Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lucy Glaser Merritt - July 8, 1991

Reactions to the Anschluss

What kinds of conversations went on in your house during this time?

Well, they didn't talk a lot. My parents were depressed at this point, but my father definitely was the one who, who said-my mother wanted us to go to Galicia with her relatives 'cause she thought that might be safe. But my father felt that all of Europe wasn't safe. That we should get out as far, as far away as we could.

Did your family know any, any other Jews that were similarly depressed, suicide that you knew?

Uh, no one committed suicide that we knew, but we knew a lot of people who took different avenues. One of my father's colleagues decided to stay there in Vienna with his wife and daughter because he felt that he could manage. And they all died. And a friend-a patient of my mother's stayed there because he couldn't imagine himself living anywhere else. And he sent his wife and daughter away. And he was a U-boat, a, a uh, underground person and they didn't catch him until the end and then he went to Theresienstadt. And I saw him in '58. He came to see me. He wanted to know about my mother, how she had fared. And he, he said, when I asked him how he managed on a couple slices of bread a day, which I read they got, he said, "You eat too much anyway." His attitude, but he survived. And he had a wooden leg. He had been a World War I veteran. But he opted to send his family out and to stay. My parents knew ??? and he did commit suicide. ??? The lawyer, ???

Tell me about him.

Well, he was a fellow who would always take uh, unpopular causes. And he was a dramatic lawyer. And he was much hated apparently by the Nazis because he had defended communists and all sorts of people. He was very ingenious in his... O...over there you don't, i...in legal proceedings you don't ask questions. You, you present the whole thing yourself. The lawyer does all the talking. And he was very good at it. And when they came to arrest him he jumped out the window. He knew what they were going to do to him. It was very colorful.

Um, how did your mother fare? You said that they was depressed, but...

She was uh, my mother uh, felt terrible about separating from the family. She didn't want us; she did not want to be separated from my brother and myself. And they considered me too young to be away from the parents. You know, at eighteen, in Austria yo...you were considered not really old enough. And she uh, was very close to her own family in Lemberg. And so that, that really bothered her to leave them behind and knowing she would never see them again. Because once you go to America, well n...neither of them left it again.


But mainly she was afraid for my brother. Because at one time the Jewish community believed that they would only take the males, because they had done that for awhile. They arrested mainly the males, so they thought the others were safe. So if you had only one affidavit or one chance to send someone you sent the youngest male.

Were any of the-any of your friends-non-Jewish friends did they surprise you with, with their support of the Nazis in.


the discussions of that sort?

No, one of them did uh, he and his father went out on the Crystal Night and attacked a passerby whom they thought was Jewish and there were he felt proud enough of that to mention it. But the surprise came the other way that at the crystal night when it was very dangerous to come into the Leopoldstadt, one of my friends did come to see how my parents fared. And that was uh, really an act of heroism. No, most of them had been very candid in their support. Those who were pro-Nazi uh, were clearly pro-Nazi classmates. None of them, none of these remembered now.

And how about your parents friends? Were any of them supporters?

There weren't too many. No in the older group they were more inclined to be oh. Well, they would say something like that uh, "I'm, I'm in favor of it. I don't like his policy with the Jews but he has given me pride." It was that kind of thing. Like when he took the war-the part of Germany. That gave uh, many people a big boost and sort of uh, emotional charge, "I've won again" type thing.

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