Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Anne Hirschle - July 21, 2006

Experiencing Anti-Semitism

So obviously then your father having served in the German army in World War I and your uncle...


...they would have been-I would-and being older obviously would have been extremely aware of the political situation that was going on at the time.

I think they were extremely aware, but the thing that prompted me-in fact, to contact you was one instant-I don't know if I described it-which was, I think, the turning point in my father's mind, was at that time Jewish children-it was part of uh, general education to have religious education, so there was once a week when the Jewish children had religious education after school and I traveled to and from school on a tram. And that day, when this little bunch of children came to the tram stop, the conductor said-knowing that we were Jewish because we had come late, because that must have been-he, he must have been aware that that was our special day for staying late for this Jewish education-he said to us that he wouldn't allow us to board the tram because he wasn't going to drive Jewish children. So we didn't know what to do and we started walking home. And it was usual for my mother to wait at the other end to pick me up to cross the street of the tram stop, and of course she was getting frantic because I wasn't on the tram. And finally in the distance she saw me approaching with this bunch of other kids and she was quite angry. She said, "Where were you? Why weren't you on the tram?" and blah, blah, blah, and I said uh, okay?

Just making sure we're still recording, no problems.

Yeah, yeah. So I said, "The tram conductor said he wouldn't take Jewish children." And, of course, she had been frantic and, and so she told my father this incident. And this must have been either late 1935 or there-late 1934 or early '35 as I recollect, because that set my father off and set the wheels in motion. And when he heard this story, he said, "We're leaving." And he said, "This isn't going to end well and I'm, I'm going to see how we can get out of here. We're going to live somewhere else."


And everybody said to him, "Don't do this, you have two young children uh, this will blow over." Uh, his non-Jewish patients said to him, "We'll always come to you." Um, Jewish people said to him, "It's irresponsible. Where are you going to go?" And he said he'd made up his mind. This incident was really big. The focus of, of his...

The catalyst.

That was the turning-the catalyst, that's the word.

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