Item SR11090_T02S2 - Oral history interview with G. Bernhard Fedde [Sound Recording 04]

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Oral history interview with G. Bernhard Fedde [Sound Recording 04]


  • 2006-09-16 (Creation)


Audiocassette; 00:24:50

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Biographical history

Gabriel Bernhard Fedde was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1909. He studied history at Williams College in Massachusetts. He studied abroad in Munich, Germany, for a year. He also studied law while in Munich and then later at Columbia University. He finished his law studies at the University of Oregon, graduating in 1936. He passed the Oregon bar exam that same year, and began practicing law in Portland, Oregon. He was a conscientious objector during World War II. After the war, he went to Germany to lead the American section of the Quaker relief efforts. He returned to private practice in Portland in 1947. He and Johanna Borrevik were married in 1957. In 1964, he earned a master's degree from Oregon State University. Over the course of his law career, he specialized in draft, refugee, and immigration law. Along with his private practice in Portland, he served as legal counsel for the Lutheran World Federation in Palestine from 1949 to 1950, and for the Consulate-General for West Germany from 1978 to 1987.

In addition to practicing law, he specialized in Scandinavian history, which he taught as an adjunct professor at Portland State University from 1956 to 1983. From 1983 through 1990, he continued teaching Scandinavian history at Portland State without drawing a paycheck. He lectured around the country, as well as in Scandinavia, and authored a book in 1965, "The Norwegian-Swedish Crisis of 1905." In 1977, King Olav V of Norway awarded him the Saint Olav's Medal. He was active in several civic and social organizations and was a founding member of the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation. He died in 2007.

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Tape 2, Side 2. This oral history interview with G. Bernhard Fedde was conducted by Eliza E. Canty-Jones in Beaverton, Oregon, on September 16, 2006. Fedde’s wife, Johanna Borrevik, was also present and often contributes to Canty-Jones’ questioning. At the time of the interview, Canty-Jones’ name was Eliza Elkins Jones. Tape 1, Side 1 of the recording is an introduction to the interview, which begins on Tape 1, Side 2.In this interview, Fedde discusses his family background and early life in Brooklyn, New York, including his memories of the Depression. He describes studying history at Williams College in Massachusetts, including a year he studied abroad in Munich, Germany. He talks about his experience as a conscientious objector during World War II. He speaks at length about heading the American section of the Quaker relief efforts in Germany after the war. He also talks about the creation of the Marshall Plan. He then discusses practicing law in Oregon, defending conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War, and judges he argued before. He also talks about a few summers he spent studying in The Hauge, Netherlands. He discusses his work with the Scandinavian community, teaching Scandinavian history at Portland State University, and meeting King Olav V of Norway in 1977. He also tells the story of meeting his wife, Johanna Borrevik. He closes the interview by sharing his thoughts about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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Joint copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society and the U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following statement: In Copyright – Educational Use Permitted:

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  • English

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30.5 MiB


May 15, 2020 1:26 PM

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