Mrs Amstberg grew up in Berlin during Hitler’s era. She was a member of Hitler’s League of Maidens and recalls being very enthusiastic about it, attending a motorcade where she saw Hitler himself. She was 16 when the war started. She married a German soldier who was one of Hitler’s guards. She experienced bombing and near starvation towards the end of the war. She witnessed the atrocities of the Russians at the end of the war. She and her husband and three children lived in East Berlin under Stalin’s rule, until they escaped across the border, eventually migrating to Australia.
Mrs Amstberg’s frank recount of life during the war undoubtedly impacted students as they tried to comprehend her resilience and resourcefulness to survive a war when many around her perished. Mrs Amstberg closed her time with the students urging them to value their freedom and appreciate all they have been given for a comfortable life full of opportunity, particularly as she would have loved to continue her education but was unable to do so as a result of the war.
Year 10 Student recounts
It was inspirational to hear stories first hand about the history of the world in times of conflict. The way people were forced to live is horrendous and puts into perspective how fortunate we are here in Australia today. Jordi
I found it really interesting to hear Mrs Amstberg’s story. Her life was really interesting. It was very sad to hear what she and many other German people had to go through. One thing which stood out to me was the fact that her family had to survive on stinging nettle for such a long time and how a Russian soldier rescued her family from starvation by providing them with bread. Lauren
It was interesting to see and hear Mrs Amstberg as a first-hand witness. Also to hear even as a wife with a young child she had to work for a whole day just so they could get a ration card. Erin
I really enjoyed the talk Mrs Amstberg gave to use and it was a great experience to hear about the war from an eye witness. I think it’s amazing how Mrs Amstberg is in great health and her stories were very interesting. Benjamin
Year 12 Student recounts
I thought it was very interesting listening to Mrs Amstberg’s life story as I have never had the opportunity to speak to someone who was impacted by World War II. It was devastating to hear how disrupted her life was by bombings and having to run away from her country! It makes me realise that we are so lucky to live a content life where we don’t have to worry about these things. I am very happy that we got to listen to Mrs Amstberg. Jessica
It was incredible to hear from somebody who lived through World War ll, Mrs Amstberg was great at telling us her story and all the hardship she endured while living through the war. I found the talk so fascinating and was really grateful to be so able to listen to someone tell me their story of the war. Amelia
I was so ecstatic as soon as I heard we were going to have the opportunity to meet and talk to Lissy a World War II survivor. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I feel so grateful to hear her stories from War. Since Year 7 when we first started learning about World War II we were taught through secondary sources such as textbooks and pictures but to be able to experience and interact with someone from World War II was amazing! I think this experience and Mrs Amstberg stories will truly stay with me and it honestly gives you such an appreciation for this lucky and free country we live in. Sarah
Listening to Mrs Amstberg really made me realise how privileged we are in Australia. I loved hearing what it was like to experience being in the middle of a war is like which really made me sympathise with her. Rhea