Born Ingeborg Nizze, Inge just wanted to fit in. Growing up in the center of Berlin in the 1930s, she learned the Hitler salute, sang the Nationalist songs and dreamed of joining the Hitler Youth.
The only trouble was: Inge was a “Mischling” – a kind of Jewish half breed that condemned her grandmother to the Holocaust and kept her father from working. Mischling could not marry freely; suffered food, educational and employment discrimination; and were threatened with sterilization.
Her family tried to immigrate to America – but America would not take them in. What was she to do?
Inge turned 17 eight days after the German surrender in May 1945. By then her grandmother was dead, and her father had been killed in what Inge considers suspicious circumstances. But Inge, her mother and two brothers, lived.
Inge got a job with the British and then the American occupying forces. Then she met GI Ray Papich and America welcomed her in.
Ingrid (as she calls herself in America) is now over 80. Life is a far cry from the days in Berlin when she was hungry and an outsider. She is a constant fixture on the tennis courts in Laguna Woods where she competes in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles tournaments. She loves dancing and social occasions of all kinds.
Inge’s story is one that few people know about. We know something of the Holocaust, but few know about the discrimination and alienation experienced by those who were classified as “Mischlinge” under the Nuremberg Race Laws.
Inge’s story of Growing Up Mischling demanded a life story video. “Growing up Mischling” won best short documentary at the 2009 Lake Arrowhead Film Festival.
If you would like to record your life story or the life story of someone you know, contact Your Story Here Video Biography and let them preserve your life story on video for future generations.