THE STORY OF THE SQUARE
Quilt 3, Square 15
Artist: Felix Huttrer
I have to thank the Mandate era Arabs in Palestine for my coming to England. My mother had enrolled me in the Vienna Maccabi (A Jewish Youth and Sports organization) in the autumn of 1938. Amongst rumours circulating at the time on the subject of getting out of Nazi-occupied Austria, was one that Maccabi members were assured of an emigration route to Palestine.
The date for my journey by train to Turkey and boat to Haifa was set, and it is not hard to imagine my feelings on being informed a few days before departure that I was not going; apparently the British Mandate Authorities had given in to Arab pressure to cancel the promised youth immigration visas.
As a result my name went on a Kindertransport list for England. I had to wait almost six months for a place on the train which brought me to Harwich in March 1939, as shown on the document.
This contribution to the Quilt is in memory of my family. Apart from myself, the only one in the family photograph who survived was my uncle (left, standing) who was released after 10 months in Buchenwald and escaped to Switzerland and then England. My father (right, standing) and grandfather mercifully died in Vienna. My grandmother and mother perished in Theresienstadt and Belsec.