Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Anne Hirschle - July 21, 2006

Life in England

Let's talk about growing up in England during World War II, that had to be, regardless of anything else, interesting.

I grew up in London, I grew up in all the bombing. Uh, I can honestly say, it sounds ridiculous, but those were some of the happiest years of my life because I was convinced that only, I think, very young people are, that nothing could possibly happen to me. And, the bombing was pretty bad and we thought it was fantastic if the all clear siren hadn't gone by midnight we could get to school an hour late. We thought that was great. Um, and then as I got a little older and would go out more on my own um, I, I started uh, well I actually left, left high school at sixteen and went to a sort of junior college because I wanted to go into dental school, and so I went to this junior college for the science courses. And I remember we had to go into London to sit for the exam. And my mother was very worried and said to me, "Why would they ask you to come into London?" At that time we had the doodle bugs, the bombs that were unmanned and just came over and came down. "Is it safe there?" And I said, "Oh yes, it was very safe." Actually it was a big hall with a glass roof. I never could-I never told my mother about the glass roof. And my mother said, "I, I just don't think it's safe there." And I said, "I know nothing can happen to me, I've still got so much I need to do and want to do, and I'm-so nothing can happen to me." I think you have to be very young to have that attitude.


I was absolutely convinced that nothing would happen to me because I still had all these plans of what I needed to do. And uh I, luckily nothing did happen to me, although it, it was close many times. I remember one night there was a terrific noise and my father went to the door and the air raid warden was there and said, "Are you all right?" and my father said, "Yes, why?" And he said, "I'm standing on the edge of the crater." This was our back door and the bomb had gone in the street between our house and the house across the street. But the blast had gone towards-those were, you know, by today's standards, baby bombs-the bomb had gone-the blast had gone to the house across the street and that man had evacuated his family the day before, so the house was empty and our house was barely touched and the crater was in the street...


...between the two houses. So, I mean, it came close many times.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn