Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Tamara Sessler - February 4, 2008

Experiencing Anti-Semitism

Well, let, let me stop you for a second.


When you were in Vienna, did you experience any anti-Semitism when you were a child?

Yes, twice. First of all my sister has some tackle with some Hitler Jugend. They threw her against a shop, you know, the shops had these iron shutters then, you know curly ones--rounded shutters and they threw her against it and she came home injured near the, near the ear. And I, I was a very stupid little girl at ten. Nothing, nothing clever about me at ten. In fact, one of my teacher's said, "How is it possible that you're so stupid when you've got two such clever chi...clever sisters?" I didn't take this badly. I was proud I had such clever, such clever sisters. Anyway, once I was sitting in class and we had to write something nice about Adolf Hitler. And I sat next to my goyish friend and I said, "I wish we could write that he was dead." And I went home and told mommy that and my mother went into a panic. Never--should she rest in peace but she always panicked quickly--but she said, "For God's sake she's going to tell her parents. Her parents are going to think that we're talking--we talk like this at home." And she--this girl straight away told a few children around. Shall I tell you? I think my grandmother spent two hours going to all these children's homes to explain that I was a stupid little girl and I didn't mean anything and we didn't mean anything, you know, excusing my stupidity. And that was one thing I did. And uh, besides that nothing because uh, I went to school--to the same school but we to afterwards sit in rows, you know, Jewish children one row and the goyish children the other. Apart from, from that I, I was too little to feel much. I know my mother looked very Christian. She had green eyes and a straight nose and once she was stopped on the road and they said she should put on the Hakenkreuz, the--what's it called?


Swastika because otherwise they'll take her for a Jew.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn