Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006


An interview with Vera Gissing, a Holocaust survivor, conducted by Dr. Sidney Bolkosky, Professor of History at the University of Michigan--Dearborn. Vera Gissing was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1928. She lived in Celakovice, outside of Prague, with her mother, father, and sister, Eva. After the Germans invaded their town, Vera's mother contacted Nicholas Winton about having the girls sent to England. Vera and her sister left Czechoslovakia in July 1939 and were put into foster care with two separate families. Vera stayed with the Rainfords, a poor Christian family, before enrolling in a Czech refugee school in England where she spent the duration of the war. After the war, Vera went back to Prague to study and became a literary translator but eventually moved back to England. While being interviewed by the Welsh BBC, Vera revealed her diaries that she kept of her experience during the war and decided to translate and publish the entries in the book Pearls of Childhood.

  1. Introduction
  2. Family Life
  3. Religious Life
  4. Extended Family
  5. Doesn't Consider Herself a Holocaust Survivor
  6. Experience with German Culture
  7. Anti-Semitism
  8. Life Before the War
  9. Life Before the War II
  10. Experience at Summer Camp
  11. Germans Invade Czechoslovakia
  12. Life Under German Occupation
  13. Life Under German Occupation II
  14. Politics
  15. News of Kindertransport
  16. News of Kindertransport II
  17. Permission to Leave on Kindertransport
  18. Receiving a Diary
  19. Receiving a Diary II
  20. Problems in Communist Czechoslovakia
  21. Meeting Foster Mother
  22. Foster Family
  23. Traveling to Liverpool
  24. Czech Government-in-exile
  25. Start of War
  26. Meeting Czech President Benes
  27. Attending a Czech Refugee School
  28. News of Mother
  29. Fate of Parents
  30. Russian Takeover of Prague
  31. Sharing Story
  32. Sharing Story II
  33. Publishing Book
  34. Film Proposal of Experience
  35. Reaction to Being Sent Away
  36. Saying Goodbye to Family
  37. Memories
  38. Feelings Toward Being Sent Away
  39. Visiting Prague Jewish Museum
  40. Conclusion

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