Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Foster Family

So my English mummy, Mummy Rainford, as I was asked to call her, was the first female lay preacher in, in Lancashire. But she didn't just preach religion, she lived it everyday of her life. And she sort of made me realize that it doesn't matter where you worship, as long as you believe in God and as long as you do what you can.

Do you think her religion motivated her to take, take you in?

I am sure that it was--motivation came from the whole family because they discussed it as a family. As I said, they weren't affluent and it meant sacrifices from them and from their daughter. And when they asked her daughter, would she mind having a sister--younger sister come to live with them and that it would mean she'd have to share her pocket money and that way they'll only have one short holiday a year--she said, "No, I don't mind, let her come. But please, can I give up my music lessons?"

Do you remember what she said about her husband--what he said about--her husband said...

Yes, that's what I was just going to say, yes.

Okay, okay.

And when years later, I asked Daddy Rainford--the man of the family--why did he do it? Why did he choose me? And he said, "I knew I couldn't save the world, I knew I couldn't stop war from coming, but I knew I could save one human life. And as Hitler broke his--as Chamberlain broke his pledge to Czechoslovakia and Jews were in the direst danger, I decided it must be a Czech Jewish child." And Dorothy, their daughter, chose me from uh, about six photographs of, of children because she liked my smile. So I was very, very lucky. That uh, sentiment from Daddy Rainford has done the rounds of so many talks and so many uh, films, because it uh, it's really such a powerful statement and such a worthwhile sentiment, it's amazing.

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