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Interview With My Father: Part Six

A number of years ago, my father was interviewed for the Jewish Migrant Oral History Project. Thankfully, I have a copy of the interview, and I will be publishing excerpts from it in his memory.

Previous installments: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Interviewer: Talking about your childhood memories you were also talking about travelling around to relatives houses…what do you remember of those occasions? Was that a sort of communal assistance?

Dad: It was wonderful. They all went out of their way. I was staying with my father’s family, his mother, who lived with her brother and he was a very religious man, had asthma, and he used to roll his own cigarettes. And because he could see I was bored, he let me roll the cigarettes. There was a theatre in that little place where they lived and through some connection he had a free pass so I practically lived in that theatre. He would come and bring me lunch and I would be watching the movies, Tarzan and you name it. Within reason. My mother’s side was also wonderful. It was also in the country. And I gradually began to know my relations. Apart from my grandparents, I never met them before.

It was Poland, the Danzig Corridor. And things began to worsen there because Poles by nature in those days were very anti-Semitic and when German influence began to move in, they showed it openly. You could imagine it wasn’t too pleasant if you were a German Jew, because there were two counts against you – German and a Jew.

Interviewer: So here you are in the midst of this anti-Semitism but having a bit of a holiday by the sound of things as well.

Dad: Yes.

Interviewer: What other stories do you have associated with that time?

Dad: Well, we got on the boat in Bremenhaven, North Sea, and…

Interviewer: Did you understand why you were getting on the boat?

Dad: No, we were leaving but my life was filled with activity. It was only on the boat that I began to learn what boredom was. But I was occupied and they were… those old people and my grandparents, they knew their stuff. Keep him occupied. They taught me how to ski, how to skate, a number of things.

Interviewer: All the talents you’re going to need in a place like Australia.

Dad: Yes. Anyway, on the boat there was already Nazism. They had a political officer and there were German passengers on the boat.

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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