thumbnail of Voices of Europe; Elsa Adami and Nina Oulasevitch
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Voices of Europe. Milton mair American author and broadcaster lecturer and professor of social research from the University of Frankfurt has been traveling throughout many of the countries of Western Europe recording the voices of ordinary people on a great variety of subjects. These are voices of Europeans who are alive and sensitive to the tragedy and dilemma of the conditions that surround them. People who can speak directly and candidly of their own feelings and their own aspirations. These two people interviewed today are merely a representative sample of the millions of voices of Europe some of which are being heard now for the first time. These are the voices of citizens of other countries who speak to the American people unimpeded by the artificial screen of cable costs and scarce newsprint. These voices will help us to understand the basic conditions of life in Europe and help us to understand the views these people have of their own problems. But these are not all the voices. Just a few a sample of those views you would not read in your newspapers or even hear on your radio unless you listen to voices of Europe. Today in the little town of the
VENO in northern Italy on the shore of beautiful Lago Maggiore Milton Mayer interview Senora Dami. So Nora Dami was born in Italy educated not only in Germany and Italy but also in Switzerland and again later in Italy where she attended French and English schools as well as Italian and German. During the first world war because her father was in the Talon your mother was a German. They wanted neither in Germany nor Italy. So the family lived in Switzerland. It was in Switzerland that señora Dami married for the first time a German officer. Later she worked after the war in the League of Nations and then in Paris at Chanel the perfume shop and there married a French woman back in Italy she met her present husband in 1931 a Senora Dami who was manager at that time of the hotel Savile in Florence. Later he managed other hotels until in 1937 the family bought the Hotel Bellevue or Villa Beach stuff in the vein on the shores of majority in one hundred thirty nine The hotel was requisitioned by the
Italian government and used as a hospital. In 1943 it was taken over by the German SS So you were a dummy during the war years was active in the Italian underground and was in a manner of speaking. The station on the underground railway through which Allied prisoners of war escaped into Switzerland. She was arrested in June of 1944 by the Germans was sentenced to be shot on the 21st of June along with 17 other hostages in the VENO as a retaliatory measure for the shooting of German soldiers by Italian partisans. And she escaped death by asking the commanding officer of the detachment which was to take care of dispatching the hostages if she would be allowed to write to her son who was brought up in Germany and served in the German army. To say that his mother was being shot by some of his comrades her life was spared after her release she worked as an interpreter for the German army and at the same time was working for and with the Italian partisans like so many families in Europe in the hotel business. The entire Dami family is engaged in the management as well as the
ownership of this beautiful old establishment. Señora Dami was housekeeper but her daughter in law now serves in that capacity for some as assistant manager and she herself with her perfect command of four languages serves as her husband's secretary and hostess in the hotel. Here is Milton Mayer to interview Signora Elsa Dami. Signor eyed than me. What. In this changing world has happened. To the rich. Who used to occupy. These gorgeous hotels and villas. Around the shores of a lake like this one. Many of the rich people still retain. Their money and can patronize these tales. But many of them. Have to lead a quiet life and the money has changed hands. And has gone to those who made money during the war. And after
the war. And saw the home structure of the. Client. We used to have has changed in a certain way. And I do understand that in a Europe. Which. Has been torn to pieces and torn to pieces again by a war. Which is now threatened with communism and another. Now a number of other contagious diseases. But there are still rich people. Who still are able to maintain these very was a nice luxury hotel. Yes per certain extent they do because. There has been a revival of trade in Europe in these last years. People have made money again and are still able to travel and to come back to those resorts which they patronize the people of
the war smashed. Many fortunes. But then are they the same people. Some are the same and some change but not to such an extent that we are facing. How can you say the shortage of customers for example the senior army. The English. And I understand that you know here and your hotel was a famous establishment among the English fire recall correctly. Queen Victoria always stayed veno. The English are now allowed to take out of England for vacation or tourist purposes only £25 a year per person that is about 70 dollars in American money.
I should imagine. That. The English as he is one of the bases of the prosperity of these Italian lakes would almost have disappeared and higher. No they have not disappeared entirely though. When we went to London last November and the restrictions werent enforced yet. We had a very very good season in view especially with English private tourists and with travel agencies so that if this restriction hadn't come into force. We would have looked forward. To a very very good season this year. But in the beginning of spring we had something like 2000 cancellations from English tourists and travel agencies together. You see here.
And have Lee with you saying that. The Americans have taken the place of the English. National to resort Narain not because I'm afraid my American tourist doesn't know much about but they know. And we never had many American tourists here in Babineaux itself. You know it is practically you man the Americans go it would be more likely to go to the more famous Yes go to stray so they go to Villa d'Este the Venice of the famous towns of Italy but then in general apart from a local situation of VENO which is perhaps a little too quiet and a little too arms backpack for the Americans are you of the opinion that the Americans hang out in cities like Van my home all of them or the more famous places have taken the place of the English.
Yes they certainly they certainly have. Because I was in France three weeks ago and where I stayed the whole place was full of Americans and very few English people. And what about the Germans. Have they disappeared from the market or are the rich Germans. Well that must be a lot of rich. That's because I will travel down to France by car and I have seen any amount of German cars and I suppose the Germans of the wood district where the big industries are are certainly traveling to Switzerland into Italy and the French and the French. Very good cost to myself too. We are looking forward to a great many many veterans. Would you say that the that the character of the tourist business in Europe has changed since these two wars along national lines that is do you think there are
fewer Europeans more Americans are fewer English and more Germans or fewer jurors. But of course there are fewer Germans because they couldn't travel for these last three years only this year there are a lot about 500 bucks which allows them a jolly good holiday and they're coming back because they always had the intent of coming to Italy was always the dream of their life to visit Italy. These people spending a great deal of money as they must in these luxury hotels. Signora do they seem to be worried. About the current developments in the world. Do they see any communists either under or over the beds. You know I don't know I think quite carefully. I haven't spoken to all of them but the
few I have spoken to seem to enjoy life and don't more than necessary do you think they have reason to be carefree or do you think they ought to be more worried than they are. No I think they're just living from one other. And this is true only of the richer people generally in Europe are up after the war. Other countries express an opinion about that. But is there a great deal of turmoil and tension in Italy in a town like this. A No no. Coming there just after the war but communism has lost its footing in Italy in a big way in these last three years and then we have two communal elections. We became Christian Democrats Christian then you are saying you're a
what do you think. From the vantage point of operating with your family great hotel. What do you think is wrong with the world if anything and what do you think ought to be done about it and what would you like to do about it. I think I would like to have the kind of International University where I could gather the youth of different countries. Get them together. So that happened opportunity to know each other. And you think the peoples knowing each other would make a great deal of difference. I think so especially. People should know more languages because when you know the language of your friend or your enemy you act to understand him better.
The signora may happen. I happen to be the developments of the last 25 or 30 years really affected seriously affected the whole luxury trade of the world including the tourist business. I'm thinking of your taxes for example. This must be 10 or 50 times as high as they would have been before the First World War and of course so what mind you as a client. Yes. Hasn't that in someway affected the horse standard tourist travel and tourist trade. Well I can't say much about that because. Not even the knowledge of all the pictures I know that we are very heavily taxed but of course if a full classroom used to cost let's say from 45 to 90 years before the Second World War our prices have risen accordingly.
Are the hotels maintained in the same way that they were. A luxury. Are they as well maintain. Yes they certainly are and they have done a lot of work in last year's service and food service and food is perfect everywhere because we have no rations anymore. But of course when I compare prices here in Italy with those let's say in England where they have control prizes in a way our food is much more expensive here in Italy than it is in England because it's not subsidised by the government. When your prices are accordingly higher are higher. But if you go to a hotel in England of the same standard of as ours. It is more expensive in England than in Italy. Signora to me with your. Background of anywhere from
six to a dozen nations and nationalities. What nationality would you like to be if you had to make a choice and be only one national instead of an intern and not to be quite frank. I had a very don't experience the first time I visited England and that was when I was 30 years old. I write and though I'm not a big psychic I had the feeling that should be in my homeland and I think it occurred to me that since English is about the only nationality you are not with the exception of America and that perhaps you like the English best because you don't know them so well. And on that basis you ought to love the Americans best of all.
There's a possibility I have a chance to go to America much. Opinion and on the basis of the Americans that you see and know in the hotel business. Do you have any picture of the American national character. There is one. That's a pity. How can I say. Difficult question to answer because my knowledge of Americans or those I've met in the hotel and bought the books I read I think I wouldn't like to live in New York but a small town in America. I think what struck me. Would you like to be a German. No I don't say any more. Thank you very much Sinjar Milton Mayer has been interviewing Senor I also Adami in the vino Italy knew no less a village a young lady of Belgium is back home in Brussels after hitchhiking all
over Europe. Nina's father and mother are so-called White Russians who have lived in Belgium since 1917 and are without nationality. Nina by virtue of having been born in Antwerp is a Belgian citizen Her father is an industrial engineer who was imprisoned by the Germans during the occupation of Belgium for refusing to order Belgian workers to repair a military bridge for the Germans and was then after the war held for seven months by the Belgian government before he was cleared of charges of collaborating with the Germans. Neither was graduated from what we would call high school and then four years of commercial college. During the course of which in the preceding years she learned to speak her native language of course of French Plus German Dutch Russian and what she says is a little Spanish Italian and English. Here is Milton Mayer Nina. What is hitchhiking like in your job. Perhaps I should tell our listeners
that my wife and I pick you up toward sunset one evening outside the city of Sienna and Italy and took you in our car as far as Rome. Why are you hitchhiking around Europe. Well I want to travel like every young person and you told that my father is an industrial engineer. He's well-to-do but we are meant to be an ass. And you know the travel costs a lot of money. So I tried to find a practical way to realize that the dream traveling over Europe. And well hitchhiking you thought Maine for me and I think it goes for well over all over Europe especially in Belgium in Germany in France and in Holland and also in
digitally. I was very lucky to meet you at the evening. How much does it cost you to hitchhike. How much does it cost you to live while you're traveling. Well I spend for one month in Italy 35000 lira and let's see 35000 layered in what way Americans would call the money would be about. I'd say $60 for UPS I don't know exactly one month of living in L.A. And when you're traveling where do you live. I live in you post. So what are youth hostels that's something too that we don't know much about in America. I walk for all to exist in America. Bias it's known from every young people from every young student and. From every young worker who wants to travel and to go to brought
it Tara. This is you post also Oregon isolation that gives a possibility for young travelers from scouts and students to get to boarding to find sleep a place to sleep for a very low prize. So for instance here in Italy I pay only one hundred fifty lire for one night and I can leave them on my like a chair and I can wash myself prepare my meals if I want. Now let me see in Italy you paid one hundred fifty lire for one night and having to gas rapidly. That's about 25 cents. And and. Germany how much would you pay 30 for 30 Fanny that is still last. Let me see. That's about
10 cents in American money. And who runs the youth hostiles is it an international organization and can anybody stay at these Hostels. Yes it's an international organization and you have to be a member for you to become a member. Oh in Belgium you pay something like hundred Belgium francs for one year and you become then a member car and they take information about you. And that allows you to go in after you've closed. And then what Americans would young Americans be able to join the youth hostel organization have you met any Americans. Yes I met a lot of Americans and especially girls from New Zealand from most and from South Africa. In addition to Americans you mean you have girls
and boys from all over Omar all over the world. And I take it then that a young American could travel cheaply safely and happily all over Europe. But I'm not sure about the hitchhiking what what I what what a young American do about hitchhiking Hitchhiking is an old American custom of course but what would he do about language home about language. That's very easy. For instance in Belgium most in Switzerland most of the people know English. English German and French and well he can come through him from listening to me too with ease. That's not the problem. The language is not the problem. And a girl with even a good looking girl like you
can travel all over Europe by herself. I can't say yes because for instance in Italy I didn't dare to go alone to south of Italy. It would have been preferred when I had found a go so I would have the trip to Syria but as I was alone I didn't return from Rome back to Centro central because buyers for people understand that explain most of the young students and work. Just do it to save money. But I don't know exactly in Italy how they understand it when they see the road. Sometimes they believe that the young girl is looking for adventure.
What. Speaking of adventure. What were your most interesting adventures our observations our impressions of all of your hitchhiking around Europe. Well I'll tell you a little less of the last one I had it was in Italy. I hitchhiked from yen up to the place where you pick me up and I travel a lot to have to land. They were traveling in Romania Alfa Romeo is the best Italian car it's something like a Rolls-Royce or something like that of the same type. And they invited me to come and visit them online because they were inspecting their farm. I found it very interesting to see how the Italian prisons and pharmas where we're living and we went to his farm and then they enter two of their big
cars and I saw the farmers who come in to greet these people this to a man this farmers were badly dressed. There were children had no shoes. They looked poor and the woman worked on the land. Wow. Our tour line to land on us inspected the farm they went to see the cattle and then they went to save crops and after we determined this they explained to me how many hectares and all the people were living and that's a conclusion to say you know here in Italy most of the farmers are coming in and I filled them myself. What do you mean that is no wonder. Well I was struck between for contrast there was between those two land on us and two women now from Romeo in the farm. Two of those people who are hard working
who didn't who didn't couldn't own their own farm because they had to pay to have the land to give up the crop they have to get half of that up to the land owner and what is the land owner do. Well he just inspect the cattle. And what impression did you have of Germany and the Germans as a Belgian I am matching you might be a little prejudiced. Well perhaps I'm prejudiced because I come from where. We have social welfare. As far as I can tell that in comparison to other countries you know in Belgium we we all must have forgot or we don't we don't. For me and I'm struck between for contrast between Germany and Belgium in Germany everything's Neumont you're too
far when you speak with somebody he tells you about he's a boast about his past during the war about the misery he has known active of war and also for for doing something infinitely. Everything reminds you from war and it's very depressing for somebody who lives between perhaps not far for tourists who costs incurred a how to drive American cars. Yes and the. France is Paris your favorite city in the world. How would you compare it with Rome. Oh my favorite city. Yeah well it's part of it. You sound as if I should take that for granted or assume that every well that is owing to my culture and my sympathy for the French language from far French literature and for all what's
consigned people. Did you have any other impressions or experiences of an extraordinary time and which you think Americans ought to hear especially of young Americans are interested in hitchhiking around Europe. Well no not special adventure it goes mostly it goes very very well and people are very friendly sometimes they invite you to dine or to to visit something they help you. Well I could give a good advice to young Americans who want to travel cheaply in Europe come over and to hitchhike. Thank you very much Nina Milton Mayer has been interviewing señora also Adami and beno Italy and Nino LO SE which in Brussels Belgium. In this the 10th program of the series voices of Europe the program you have just heard is made possible under a grant from
the fund for adult education an independent organization established by the Ford Foundation. These programs are prepared and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This program was introduced by Norman McKee and this is the end network.
Voices of Europe
Elsa Adami and Nina Oulasevitch
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-542jbg5p).
Episode Description
Interviews with Elsa Adami and Nina Oulasevitch about traveling through Europe and lodging for travelers.
Series Description
Interviews with noted Europeans on a variety of subjects, conducted by Milton Mayer, American author and broadcaster, lecturer and professor in the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Interviewee: Adami, Elsa
Interviewee: Oulasevitch, Nina
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 52-37-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:16?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Elsa Adami and Nina Oulasevitch,” 1953-05-06, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Elsa Adami and Nina Oulasevitch.” 1953-05-06. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Elsa Adami and Nina Oulasevitch. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from