Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Malka Sternberg - January 31, 2008

Life in England

So, we lived in Hampstead in an apartment and they took another apartment because there were so many children--there were a lot of us. And after two weeks in England I came out with peritonitis--a burst appendix--there was no tele...antibiotics then for us and uh, I remember I was unconscious and I came to on odd moments and I remember that my uncle was sitting next to my bed on the telephone and--do you understand Yiddish?


He was--well, I can say it in English--he was saying on the telephone shouting it, "Let her die under the knife! I can't face my brother if you don't cut her--if you don't operate," because nobody would take me--no canc...hospital would take me. And this was a very good surgeon who operated on the Nazi's that I survived that would get out to England. And I was six weeks in the hospital and then I was okay. So, this I never told my mother because she would worry too much but my father knew. And then the years passed and first we were in Dawlish--the whole family. It was also something that, that went--England went from--when the war broke out and evacuated. Everyone everywhere was evacuated and we had to find a place. We found a place in a place called Exminister but the house wasn't done and we had to--thought it as a weekend it's not going to be much more but we could see it was nowhere near and the woman who owned it was a big anti-Semite--a terrible anti-Semite. Her son told us she was a terrible woman--her son who was only thirteen or fourteen told us she was a terrible woman. So, it was just before Rosh Hashanah, we couldn't stay there. She brought--ev...every night she brought in the police because we didn't put the blackout properly. We didn't know how to do these things, we had just come to England. We never had these problems at home. The police came up and fixed it for us and smiled at us and were nice to us, next day she bring them in again. We saw it was before Rosh Hashanah, we couldn't possibly daven there or make Rosh Hashanah there so my cousin and my youngest uncle--Uncle Toby--they went looking for another place. They ended up in Dawlish. There was another family with us. We were two families on a bus--the whole bus we took up. And uh, in Dawlish we found two houses, one for the other family and one for us. Ours was a dilapidated house on the seaside. That was so wonderful for us, right on front of the sea ca...the wa...waves came into our house. Even when we had the windows close, the windows were so bad that it came through. Everything was full of water but we loved it--the sea.

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