Jewish survivors of the Holocaust

Tweed, Inge (3 of 3) Holocaust Survivor Centre Interviews

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  • Subjects

    Resident in Britain prior to 1939

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    Holocaust Survivor Centre Interviews

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  • Interviewees

    Tweed, Inge, 1922- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Goodman, Barbara (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 3: First child of father’s second marriage. He was in his forties, Emil Fabian, Mother 20s nee Annelies Frischmundt, converted to Judaism. They ran a laundry business in Berlin and lived in a large apartment. Assimilated family. Inge’s father died of a heart attack when she was 5 and she has always missed him. Mother remarried father’s cousin Dr Fritz Lowenstein, an intellectual and socialist. They attended Fasenenstrasse Synagogue. Her sister Rosemary was born 1926, but Inge always felt like an only child. 1930 Moved outside Berlin to Mugelheim. New father worked as a social worker, communist intellectual. She had Hebrew lessons in synagogue in Kopenick. She and her sister were blonde, blue eyed, stepfather looked Jewish and she was spat at for being Jewish by other children in the village who had been on Nuremberg rallies. At Hebrew lessons remembers being frightened by attacks. In 1932 went with father to Berlin for Rote Falkon political marches and has memories of the fanaticism of that occasion. 1932 (Step) Father left for Amsterdam as threatened with imprisonment for political views, and she her sister sent to stay with mother’s family. On Jewish holidays went to her real father’s family, some traditionally observant. Disliked her non-Jewish family as not cultured and felt she didn’t belong. 1933 Sisters went also Amsterdam, sent to a religious Jewish school, but could neither read nor write Dutch no Hebrew – unhappy. After 6 months went to non-Jewish Dutch school and then to a more international school. Father expert in Japanese Woodcuttings – Amsterdam was centre of Oriental Art and he lectured (unpaid) in Reijksmuseum, and also tutored boys in Latin and Greek; mother did sewing to earn extra money. Age 10-11 went to Kaiser Wilhelmschule, headmaster, Dr Konig, learned German and went to Spanish Portuguese synagogue. She was voted as a typical Aryan girl and always felt in conflict with her outward appearance and internal Jewishness. Relations (Goodman) owned a bank in Amsterdam – all killed in Theresienstadt. Very little memory of her sister at that time as she was younger and at different schools, no memory of family togetherness – father writing in study, mother working or tried. Played with other children in the street. Education interrupted by all the moves, changes of languages and schools. Family had plans to emigrate to South America and remembers family crystal and books and paintings being auctioned to raise money for the trip. (Max Fabian, her uncle, famous Berlin artist). They all left Holland in 1936 for London and Woburn House found them a flat in Greencroft Gardens. Went to a boarding school with her sister Rosemary. Describes typically English food and how she grew closer to her sister for the first time. Remembers going to a Girl Guides camp in Wales, who, via Woburn House, invited refugee children. September 1936 Went to Hanway Jewish Free School and had fun. Age 14-16 went to Brondesbury Trade School and learnt dressmaking – father said she needed a trade, but she wanted to do Chemistry – hated sewing. Met two Jewish girls there who remained lifelong friends. 1937-second sister born – Margaret Rose – moved the Angel. Age 16 started theatrical dressmaking with Alan Shanks until war broke out when theatres were closed. Father started buying second hand books, collected George Bernard Shaw who he regarded as having the brain of Heinrich Heine, and founded the GBS Society and the British Drama League. Mother not an intellectual and became bitter at having to work, so family life had many quarrels. Father very cultured, theatrically orientated and Inge helped him at tea parties for Shaw’s circle. He later worked for Shaw and was with him when he died. Socially she went to West Central Jewish Youth Club where she met her first husband Gunter Herberg, from Bresslaw. Married at 18 (he 21) in 1941. First time she met young people who came from Germany and got on well with. They lived in Belsize Park, rented an empty flat and sublet a room – they had many friends and joined Bar Kochba and Maccabi. Husband came from an orthodox Jewish family and she loved that. This was a turning point for her – she felt loved, had a home of her own, helped look after her husband’s three young brothers, made Passover for them. She worked as a staff canteen assistant in the Royal Free Hospital in Grays Inn Road on shift work. Husband was also on shift work as an AID welder making bunkers under Camden Town stations – they worked hard but were happy. Husband lost his orthodoxy when he heard his family had all been taken to Auschwitz except for one sister who eventually went to Israel. After the war Gunter bought a Forge in Holborn and made wrought iron lamps etc and also learned electrical work to make money. Became very successful. January 1942 first daughter Suzanna Toni Herberg born. Moved to large garden flat in Shoot Up Hill and sublet. Husband had a nervous breakdown on hearing about his family in Germany. Inge sewed and let rooms and looked after her baby – he was unable to work for 6 months. They belonged to Great Portland Street Synagogue who helped them. 1946 2nd daughter Ruth Elaine born – financially better off: 1961 Gabrielle Natalia, 3rd daughter born. During this period Inge went to evening school as she felt uneducated – literature, design and also learned with her eldest daughter who went to North London Collegiate School as they did homework together. Marriage not good as husband changed, and drank and fell apart in 1971. Inge divorced after her two eldest daughters were married and felt she had given them education, moral values and a homelife which she hadn’t had herself. She had inherited some money in 1967 and bought some property with a friend and converted it into 6 flats for income. Gabrielle still only 11 and went to JFS – Inge had meantime trained as a FE teacher and she worked 3 days a week at JFS. Her old friend Celia died in 1963 and she eventually married Celia’s husband, Ivan Tweed in 1977, from Colchester, who had remained a very close friend of the family. She moved to Colchester with her youngest daughter. Ivan, non-Jewish, biology teacher and had a part-share in a garage. After he retired they started a vineyard and moved to a farm outside Colchester – their dream came true, but Ivan had a heart attack and died in 1981. She was devastated and left with the farm and all the land, 600 vines and 200 conifers. She stayed in Colchester and turned the farm into a Bed & Breakfast Caravan Park and ran it for 18 years. She remains very involved in Jewish matters – is on the Board of Deputies for Colchester synagogue. Has 5 grandchildren and one great-grandchild all of whom have strong Jewish interest, and well educated. She is very proud of them. For her family education and tradition is very important and is happy her daughters are supportive friends to each other as well as sisters. She had another relationship with a friend of the family after Ivan’s death, and he helped her enormously, but he also died and she is now alone but very active.

  • 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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