Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maximilian Kowler - April 26, 1984

Fate of Family

Well, look, just for a minute--were there any other members of your family um, aunts, uncles, grandparents or cousins, that you left in Vienna?

We left only a grandmother, my mother's mother, in Vienna, who then was deported to Theresienstadt and uh, never came back. Um, the rest of our family, everybody left before--I'll see if I remember correctly--yes, they all left before us. Uh, no, not all. No, no, no, no, no, they all left--some before and some after us, but all left in a legal--on a--in a legal way. But my mother's brother, my mother's brother was caught in Vienna before anybody else because he was a big clothing manufacturer and the rich and important people--industrial people--the Germans--actually the Gestapo, came to look immediately and he was arrested, and he was in the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, which was the famous hotel of the Gestapo. It doesn't exist any more; it was bombed on the--near the, near the Schwedenplatz. And uh, my father was very instrumental, matter of fact, in getting him out of there because uh, cousins--a cousin--I remember perfectly--cousin of my father's was a lawyer, and one of his apprentices was a relation of Hitler--young man--and through him we got my uncle out. Cost a lot of money, naturally. He got him out, and they put him on a boat--on a small boat, and coasted the March River, which is the border of Czechoslovakia--send him into Czechoslovakia and from Prague he flew to London--at that time there was still flights from Prague to London without, without landing in Germany. They overflew Germany. Uh, everybody else got out, either to uh, Mexico, some to England uh, everybody got out but my um, grandmother. She was too old really to emigrate somewhere, you know? And so she got caught and died in Theresienstadt.

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