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Oral history interview of Rosemaire Apsel. Interview conducted by Nicole Attanasio at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL.


0:20 Childhood in eastern Germany & Summer house in Baltic; 0:49 1945 left home before Soviet invasion, describes conditions; 1:39 Father drafted late in war, mother sees refugees from east; 3:05 Jan 21, 1945 German marines tell family to evacuate; 3:30 Describes leaving, waiting on beach, "chaos"; 5:09 Taken by raft to ship on Baltic Sea; 5:44 Family briefly split, reunited on ship; 5:55 Transfer from first ship to German minesweeper, bad conditions; 7:50 Landed in Danzig, stayed in abandoned train station, bombings; 9:10 Family rides train evacuating wounded soldiers west - 14 days; 11:46 Stayed in vacant school; 12:10 Witnessed two planes fighting; 12:30 Widow in town mode to share extra room with family; 13:15 Around Easter; 13:35 Reunited with father – he had been taken prisoner, leg & arm wound, escaped hospital, found family; 15:50 Rumors of Russians getting close, family leaves town; 16:52 Rumors of "what the Russians did to the German women and girls"; 17:28 Find horses & wagon, travel, some nights in barns, begged for food in villages; 19:32 British at River Elbe don't let them cross, stayed in barn; 20:13 Father heard mayor leaving village, family leaves, crossed bridge with guards; 21:50 Children saw experience as a vacation, grim for adults; 22:31 August – horse(s) get pneumonia, mayor makes farmer let family stay, stay several months, help work; 23:54 Pastor gives family land, clear lot, build house, 7 years in British zone; 25:59 Father gave typing, shorthand, and English lessons; 27:10 1951 or 1952 Rosemarie leaves family for job in city library, family later joins her (Bocholt); 28:48 Met future husband Guenter Apsel in church choir, lost contact; 29:10 Rosemarie married American 1st husband, moved to United States, put husband through medical school, 2 daughters; 29:55 1991 (?) divorced husband, found Guenter in Germany 40 years later; 30:50 Family in Germany, U.S., and Canada; 31:28 Difficulties for Guenter moving to U.S., late in life; 32:33 Time in Bocholt (see 27:10), Kaiserslautern, air force job on Ramstein air base – met 1st husband; 33:48 Refugees stayed with family for a night (1:00-4:00); 34:52 Wartime memories, mother fined for not darkening windows, father listened to radio, took out Hitler's picture when company come; 36:00 Bombing, hid in shelter; 38:38 Mother never got over leaving home, family reactions; 41:03 Memories from childhood: lighthouse, beach; 41:06 Should Germans get homes/land back? 43:19 Entire family survived.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth






Home State


War or Conflict

World War ll



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage

Highest Rank


Prisoner of War







See video for details.


Rosemarie Apsel is the wife of Guenter Apsel.

City of Birth


Country of Birth



Attanasio, Nicole

Interview Date

Fall 11-24-2010

Location of Interview

University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL.


Apsel, Rosemaire; Apsel, Guenter; World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives; Women and the military -- United States; Civilians in war

Collection Description

Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

Contributor Affiliation / Organization

RICHES; University of Central Florida


Attanasio, Nicole

Length of Interview

43 minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida




All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type