Jewish survivors of the Holocaust
Fleischer, Meir (1 of 3) Holocaust Survivor Centre Interviews
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Holocaust Survivor Centre Interviews
Interviewee's home, London
Fleischer, Meir, 1934- (speaker, male)
Feather, Jill (speaker, female)
Part 1: Background: Born in VIENNA, AUSTRIA. Details of where he lived, his apartment, his earliest memory when he was two and a half years old. One sister, SONJA two years older than he. Describers their relationship as very close. Father born in ROMANIA in 1899, Dec 11th. Mother born in POLAND 14th November 1900. Both had horrendous early life. Home grown persecutions in ROMANIA. Father had to run away because of problems. Grandfather born in 1873 and grandmother in 1875. They had eight children father being the second youngest. Father spent early life running. Arrived in VIENNA at time of economic depression. Father had learnt tailoring. They were tailors for the Rabbis. Not much money in it but a lot of honour. Mother’s father was LEISER WEINMAN. Mother’s mother was named GLASNER. Five children, 3 girls and two boys, the boys killed by Nazis in 1938. Youngest girl survived AUSCHWITZ and sent to ITALY after the war. Told stories of how Jews were massacred. As a result mother brought up in Jewish orphanage with very little Jewish knowledge. Met his father when she was 25. She was a dressmaker by profession and very talented. Lived with future in laws to learn about Judaism. No schooling and no cheder. (Hebrew classes). Remembers having to wear his sister’s dress. Remembers not having his haircut until he was three years old. Told how he was impaled on railing by nazi youth (paused to recover himself). Mother told him not to cry out. They would have killed him if he had screamed. Kristallnacht – told of terrible sights (cried as he told of how he saw it) – he was just four years old. With his uncle FREDDY, not orthodox and married to his auntie. His uncle took his hand and they ran. Not recognised as being Jews. Uncle FRED saved his life. Never forgot what he had done. Later on when FRED died in his eighties MEIR said Kaddish for him as he had only one daughter. Remembers going with parents to get exit visas. Remembers parents taking them to railway station for Kindertransport, never any room. One child was returned to her mother and his mother managed to squeeze his sister in – it was already 1939. No idea where she was going. They were thrown out of their apartment at this point. Can’t remember where they lived until they finally left for ENGLAND. Next thing he remembers is being on a train – it was a corridor train. Described an incident on the train. Father hit on the chest and they threw away his tallis and tefillin. Nothing for it but to go on. Remembers the sort of flat country that they travelled through.. Put on the boat to HARWICH. Remembers landing and the next part of the story his mother told him. They came out on a Quaker transport and his parents were claimed by Lord Sadler who wanted them to work as butler and cook for him. Gave a bit more information about this. And then went on to tell how he as a little boy had no immigration papers but managed to get in to Britain as the result of the kindness of the immigration people (Cried again as he told the story – he said Her Majesty’s government had a heart) Taken to a temporary Jewish shelter. He was separated from his parents and put in a convent. Nuns were kind to him. Taken to a family in MIDDLESBOROUGH, Jewish family who were wonderful to him. At this point parents didn’t know what had happened to them, they were not allowed out of London, treated as aliens. As soon as they were able to they got their parents, they found their daughter who was in a Jewish hostel for girls. They then went to collect him from MIDDLESBOROUGH. Talked about the various schools he went to, how he was beaten up. Remembers Sept 3rd he could understand the announcement that war was declared, so by this time he could understand English. Parents set up home in London in a second floor flat in HIGHBURY. Both employed. Bombing started and he remembers the terrible smell of smoke and the fires. Bombing got very bad - too dangerous for children to be in London so they were evacuated- taken to St Pancras station with their suitcase s and sent to a village in LEICESTERSHIRE – were treated very cruelly by this farmer (name MILLER). Tied them up during the day and released them at night time. Authorities found out and they were rebilleted and to nice family this time. In later years they met again. Told of his time in this village, going to church, etc. what he ate and the story of the eggs. Returned to LONDON, went to 11 different schools. From LONDON he was sent to a family in NOTTINGHAM and then to BLACKPOOL.