Jewish survivors of the Holocaust

Simms, Elizabeth (2 of 5) Holocaust Survivors Centre Interviews

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  • Type


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  • Shelf mark


  • Subjects

    Camp experiences

  • Recording date

    2005-11-26, 2005-12-21, 2006-01-11

  • Is part of (Collection)

    Holocaust Survivors Centre Interviews

  • Recording locations

    interviewee's home, London

  • Interviewees

    Simms, Elizabeth, 1922- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Feather, Jill (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 2: Continued to talk about her father’s business and onto the fact that her brother, Charles, was already in England in 1938. That they had all learnt English and described their teacher who was English and taught them English. Her brother came to study textiles at Leeds University – this saved his life. Her father had put a large sum down as a deposit for them all to go to Australia but they didn’t go. In the end her father couldn’t leave. 1944 they woke up and they heard that the Nazis had come in during the night people didn’t know what to do what to grab. “22nd March SS team marched into our house. Didn’t know what to do for the best – gave few clothes to relatives and put on as many clothes as possible – tried to hide some jewellery. On 25th March and took us away and Annie (the governess) was crying.” She stayed behind with SS people while she and her parents were taken away. 25 minutes to get ready. Left the diamonds hidden with Annie. Elizabeth was 21 at this time. Remembers going in a large car and asked where they were being taken. Celebrated 22nd birthday in a concentration camp. They were locked in women separate from the men. All scared. But she felt someone was watching over them. A memory at a time of Jewish Passover remembers having cholent for first time in her life. Talked about the boy she should have married – he was taken to a labour camp in Russia. Had been engaged to be married before this. Described some of the incidents in the camp – mock executions. Still room for anger. They were in camp for six months and then released – change in Hungarian government. Talked about Annie (her governess) and how she was treated – claims she could have been saved but was refused medical treatment. Talked with sadness about the fact that neither her father nor Annie realised that she, Elizabeth survived. More about politics and the then Hungarian government. Called up to do 2 weeks of forced labour. They were marched at night so that general public didn’t know what was happening to them. How she escaped – she felt it was better to be shot than to be taken to Germany – she stepped out of line as it was getting dark, and just followed her nose. Went into a cellar. Made up her mind she was going to go to a school friend. Stayed in their home and after a few days realised not safe for any of them. Contacted her mother who came over – mother hadn’t been taken because she was over 45. Mother looked terrible she looked so different. Talked about Swiss’ protected house. Quite a few protected houses – but didn’t protect them. Called Swiss protected houses because they had Swiss passports in 1944. Not as good as having a Swedish passport.

  • Related images

    'I Got Away' Poem by Elizabeth Simms

  • 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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