Dorothea met her husband Donald who worked for the British Consul. They married on VE Day. Her parents were helped by Kissinger’s family to emigrate to America. Dorothea also explain what happened to her brother and her journey to Britain.
INT: And did he [ Her father] remain there and your mother, for the rest of their lives?
DB: Oh no, no.
INT: What happened?
DB: First of all, my…well my brother, after he finished, he got a job at a, at a school in Ankara which was partly paid for by the Americans I think. A sort of college but school, you know, for children and he was teaching physics there. And then he applied for a grant to go to America through the…what was it called? The Jewish organisation in Boston, oh God I can’t remember the name of it…anyway it’s all in a big book. And they, they gave him a grant to come to America so he went to America, to this Jewish organisation in Boston and he lived with a rabbi and his family and his job was to keep an eye on the rabbi’s boys. I think he had two boys and he was supposed to look after them as well as, of course, going to university and starting to study for his PhD, which he did at Harvard.
INT: What year would this have been?
DB: Oh…I don’t…
INT: Was it after the war or..?
DB: That was…that was after the war, yes. Just after the war I think.
INT: And the rest of you were still in Ankara?
DB: We were in Ankara and there’s a lot in between, I’ll have to be telling you. But in the meantime…well I met Donald and he was with the British Council and…
INT: And he was from Scotland originally?
DB: Yes he came from Glasgow and…But there’s a big story in between.
INT: Tell me.
DB: Because during the war the Turks interned the Nazis in, in Turkey. But not only…the Nazis mostly went back to Germany anyway but anybody who…anybody who was not Jewish was interned in concentration camps and the concentration camps weren’t like other places. The people were just sent to Turkish villages and it was two different villages they were sent to. The ones who were questionably Nazis were sent to one place and the ones who were not Nazis were sent to another village. And my brother at that time was very much the go between because the Turks interned them in this village but they didn’t give them any money or anything, they just said ‘You just live in that village and that’s it.’ So, of course, they didn’t have any money to live and the ‘B Colony’, the mostly Jewish people, gathered money to keep them. So my brother was the one who had to go every month with the money to this village so that, you know, they could subsist.
INT: And did the Jewish community look after the Nazi village as well?
DB: No, no.
INT: Just the…No. I wouldn’t have thought so.
DB: They didn’t, except maybe by default.
INT: By accident.
DB: And that did happen.
INT: So it was the non-political Germans they were looking after.
DB: That’s right, that’s right. No, some of them very political because they were Germans who were looking to going back to Germany after the war if Germany was defeated.
INT: So non-fascist Germans.
DB: Exactly, exactly.
INT: And why was it, why was your brother involved in that?
DB: Well because he didn’t have that much to do, just…except being a bit of a teacher in the schools sometimes and also he had a very good friend there, several good friends, and so had my mother. So my mother, she used to be the one who gathered the money together.
INT: I see.
DB: And then my brother went and…sometimes he had to sew the money into his coat seam or something because Turks, they were completely ignorant of what to do really. So anyway he took the money.
And then one time…by this time I knew Donald and Donald said ‘Oh I’ll come with you to this village and see what’s going on there’. So he came with me and we went to see our friends and we got engaged there in this village.
INT: And that was after the war or..?
INT: Just near the end?
DB: Just about the end of the war I suppose, yes, yes. When did the war end? 40?..
DB:’45, well it must have been after the war. No because we went out and it all happened very close together.
INT: Just before the end of the war.
DB: Anyway we got engaged there, there are some photographs, and then I had to get ready really to go with him back to Britain.
INT: You must have had English as well then?
DB: Oh yes
INT: Did you learn to speak English?
DB: Yes, oh yes I spoke very good English. I learned English all from this very good teacher.
INT: I see.
DB: And also I had another pretty clueless boyfriend that I learned some English from but I didn’t like him much.
And yes I learned from… this lady taught us English and French and she was amazing, I mean she could teach you anything you wanted. If you said you want to learn Spanish tomorrow she would try to teach you that. But English certainly I spoke perfectly by this time.
INT: And so when you left Turkey with Donald did your parents come with you?
DB: No, no, no, no. My parents couldn’t come with me. They stayed there another year, I think, after that and then a former colleague of my father’s, from Germany, but a Jewish guy who was in the same, worked in the same factory as him, he had emigrated to America and he helped my father to emigrate to the States. You know, you had to get the…whatever, permit or something. And at that point Kissinger’s family were involved as well and they all knew each other. My father got a wee job in New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey.
For him it was a pretty miserable kind of job making paints, but still it was work. And so they went to live in New Jersey in a tiny little flat and later on, a year or so later I went to visit them with my, by this time I had two kids and I went back to visit them. But that’s all, you know, a bit later.
INT: Right. So tell me about you and Donald, did you come straight to Scotland?
DB: No, no. We went, we went on honeymoon or we were supposed to. We got married on V.E Day which was a bit funny and there wasn’t anybody around to sign the register on that day, of course they were all busy getting the champagne ready.So in actual fact our wedding certificate was signed in the British Embassy, on the stair I remember, and one of the consuls was a very good old friend of ours, he signed our marriage certificate on the stair to the party.
So then of course we took part in the victory party and a friend lent me a ball gown and we went to this do after having had a party in my family’s house, smaller party. And I remember my brother, he was still there then, he made a drink but we didn’t have any receptacle big enough so he said ‘Ok I’ll scrub out the bath and I’ll just make it in the bath’ and he did. It was very…it was fine. There were about, I think, eighty people in our flat which wasn’t very big but all our neighbours and friends came, you know.
INT: And how old were you and Donald?
DB: Well Donald was much older than me.
I was just eighteen I suppose, eighteen I must have been yes and Donald was forty, maybe forty-one or something. He was born in 1906, whatever that made him, and I was born in ’24 so there was a big difference in age between us. Anyway, we went to the Embassy party and then I got, well I had now the British passport so I could get out of Turkey. And we had to go in a, it was a tiny sort of plane, I think air force maybe, but I remember we sat just on sacks or something, there weren’t any seats properly, to Cyprus. And that was supposed to be our honeymoon in Cyprus. Well I didn’t ever like Cyprus very well, I think I didn’t like islands, it was too small you know? Anyway we went there and stayed in the Dome Hotel in Kyrenia. Donald…where did he meet those friends? One very good friend, she was the nurse in the hospital in Cyprus and she was from, I think she may have been Scottish, I can’t remember now and then there was the army doctor there and Donald had very good friends, a Russian, a White Russian couple whom he had met before, he had been in Cyprus before then on a visit.
And they were very, very nice to us and, in fact, he was a weaver, this Russian guy, and he gave us a lovely rug as a wedding present which I still have you know, hand woven beautiful rug. And they were very, very nice to us. So we were there for three weeks in Cyprus and then they said, well you better go to Cairo now where you can get transport back to Britain, and we did that. So again in this little plane we went to Cairo and I have a very good memory. I liked it a lot in Cairo, you know, it was very nice. We were treated very well and I remember we had a black man, he was sort of lying outside your hotel door always just waiting for your orders and he was from the…Sudan, a Sudanese, very nice. And you could look out of the hotel window and there was a screen cinema. So all you had to do was sit on your balcony and watch the cinema. It was really luxury as far as I was concerned and then there was, what was called the Gezira Club which was mainly for foreigners, mainly British people.
So we would go there every day and there was a swimming pool and we had quite a lot of friends there, you know, British Council people who were waiting like us. And so we went swimming every day and there were great big lovely meals there. It was very comfortable, very nice. And then they said ‘Oh there’s the last convoy of the war is just about to come to Cairo so you can go back to Britain on that’ so we said ‘Ok’. And that was awful. You were in the officer’s and…women were in the officer’s quarters which was just bunks, you know and the men had to sleep on deck, just find anywhere they could. So I didn’t even see Donald very often, I mean I was just in the bunk there and fortunately I had one very good friend who was sort of sleeping not far from me but it was not good, it was pretty horrendous.
INT: And it was a long journey? How long would it have taken you?
DB: Yes we were on that boat, I think, for about two or three weeks.
DB: Quite long.