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Transcript: Miss Elizabeth Killinger talks about anti-German sentiment during World War I

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Miss Elizabeth Killinger was born in 1899 and was [media]interviewed in 1986 for the 'Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900 to 1960.' Her family was of German extraction and she talks here about anti-German sentiment during World War I.


INTERVIEWER: Was there any anti-German sentiment felt against your family?

ELIZABETH: Not terribly much but my eldest brother, at Liverpool primary school, Mr Paradise was the headmaster there at the time and he used to call him [her brother] 'Kaiser Bill'. He says 'Kaiser Bill, come here, do this and do that!' And of course Bill was terribly upset and he came home and he told Mum. He said 'I don't like it', he said 'he calls me Kaiser Bill in front of all the, and makes fun of me'. And so Mother said 'We'll soon put a stop to that' and she went up and saw him.

INTERVIEWER: And did it stop then?

ELIZABETH: It stopped then. She said, 'child can't help his parents' nationality,' and she said 'actually I know he's well-behaved at school'. It wasn't that he was a bad lad or anything, but it stopped.

INTERVIEWER: Were your parents naturalised or not?

ELIZABETH: Yes, well my mother didn't have to be because she was English born, but Father was naturalised. I don't remember when but he must have been naturalised quite early because he wouldn't let us speak German; absolutely forbad[e] us to speak German. He wouldn't teach us German.

INTERVIEWER: Even when you were young children?

ELIZABETH: Even when we were young children we weren't allowed. He said, 'You are not to speak German!' 'Because,' he said, 'you're English, in an English land. I want you to speak good English,' and he said, 'So many of my friends, people that I know, they speak the German,' (or whatever) and he said, 'they can't speak English properly,' and he said, 'They're neither one thing or another.' [1]


Catherine Johnson (ed). Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900–1960 (Liverpool: Liverpool City Council, 1986). http://mylibrary.liverpool.nsw.gov.au/Electronicbooks/Lookingbackatliverpoolanoralhistory-1900-1960.pdf


[1] Miss Elizabeth Killinger, interviewed for Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900–1960 project, Liverpool City Library, audio, Liverpool, 1986, http://liverpool.spydus.com/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/ENQ/OPAC/BIBENQ?BRN=57222