As the Rocket City nears the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, much attention is given to the scientists and engineers who worked the problem that eventually led America to the moon. But it’s appropriate to also consider the families that immigrated to the United States following WWII. Post-WWII German POW rocket scientists were transferred to Ft Bliss, TX starting in 1945. Families began to follow a year later.
What was it like for the children who moved from wartime Germany to Texas and finally Alabama? This week, we release four episodes that work to capture those experiences (1946-50) as told by four people who lived it.
Operation Paperclip: Family Life at Fort Bliss
German engineer Willie Mrazek surrendered to U.S. troops at the end of WWII and disappeared. His daughter Ursula Vann describes the uncertainty growing up under Army camp conditions and a foreign culture in part 1 of this 4-part panel discussion with offspring of von Braun’s team.
Coming to America through a Boy’s Eyes
Volker Roth was only 4 years old when his family arrived in America. He shares memories of air raids, train rides, dust storms and learning to interact with Americans post-war.
Immigration as Great Adventure
As German scientists and their families were moved to the US, there was both secrecy and risk. But for young boys, it was a great adventure. Klaus Rosinski reminisces with Uwe Heuete and shares humorous stories from their youth.
The Post-War Lives of Paperclip Families
Operation Paperclip brought German scientists and their families to America in the chaos following WWII. Uwe Hueter provides firsthand experiences about life when his father Hans’ followed Wernher Von Braun to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.
Related Show Links
VIDEO: Wernher K. Rosinski and Dr. Rudolf Hermann Interview by Dr. Donald Tarter Video, from the M. Louis Salmon Library’s Archives and Special Collections at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).
VIDEO: Axel Roth Interview by Dr. Charles Lundquist on Feb. 1, 2007, from the UAH Library.
VIDEO: Uwe Hueter Interview by by Robert McBayer (date unknown), from the UAH Library.
VIDEO: Ursula Vann Interview by Dr. Charles Lundquist on March 8, 2007, from the UAH Library.
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Talk to Us
Huntsville has hosted a variety of lectures from those who are associated with that history. These episodes were derived from a live panel held at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library on January 17, 2019. The panel was hosted by the German-American Heritage Committees. The podcast episodes were produced by our host and long-time anchor Steve Johnson with production by Daniel Godwin. Music provided by Megatrax.
About Apollo 11 Legacies
Apollo 11 Legacies celebrates the space mission that took us to the moon. Most episodes are based on panel discussions in Huntsville, Alabama, featuring those who were directly involved or have a personal connection to the Apollo mission. The podcast captures their personal stories shared with a live audience. It also features professionals from NASA, industry, government and academia talking about their work in space, engineering and related fields. The podcast series Apollo 11 Legacies is produced in partnership with Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation and in cooperation with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.