Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Hugo Marom - February 8, 2008

Life at Refugee Hostel

Who had come on the Kindertransport?

Who had come on the Kindertransport from Germany and were billeted at number 71 Shoot Up Hill and also in one more hostel nearby where we used to go for, for lunches and so forth. Now, I don't know whether we discussed before that we belonged to this Czech group of Jews...to the Jewish community which considered itself being Czech above all and the religion was secondary and we...that we always prayed at school and so forth to protect us from the Germans, Hungarians and so forth...we are...the five of us are put into a hostel where there are something like seventy German boys. And uh, from the first moment it was like putting the Czech army against the German army because as I said before we did not consider religion important, we considered nationality important.

Were these Jewish boys?

All Jewish boys...

All Jewish boys.

...yet they were Germans.

Of course.

So here was a condition, which resulted in daily fistfights and uh, I have letters from my parents which I wrote that such and such a boy beat up my brother so I beat him up and so forth and my parents' letters to us at that time later on speaks of this condition and tell us, "You're all Jewish boys, what the hell is going on?" you know, that sort of thing. So, that's where he brought us and we never saw this man again, okay? We're talking about the taxi driver. And I can't tell you how long we were there but immediately we were sent to the uh, Harbn School, H-A-R-B-N school in Swiss Cottage, which was like twenty minutes, half an hour walking distance away...there were no buses going in that direction. We all enrolled in this elementary school, which to cut a long story short was bombed during one night...during one of the bombing raids in...if I'm not mistaken...in October, one month after the start of the war during one of these night raids. A bomb fell into the play...into the playground. We were issued either before or at that time with gas masks and within a couple of days we were asked to pack everything that we had in suitcases and we would be evacuated out of London, not being told where to. We were given a label again...each one, each one of the English boys...although we were refugees we were treated exactly as, as the other English children...

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