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SHARING PERSONAL HISTORIES and compelling narratives

Read these personal histones and learn what happened to so many different individuals and how their lives have been shaped by their journey and experience.

Freddy Berdach

I was born 1930 to a lower middle class family, living in Vienna, Austria. I had extremely loving parents and a sister four years older, who sadly died at the age of six from Diphtheria. We were a happy family until March 1938 when the Germans marched into Austria, and finally arrived in Vienna.
Freddy Berdach

Within a few days of the German Army’s arrival an SS Soldier and Nazi sympathiser knocked on our door and told us that we had two weeks to vacate our home. Without many options, we moved into a small flat with my grandparents. Living conditions soon became very crowded, which wasn’t helped by the extra tenant that was living with us also.

This led to my father making the decision to go to Switzerland in order to secure visas for us to move to England. The process was long, however our visa eventually arrived and we set off on our journey.  We had planned a 24 hour stopover in Switzerland to see my father, but Zurich was so nice and peaceful after coming from Vienna, that we decided to stay for a while. It wasn’t long until the Swiss police came and gave us 24 hours to leave the country, so we continued on. The rail journey from Zurich to Calais took a day and a half, and we then took the ferry to Dover on a Winter’s day. We arrived in England, welcomed by grey clouds an howling wind, on 20th December 1938.

We received our Visa on the condition that my mother worked as a domestic servant as soon as Christmas was over. This meant that I was to be placed in foster care. I moved in with a non-Jewish family that lived in Kent, however to make sure I didn’t get emotionally attached, I was moved every three months. Within the two years I was in foster care, I had been placed with eight different families.