Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

George Korper - March 26, 2007

Being Sent to England

What, what do you think made your father that you needed to England?

Well, I tell you. I started telling you and then I branched off. So the, so the, so the, the cousin--my mother's cousin, Hugo, Hugo Schick--Hicks, he called himself Hicks in England, but his name was Schick. My fa...father's--my mother's maiden name is Schick, the same name, same family. He came because, as, as soon as, as soon as we took his aging parents from the Sudetenland and set them up, up in a small apartment in Prague and looked after them. They were elderly people. They were somewhere in their seventies--wonderful people. So, he came to visit them and he said, "You got to send George." He liked me. He knew me because he used to visit his parents and come to Prague for a day or two, so he knew me from childhood probably, babyhood probably. He said, "You got to send George and you got to look after him." After my father said, "Well, things are not that bad, you know." He says, "It is going to come. The war is going to come. You got to send him." He did not send me until--my father used to go to, to visit his father's grave, my grandfather's grave at the Jewish cemetery in Prague. It took me along and, bingo, at the grave next to my grandfather's was a grave of the father--of, of the, the grandfather of a very good friend of mine. We used to go with that family skiing three times a year. Good friends of our fa...father's but not the sort of friend where you will keep in sort of touch, not his closest friend. And he says this man is Mr. Levi He turned to him and said, "Hugo you won't--you don't know yet but we just decided Paul to England." Uh, my father's ears pricked up and he came home and he said to, to my mother--I overheard the conversation-- "Listen, the Levi's are sending Paul, maybe we should talk about sending George as well."

[interruption in interview]

We wouldn't be sitting here today.

[interruption in interview]

...and I came--I'm in this--I came deluxe because I had this family waiting for me there. They took me.--they lived in Hendon Central, a very nice place in London, a very nice area. They took me in. I stayed with them. They took me on vacation. So the first six weeks I stayed with them and the two children, one boy a little, a year younger than I, and a girl about two years older than I. They took me. They, they looked after me for six weeks and then they found for me uh, this refugee hostel in Rugby and also a good school, a good grammar school which is equivalent to a high school.

How did they contact Nicholas Winton?

It was in, in Prague. Everybody knew about him.


Everybody knew--everybody was trying to get their children, but with me it was easier because Winton didn't have to look for a guarantor for me. The guarantor was there with the money and everything. So, and, and you know that was also staying with the Levi family which I told, I told you about the cemetery incident. Uh, he also had a very good friend who was living--they were leather tanners. The father was in the, in the leather tanning business. So, he had a friend living in Leicester which was very close to Rugby, a Czech Jew uh, who knew about this hostel being formed by the Christadelphians. So, he got in touch with Mr. Overton, who was in charge with the Christadelphian in charge of the hostel, and he arranged for Paul to come and then the same things were done by my uncle--he found, he found out from somebody who was, who was relative to, to the lady who was looking after the kids in the hostel. So, that is how my uncle found out so he sent me there, as well.

You think it cost him a lot of money to get you out?

No. To get me out? No, it cost him, it cost him fifty pounds. Fifty pounds is an equivalent of $2,500 today. All right? That was a lot of money for a blue collar family and there were lots of those who took, took children. They had to put all the family members--their family members--in England to contribute and, and, a blue collar family didn't have $2,500. No way. It was a fortune. A teacher, a teacher in a good school was paid in 1939 $500 a year or better. He, he, he lived in a nice, small house which he owned fully and he had a car. And, he went on, on--took holidays every single summer and many, many of them went abroad. So, with 500 pounds in those days you could live as you live today on, say, $50,000, $50,000--$60,000.

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