Jewish survivors of the Holocaust

Daltrop, Marion (1 of 5) The Living Memory of the Jewish Community

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  • Recording date

    1999-06-12, 1999-06-20, 1999-07-08

  • Is part of (Collection)

    The Living Memory of the Jewish Community

  • Recording locations

    interviewee's home

  • Interviewees

    Daltrop, Marion, 1926-2014 (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Abraham, Ruth (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Born 14th August, 1926 in Bielefeld, Westphalia. Town the size of Stockport, fifty miles from the Dutch border. Describes the town and house – large terrace. Moved there when Marion was three months old. Brother, Hans (John), twenty months older. Mother’s father died whilst she was pregnant with Marion. Large, extended family in villages and towns around. Mother: Elizabeth Charlotte Daltrop, nee Raphael (Marion likes this surname). Mother’s parents from towns around, but mother born in East Prussia. Mother was not employed. Father: Albert Daltrop, a lawyer, no split between barristers and solicitors in Germany. Describes house and how it is used. Opulently furnished, pictures. Newly built, fields around. No live-in servants. Had mother’s help until no longer able to employ non-Jews. Mother then did all the housework, housekeeping herself. Non-observant family, lit candles on a Friday night, that’s all. Parents leaving children to make up own minds about religion. Story of when rabbi collected Marion and brother – parents out – and took them to synagogue. Marion attended synagogue regularly whilst at primary school. Went to school on a Saturday morning and halfway through took delight in announcing that she had to go to synagogue. No memories before age of four, describes earliest memories, mixed up with what she has been told. Father aware of political changes, gave cautions as to how they should protect themselves. Describes his feelings about political scene. Marion started school at age six and a half, Easter 1933, just after election. Non-kosher house, few German Jews observed dietary laws. Games played as a child: card games, swing, played in street. Physically nervous child. Realised later in adulthood that she had perceptual difficulties, no peripheral vision, impaired hearing, balance affected. Not known at the time. Teased in gym class and club by other children. Withdrew, too little notice. Mother also nervous. Parents made her feel a bit of a coward but also told her to be careful. Never saw a doctor until later on. Remembers little of school in Germany. A few friends, but told by one of them that not allowed to play with her any more as her father would lose his job. Four Jewish girls in primary class – coped. School phobia at first. Ended up having appendectomy aged seven, as brother had needed at the same age. Marion thinks this was school phobia. Both she and brother sent to convent school further away but less anti-Semitic than local state school, Protestant brother had been harassed. Few Jews in the area where they lived. Liked and was good at maths then, and also history. Okay with lessons except for PE and singing. Earned first penny singing, if visitors overstayed, Marion was brought in to sing – she was tone deaf – and drove the visitors away. Father paid her. Neither liked nor disliked school, went through the routines. Liked the two kilometre walk. Brother in different part of school. Describes relationship with brother – good, closer to each other than to parents. Okay with parents. Mother – distant person. Marriage problems. Marion more frightened of her than of father who had tantrums. Strict, controlling, but never expressed it. Neither parent physically affectionate nor showed feelings much. Father uncontrolled at times with own feelings but not on for others to express theirs. Father joked a lot – bad jokes – warmer than mother. Popular, quick-witted, intelligent, also hard of hearing. Lost use of one eye and one ear in World War One, other ear also impaired hearing. Describes how listened to foreign news every night in silence. Physically small, mother a little taller. Lots of interests and friends. Father on boards of various companies, liked politics and photography. Mother also liked photography but father didn’t approve of that. She liked tennis, art and theatre. After 1934 Jews couldn’t go to the theatre. Father – panic with politics. Not in a party, not a communist, but left in thinking, interested in Marxism. Friends similar. Political discussion at home. Tells a story. Marriage – father a womaniser, had many girlfriends. Marion wonders if this was because her mother was so distant, though she wasn’t aware of this at the time. Aware of rows, mother’s distance and occasional crying. Marion cut off her feelings, daydreamed. Brother more aware, mature, outgoing, hyperactive boy, diverted feelings energetically. Went to Hebrew class and synagogue. Enjoyed this. Liked being with people. Aware of being ‘got at’. Obedient child normally but had some defiant spirit. Describes how another Jewish girl, who did not go to synagogue, was treated differently from her. Mother amused by her going to synagogue, took her for the first time. Brother went to Hebrew classes, less often to synagogue, put comics inside his prayer book. Describes books she liked to read. Mother read to her at night, but she re-read them as couldn’t hear them properly. Read more in England. Did not have scripture at convent school, allowed to opt out. Describes how good school was in protecting Jewish children from anti-Semitic exhibitions. Remembers a kind PE teacher, can’t remember names.

  • Related links

    Voices of the Holocaust - link to learning materials based on the moving stories of Jewish Holocaust Survivors on the British Library Website

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