Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Feelings Toward Being Sent Away

So you left in July 1939.

Yes, 1st of July. And, I think one of the nicest thing that happened to me recently--Sue was--I had a few--the Czechs had made a film of my life called "Identity of Being a Gissing." It was an excellent film, which had been shown twice to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the end of the war. And Pearls of Childhood was uh, uh, read unabridged at the same time, you know, during that same period. And I was told that there never had been any such a reaction--positive reaction, to the book, so it was repeated again. So, you know, I thought, I, I didn't feel proud for myself, I felt proud for my parents. If it hadn't been for them telling me to write, you know, and to keep in touch and everything, I wouldn't have had the material.

And as a child you don't remember any resentment of being sent, sent away. You never felt that way, this was for your own good.

Uh, you mean from my...

From your parents.

...from my parents, resentment.

I mean--did any of the children feel that they were being sent...

Oh yes.

...away by their parents?

Yes, yes, I think, that, when um, Nicky Winton came on the scene it was uh, 1988, just as my Pearls of Childhood was at the printers. And we had this meeting, you know, we had get togethers, and he actually told us that there were some that they felt--as you say--they felt resentment that the parents wanted to get rid of them. Or there were also other children who, although they didn't want their parents to die--they were the younger ones--they'd forgotten their language, they'd forgotten when their parents even looked like, you know, because they were perhaps six, seven years old. And they were dreading going back. They didn't want their parents dead, but they had accepted that the English people they were with--you know, it, it was quite a mixture, quite a mixture.

So there was some identity...


...crisis for...

Oh yeah, oh yeah.

...some of the children. Hidden Children frequently have that.

Well, I'm not surprised Hidden Children have it because I--I mean, they were really uh, in a, in a different situation, which was more horrific because, I mean, we were loved or liked at least and looked after. You know, there was the odd person--an odd child perhaps who didn't such a positive um, experiences as uh, I had and my sister had. Uh, but on the whole, on the whole, we were very lucky. And whatever happened, even, you know, even if somebody made you uh, scrub the floors or whatever, at least we were alive.

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