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My Father’s Life: In His Own Words

John David XXXXX (Dahvid ben Friedl)

1930 – 2008

Just after my father received the news that he had pancreatic cancer, he jotted down some notes on his life.

I am reproducing them below, as he wrote them.

JOHN DAVID XXXXX, born Joachim David XXXXX on 28.5.193O in Landsberg an der Warte, Province Brandenburg, Germany.

We lived in a small Dorf (village) called Lipke, where my father had our house and Government Veterinary Practice for the State of Brandenburg.  In our house were my mother, father and housekeeper, who had been my father’s nanny.

Hitler came to power in 1933 and all Jews lost all Government positions, except people like my father, who were WWI veterans with certain medals.  Hitler assumed absolute power in 1935, which meant NO JEW had any rights in Germany.  This meant that any Jew in Germany was living in a large concentration camp, with every German a concentration camp guard, with the power to do what he liked.

We left Germany in 1938 on a cargo boat with ten passengers, at top speed of 4-5 knots and arrived in Adelaide, South Australia, several months later.  We then went on to Perth, Western Australia, where my parents and I stayed for the rest of our lives.

After the war ended in 1945, we learnt that my mother’s mother, Berta Szaal had survived the Warsaw Ghetto and Auschwitz and my mother succeeded in getting her to Australia in 1947.  My mother had two first cousins, Willie and Lotte Glucksmann, who survived and got to America.  That meant very few survived from a family of 168 people.  My grandmother died in 1954, and her tombstone in the Orthodox Jewish Cemetery is the only one to describe how our family died.

My father died in October 1967 and my mother died in October 1988.

My father – Dr. Hans XXXXX – got his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the world renowned University of Giesen, Germany.  He studied after doing four years front line fighting in WWI, in the trenches, on both the French and Russian fronts.  He volunteered with the rest of his non-Jewish class in high school at the age of 17 years – was wounded twice – suffered typhus at the end of the war and was discharged, with medals.

My mother joined my father as his assistant, both in Germany and Australia and received restitution from Germany until she died, just as my father had.

I, JOHN DAVID XXXXX, arrived in Perth with only my parents..aged 8 years.
First residence, one room in a boarding house, Cnr. Norfolk Street and Hyde Park Road, North Perth.
Second residence – one bedroom unit in Pier Street, Perth.
Third residence – condemned house – 74 Stirling Street, next to horse stables, at back, which had been converted to a sort of veterinary practice.
Fourth residence – one bedroom house in Nedlands, with sleepout and extra bedroom added on top of garage.  This was our best residence in Perth.  It was an old house, built before WWI – 64 Tyrell Street, Nedlands.

I have a few distant cousins in Israel, who we have lost touch with, as they are 3rd generation of the original refugees, who were able to reach Israel, before, during and after the war (WWII)

I am classed as a holocaust survivor.

The name of my concentration camp was Hitler’s Germany 1933-1938

I am proud to say that I don’t need any explanations to describe what my parents and I went through.

My father had to leave his sick, widowed mother behind in a camp.

My mother had to have an abortion to be allowed to come to Australia.

I will be posting more about my dad’s life during the next weeks and months.

In the meantime, you can hear him on the last podcast I recorded.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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