Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Receiving a Diary


The eighth transport. And--no, the ninth! Sorry the ninth. There were nine transports. There should have been nine. And um, I, I, sort of--it's, it's very, very difficult to comprehend. All of these things didn't come out until I met Nicky Winton again because I never knew who saved our lives until 1988. But neither did anybody else. Like my foster family--perhaps I should go now to these foster...


Um, before I left home, my mother and father--they kept reassuring us, "You'll be back within a year, you'll see." And my m...mother--she had clothes made for both my sister and I--lovely clothes so that we would come to England in style. And they were all made to fit because she couldn't bear the thought of us not coming back soon. Just before we were leaving, on that last night, my father gave me a leather bound diary and it was full of empty pages. And he said to me, "Use it as a diary." And I said "But, there are, there are no dates in it." And he said, "Well, there'll be times when you have nothing to write about and other times when there'll be lot you'll want to share with us. Maybe you'll be homesick or maybe you'll be naughty or something wonderful's happened. When you've got something to say you'd like us to hear, put it down in the diary, so that when you come back to us we can all sit round the table and read the diary together." And mother on that last night she put her arms around me and looked through an open window and the night sky was full of stars. And she said, "Let the stars of the night and the sun of the day be the messengers of our love and our thoughts, and in that way we'll always remember..." I can't tell you what thoughts with it they weigh. Because once war started and all correspondence ceased, I was able to talk to them through the sun and the stars. I--and I wrote and wrote to my--in my dairy. I covered fourteen or fiftteen thick exercise books throughout the war. They were my thoughts, my hopes, my fears.

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