are not interested in staying here . . . they will be throwing bombs too," and they took us to [unintelligible]. And two months later, we wanted to come to Amiens. People said "what are you going to do in Amiens". They knew everything had been destroyed. But we said: "Oh, we have our luggage."
  • David Boder: Right. So, then. Where did you stay during the German occupation?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Amiens.
  • David Boder: Amiens?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Amiens. We stopped . . .
  • David Boder: And did you work in Amiens?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes . . . I would do the laundry for a person, or sew . . . because I could not find a job. People here were already saying: "Red! Not red!", you know? And we were illegal, because we . . .
  • David Boder: Why did they call you red? Because . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Oh! They would call us "reds" because they would associate . . .
  • David Boder: Because you were from Spain.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Exactly.
  • David Boder: Oh! So . . . Were there any Germans there?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes. Amiens was completely destroyed. And, of course, there were Germans.
  • David Boder: OK. And what did Spanish refugees do during the war?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: They went to Péronne. When I was in . . . er . . . what was the name . . . er . . . Corbie, they were sent to Péronne, all those that were not working.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And I don’t know. They got lost down the road, and when the Germans came . . . many were killed.So it was said. I did not see anything . . . And I say . . . I am with this girl friend . . . both of us . . . we worked, we helped each other.
  • David Boder: Right. How?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: This girl’s husband was also took as a prisoner . . . must be our French soldiers [unintelligible] . . . he was caught . . . er . . . [unintelligible] the border.
  • David Boder: When did you return to Paris?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: To Paris . . . when we were returning from Germany.
  • David Boder: Oh! So you were in Germany!
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes.
  • David Boder: Why?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Because I was taken there.
  • David Boder: By who?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: The Germans.
  • David Boder: Oh! Tell me . . . why did the Germans take you to Germany?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Because they said I was a "red".
  • David Boder: Right. So . . . er . . . wait a second. Why did they take you to Germany?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I have no idea why they took me to Germany . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Well . . . they said I was a "red" and I would say: "why? I am in France . . . I have nowhere to go." "Hush!", they said "go get your . . . or we will take you."
  • David Boder: Yes. When did they capture you?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I was usually very careful. I had my hair done, one afternoon, and when I was coming back . . . you see?
  • David Boder: Pardon me.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I was coming back from the hairdresser’s.
  • David Boder: Yes. I see.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I had my hair curled.
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And it was late. I got lost, I could not find the street . . . because Amiens was really destroyed.
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: I got lost, because it was late, and dark . . . I did not want to return so late.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And the girl . . . Oh, God! She must have been learning, she would never finish . . . until she finally did . . . it was half past ten.
  • David Boder: So, you were taken to Germany . . . And what did they make you do there? Did you work?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Yes. We had to work.
  • David Boder: Where did you work?
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: Well . . . At first . . . with the machines . . . but it was really hard for me.
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And then, when they saw I couldn't . . . that I kept doing everything wrong . . .
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And I thought: "This people will kill me!" And I . . . I am . . . I mean . . . I sometimes lost my temper. And I say: "OK. I will see a doctor." And I was scared of the doctor . . . but I wanted him to see I was not well, because I had spoilt everything. They wanted to take me, well . . . er . . .
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: To those camps . . . very disciplined . . .
  • David Boder: Right.
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: And I was taken to a . . . a camp . . . a job . . . it was in the open air. I had to exercise, of course, but it was not as tiring as the others.
  • David Boder: Well. I think we will have to finish some other day, because I want to know what they did to you. And the man is waiting for me to leave . . .
  • [first name unknown] Rudo: OK. Fine.
  • David Boder: Thank you very much, madam.
  • Contributors to this text:
  • Transcription : Roberta Hopson
  • Reviewer (transcription) : Andrea Castro
  • English Translation : David P. Boder