Oral memoirs of Anni Lipp Kelton: An interview conducted in April 2005

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2023-11

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Anni Lipp Kelton, wife of Elmer Kelton, grew up in Ebensee, Austria. She describes her family growing up, and her schooling, and then goes on to talk about her first job, which she got at fifteen, and how much she hated it. Around that time, she contracted Diphtheria while many more of her family members were in other hospitals. Her life majorly changed during the Anschluss, when food became rationed and she watched as the young women around her were ordered to work and entertain soldiers. She avoided these orders until her son, Gary, was three when she then started to work in a kitchen at an army hospital in Gmunden, Austria. She described the struggles of those years until the Americans arrived in her part of Austria. She was then approached by Elmer Kelton, then a soldier in the U.S. Army, and they communicated through the language barrier. After spending much time together, Elmer Kelton returned to the United States and began to write to Anni Lipp Kelton and arrange for her to join him in the United States. Once she arrived in the United States, they were married. As Elmer finished his studies in Austin, they lived together with Gary in Austin, living frugally as Anni Lipp acclimated to the language and culture of Texas, especially as someone who didn't like cows. Her friend, Maxine, greatly helped in the development of her fluency in English. Eventually, Anni Lipp learned to drive and became a United States citizen. Over time she lost her fluency in Germany due to a lack of practice. No matter the differences in terrain, climate, or culture, Anni Lipp Kelton has no regrets about moving to West Texas from Austria.

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Includes transcript.
contained in: Greatest Generation Oral History Archive

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