Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Tamara Sessler - February 4, 2008

Meeting Other Jews in England

You were in Birmingham for--you were at the orphanage for two years.


And then what happened?

Then it's the interesting thing. In the orphanage we had a plot to grow vegetables not far from the orphanage--I would say about fifteen minutes from there. And one day they asked for volunteers to do potato picking in this plot of ours. I wasn't about to volunteer but the people who came back after they'd volunteer and picked potatoes, they said the most peculiar thing. There's a chappy who every so often puts his hand in his pocket and pulls out a little thing with paper around it, unwraps it--there's a watch inside there--looks at the time, wraps it up again and puts it in his pocket. I thought to myself, "That sounds like one of us. Maybe he's got his watch still from home and it's a big treasure for him so he's looking after it." So I volunteered. Next time I went potato picking I met a group of people--I'd never met religious Jews before with the kippah on his head--and I met who is still today my very best friend. Um, I don't to this day--I've said so in this book as well as in my story--I don't know why she befriended me because at thirteen--fourteen yea...no, I was thirteen then--as I said, I wasn't a very clever child and she was a doctor's daughter and she was eighteen and she was very wealthy. She could hardly speak English and I could hardly understand her German and we became friends. And I've got the picture she sent me to school. She wrote a lot of German at the back. I could understand it like, like Chinese. I had to wait to--for her mother to translate it for me and um, about a year after I left school, I wrote to this girl and said, "I'm going with a friend to Blackpool." I was very English by then and, you know, very ??? English people go to Blackpool for their honeymoon--for their holidays. It's a, it's a very popular place for, for middle class people. Nothing posh there in Blackpool except a nice pier, you know, fun fairs and things like that. I was going to Blackpool with this friend of mine and I send this letter to my friend ??? and she wrote back, "Oh, it's a pity you're going to Blackpool. We're not in ??? anymore," where she was before, "we've now got our own farm which is a hachshara." You know what a hachshara is? Yes? It's uh, to prepare yourself for Israel. "And we are taking guests as well." So, I said to so long to my friend who was going to Blackpool with me and I wrote to ??? that I'd rather come to you and it's so stupid how I wrote, I can pay ??? and would somebody come to the railway to meet me? You know, completely different to what I learned afterwards.

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