Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Anne Hirschle - July 21, 2006


Let me just backtrack just a little bit.

Yes, of course.

Uh, I know you were very young in 1933, but do you remember when, you know, January 30th when the Nazis...

No, I don't.

When Hitler became chancellor?

I, I, I don't remember that. I do remember that as a family we took a trip, we took a trip to, I think it was Lithuania to the seaside, and that must have been about-there was-was it called Anschluss? There was one...

The Anschluss of Austria? That was late. That was 1938.

No, something much earlier than that-'34. Something to do with that part of the world; Lithuania, Latvia-Danzig?

Danzig, yeah. The Free City.

Yeah, and while we were on-this was before I had this incident on the tram, I think-that already ruffled my father's feathers. And my father always maintained that he shouldn't get the credit for having the foresight, because the way he put it, he didn't have very much to leave behind. He said it must have been much harder for people who were wealthier and had property and assets. He said he didn't have much in the way of assets and property, so he didn't want to get all the credit for having the foresight, because he said really, for him, it wasn't that big a deal. Although, when I think back on it, they came to England-my mother spoke a little English, my father's English was atrocious. They had no idea where they would find, whether he would be able to establish himself and build up a practice. So, so it took a lot of courage. But that was one of the reasons he always cited that, "It wasn't such a big deal, I didn't have that much to leave behind."

Still, it's, I mean, a little bit is hard to leave behind with a family and...

With a family and not knowing how you were going to support them. But you might find this interesting-it certainly struck a note with my grandchildren-that uh, on the day when he was packing up, which must have been very early '36 or late '35, at that time you were still allowed to take all your belongings with you, within limits...


...but under supervision. And the um, man who was supposed to supervise what he was packing up in his uh, his dental equipment, said to him, "I'll be in the next room, if you need me, call me." And my father cut open-this must have been a very decent guy-my father cut open the hollow legs of some of his dental um, furniture, which were made of metal...


...he cut it open, he stuck some dental gold into the legs of these, of these uh, things, and then he soldered it. And when he got to England he had a little nest egg of gold in the leg. Of course, that was a risk.


But this-he must have really trusted this man who said, "I'll be in the next room."

Was this man-was he a German like a Nazi official, or...

Yes, he was an official who'd been-his job was to supervise-I guess there were limits on what you were allowed to take, I, I can't tell you that but...


...uh, he was supposed to be there while the packers were packing and getting this stuff ready to be shipped to England. And uh, my father saw this opportunity and he'd been thinking about it, how he could do it. And when the man said, "I'll be in the next room, just call me should you need me," that's what he did.

Well, that is incredibly lucky too. It could have been...

This, this was a great hit with my grandkids.

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