Jewish survivors of the Holocaust

Simms, Elizabeth (4 of 5) Holocaust Survivors Centre Interviews

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  • Type


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  • 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 4: Went to Leeds – that’s where her brother was living. Elizabeth spoke quite reasonable English. Not very much help from Jewish community when they first arrived. They had found it very dangerous to be Jewish when they were in Hungary. Brother had married in England before they came over the first time. She was not Jewish, but came from a ‘good anti-Semitic family’ (Elizabeth’s words). Her mother was not happy in England so she went back to Hungary but by the time it came to 1950 it was not alright to be there. So in 1956 she came back to England by which time Elizabeth had got married and was divorced with two young daughters. She had married a Hungarian He came from the country and they had very different backgrounds – he was a watchmaker by profession. Only knew each other for 3 months before they got married. Mother was put in prison for trying to leave the country illegally. Eventually she was allowed out as she was over sixty. Mother only met Elizabeth’s husband once as Elizabeth was already separating. Moved to Reading and then to London 1964. Worked in a factory and then was able to teach languages. Her brother died at 75 (cancer) Didn’t get on with her sister in law until after her brother died, then she and her sister in law were the best of friends. Children were 14 and 11 when they moved to London – the girls were at boarding school. Difficult to get a flat. Mother died at age 92 in 1984 Asked why she had decided to give this testimony – she said it is history – also people have asked her to tell what happened to her – so it is much easier than writing it down its good to have the tape so that they can listen to it. Talked about her name Elizabeth Simms – she changed her name as she didn’t like her husband’s name. Became Simms even before she divorced. Talked about the various parts of London in which she lived. Her daughters never kept in contact with their father. On one occasion they went to meet him and he didn’t turn up. He wasn’t a good husband and an even worse father. Talked about his failed relationships with women at some length. He died young. The influence he had on his daughter Annabel’s life. The youngest daughter Kate was too young to be permanently affected by him. They were eventually made homeless, because even though he had promised them the house – when it came to it he laughed in her face and they were left homeless. The worst thing about him was his constant bad behaviour to the children. Said how Jewish she and her children still feel. Talked about how Jewish women and women in general are very tough. Ended this testimony by arranging to sing s song of her late father’s to finish the testimony.

  • 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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