Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lucy Glaser Merritt - July 8, 1991


And these were all Austrians.

Yes, they were all.

They were not German imports.

No, there were no German imports. I--you know, I would know the moment he opens his mouth with he's an Austrian or not. There were no German imports. These were all, it was all native talent, native talent. None of whom have any memory worthy of the name.

Um, what did you think the cause of this was?

I don't know, I could never understand prejudice until I came to the States and I had an opportunity to learn how it functions. Because uh, there were so many minorities and you could form prejudices yourself. In fact, the first time I really found I was guilty of being prejudiced was in the Arab situation when the Arab students were so hostile. I was beginning to generalize. The minute I heard an Arab name I would have a reaction which was negative, which I have overcome at last. But I think that's what they must have done. They must have trained themselves to overcome, to-the minute they hear the word Jew they see someone who takes advantage of them. It had to do with the economics there's no question about that. And the fact that Austria ha...suddenly had a big head and no body. Vienna was two million, Austria was six. It-Vienna has shrunk since then. I don't think there're two million anymore. There was a lot of pressure, economic pressure, and when there is economic pressure you look for places. And there were religious feelings too. Many of the, many of the priests in Austria, especially in the countryside, were quite anti-Semitic. It was part of this "you have killed," you know, "the savior" type thing.

There was a housing shortage as well, I think.


There was a housing shortage as well, I think, in '38.

I wouldn't be aware of that, because you see, because those things I had nothing to do with. But there was uh, there was unemployment, I heard about that.

But when, in November'38 did you know about the murder of Vom Rath and.

Yes. That had been in the paper. Yeah.

So everybody was aware of what the excuse was.

Yes. Yeah. Yeah, we were aware of that.

What did your father do when he came back from the prison?

Well, he, he was humiliated by the fact that somebody else had pleaded for mercy. That even though my father was military unfit because he was such a klutz and really unphysical type person uh, but he felt that when they made them exercise that they shouldn't have pleaded for mercy. Apparently uh, one of the men had a heart condition and couldn't do it anymore and he begged for mercy. And, of course, they didn't have any mercy. And my father, that was the first thing I remember seeing, that he was furious with this poor man who was sick. And he said they were beasts, that they were doing things just for spite.

So they made them do these exercises.

Exercises. And uh, they addressed him as "du" of course you know, no title. In Austria it was so title conscious. And uh, there was the humiliation but it didn't leave him humiliated. It left him more obstinate.

Did he know any of the SS?

No, but he went looking for my brother. He thought they had arrested him too, so whenever they came in, a new uh, batch, he checked to see if perhaps if my brother was among them.

And where was your brother?

He was home, he never left.

Oh so your father was looking in the prison for him.

He was looking in the prison, mm-hm.

Did they know any of the guards?

No. And these were uh, hey were not policeman. They were in a police station but they were not policemen, because those he would have known.

They were SS-men.

from his work with the ???

Stormtroopers, yeah.


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