Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Life Before the War

Um, what, what kinds of memories, sort of, stand out up to 1938? I mean, you said you had a--no clouds on your horizon.

No. We had a horse, and a horse and, and we had a cart with the horse and, and sometimes barrels of the uh, of wine or the beer, whatever, you know, was distributed by the horse, and on special occasions I was allowed to ride on him to the river. But I mustn't--I wasn't allowed to go very far where it was deep--after that he could have a real good brush down. And, you know, it's amazing, I still can sort of feel his, um, his coat tickling my thighs as it got wet and um, feeding him every day with uh, well, with whate...with sugar lumps, really, which my parents didn't think was right for him. But my passion were cats. And every time I saw a cat I decided it must be a stray--that it looked hungry, and I used to take it home and put it up in the loft--so I climbed the ladder to the uh, to the roof uh, of one of our buildings uh, where there was a sort of uh, uh, well, there was space where we, where we kept uh, hay for our horse. And I used to keep the cat--stray cats there and feed them. And whenever anyone lost a cat, they came first to us. "Has Vera got my cat?" And, of course, we had cats too. And, you know, when it was time for me to leave, one of the things that I remember most was um, that my cat was expecting ki...and my father threatened to drown them because, because it kept happening, you see.

[interruption in interview]


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