Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Germans Invade Czechoslovakia

Uh, was there any discussion--was your, was your father politically aware of what was going on?

I think mother was more aware of what was going on than father because my father was an incredible optimist, because, I mean, there was an occasion on the day uh, 15th of March 1939, when the Germans invaded and um, a sort of a large group of soldiers came across from town. And I'll never forget them arriving because I woke up and I saw my mother and father standing in the window and my sister next to them, and they had their arms around each other. I kept to their side and couldn't believe my eyes, because line upon line of German soldiers were marching into our square and, and there were an awful lot of the inhabitants of our small town lining the street. And then suddenly a...with one voice they started singing the Czech national anthem. It started with the words, "Where is my home?" And I didn't realize then that our home was no longer ours anymore and...

It's ???



No not, not--Kde Domov Muj--yes because it starts with the words "Kde domov muj," "where is my home?" But that is our national anthem.

Do you remember how you felt watching the Germans march in?

I felt shocked rather than afraid. I had no idea what was coming. In fact, I even had a sort of a sneaking pleasure from being told that the kids from Transylvania will take over my school and I'll have an unexpected holiday. But, you know, at the age of ten and a half, or, you know, uh, there was no television--nothing like that to tell me and our parents tried to protect us. Yeah, and my father kept--he was an optimist, you know. He, he thought uh,"What would the Germans want with Czech Jews?"

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