Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Attending a Czech Refugee School

Where was the school?

The school was then in Shropshire, and in uh, in a place called Whitchurch. It was a little town in Shropshire and they gave us a sort of a old house, which was sort of falling to bits. But uh, it was wonderful. He got me there within a week, and I was only--I still had my foster family to go to on holidays and--but I was taken out of their responsibility except for the holidays, and I was more or less like a warden, almost, of the school. But there were so many of us, like Uta, you know, she was there at the same time as I. And, and the friendships we forged there have lasted to this day. Because most of us there had lost our parents and we were each other's family. And it's, it's, it's been, again, a wonderful gift. You know, that--because we all shared the same fate--we all, all lost our parents.

You were all Jews at that school?

Oh yes, oh yes. There were quite a few, quite a few, you know, I would think about probably forty percent. Because there were also members, of course--children of the government and the soldiers and the air men's children, you know. And people like Bata Works--which was a shoe factory, uh, which I--factories also in Czech...Moravian uh, but it had its shoe factory also in England, and so about six children came from there. But apart from my parents being so very much missed, they were the happiest years, you know, I had for a long time.

So what year did, did this--did you go there? Nineteen forty, after Dunkirk?

Um, yes, um, I--it wasn't 1940, it was founded, I think--about 1941, somewhere around there. And um, um, and it was first in Whitchurch and then it moved to this uh, central Wales and we were given a hotel, and even a bit of the river. And the lake, you know, it belonged to the hotel, so we were in seventh heaven. And we still have our reunions there to this day.

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