Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maximilian Kowler - April 26, 1984


The following interview is with Mr. Maximilian Kowler at his home in Lenox, Massachusetts on July 26th, 1984. The interviewer is Sidney Bolkosky.

Can you tell me your name and where you're from?



??? we left in July, 1938. We were fortunate enough to have a passport. We spent the last few years before the Anschluß--always spend most of our vacation--summer vacation in Hungary. So we had a valid passport when the Germans invaded Austria, and all we needed then was a stamp by the German ???, we call it, or whatever we call it at that time. Anyhow, we needed a stamp which we got very fast. It probably--I would say that Germany at that time hadn't realized yet how to uh, prevent the people from leaving or under, under what condition they should be leaving, or any of that, so we just had the passport--we had the passport stamped--Austrian passports, with the eagle and the swastika, and we just left make...making believe we are, we are going on vacation. Uh, we took the plane from Vienna to Venice. Uh, I--my father and I--we carried the tennis rackets, small suitcase and a camera, making believe we are going on a vacation, and that was it. No visa necessary to go to Italy. My mother stayed behind to--trying to sell the business--parts of the business, our furniture uh, instruments--my father was a dentist. And, um, in a few weeks naturally the Germans discovered that this loophole, sort of, had to be closed. And my mother got stuck then and she had to buy her way out and buying a compartment on a ???, and the compartment had--was not checked when it crossed the border between Austria and Italy, because the controller of the--of that particular car and the border guards were paid off--that was arranged by a travel agency in Vienna ???. And, in proviso, at the border, that compartment was just ignored. And that's how she came into Italy afterwards, about a month later.

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