Damboise, Betty

Betty Damboise was born July 3, 1933 in Schoenecke, Germany.  She grew up in the Schnee Eifel region, near the Luxembourg-Belgium border.  Betty’s father worked in the metal trades, and he was classified as an essential worker because of his connections to the local farming community.  Betty started school in 1939 in her village, and she remembers living a relatively good life, and as a young child she was unaware of the political and economic turmoil of the time.  That began to change as the war progressed; her school was closed for a year after it was bombed.  The final year of the war was when things deteriorated for Betty and her family:  her area ended up being at the heart of the Battle of the Bulge, and she remembers the German soldiers beginning their offensive, and more so she remembers the Americans soldiers passing through her community as the Germans were defeated there.  That was when Betty and her family first felt the pain of the war, and witnessed death and destruction all around.  The end of the war came several months later.  Betty’s region came under French occupation, and Betty returned to school, heading off to the nearby city of Trier.  Upon graduation she worked for the German government, where she did her part in the country’s rebuilding efforts.  During this time, she met a young American serviceman who was an air force dentist stationed at Bitburg.  She and Del struck up a relationship, and eventually married.  When Del returned to the United States, Betty followed him, and they settled in Portland, Maine, where Del went on to set up a successful dentistry practice.  Together they raised their family and found their place in postwar America.  Betty Damboise was interviewed by Scott Masters in August 2022, at her home in Portland, Maine.