Berria, Frank (Malaxetxebarria)

Mikel Chertudi
Interview Location: 
Boise, ID
Interview Date: 

Frank was born in Twin Falls, Idaho on 15 August 1922 to Hilario Malaxetxebarria and Juanita Urriolabeitia.  He recounts his parents' immigration stories, explaining how his father herded and owned sheep and how his mother came to own the Eureka Hotel, a Basque boarding house in Twin Falls.  Frank shares his memories of boarding houses in Twin Falls, Rupert, Shoshone, Hailey, Ketchum, Jerome, Castleford, and Pocatello.

As he moved all over Idaho and Nevada with his family, Frank gathered a wealth of information about the boarding houses and Basque communities that welcomed him.  After he graduated from Gooding High School, Frank landed a job as a bookkeeper for the Utah Construction Company, an enormous ranching operation in Nevada.  Before long, Frank's father convinced him to try herding sheep.  In 1941, he went to work for Bill Smith and the Wood Creek Sheep Company.  He gives a detailed account of sheep herding and lambing techniques.  In 1944, three years and two sheep outfits later, Frank enlisted in the US Navy to fight in the Second World War. 

When he returned from the war, Frank opened an accounting agency in Gooding, Idaho.  After the first tax season, he decided to join the Internal Revenue Service to learn more about tax law.  In November 1948, he embarked on a long career with the IRS that would pit him against organized crime, corrupt politicians, and criminals across the country.  In 1986 he opened his own consulting business, finally retiring in 1992.  Although Frank's experience as a soldier filled him with pride for his country, he considers himself Basque "through and through."

Audio Recording: 
Boarding houses
National identity
Other Images: