THE STORY OF THE SQUARE
Quilt 3, Square 18
Artist: Stephen, Eva and Peter Kollisch
In July 1939, Stephen, Eva, and Peter Kollisch, ages fifteen, fourteen, and eleven, left Vienna on a Kinder Transport for England. Their uncle, a refugee from Hamburg, who had been in Bristol only a few months, found a Quaker family for the boys — the Moars and their young son, Teddy.
This is their house on Bellbarn Road, in the middle of the square. Mary Moar was a teacher and Ashford Moar was a sea captain, subsequently captain of the Bristol Harbor dredge.
Eva was sent to Southport where the host family used her as a babysitter and all-round maid. She desperately wanted to leave. A few months later, a family was found for her in Bristol — Mrs. Baker, who was a mathematics teacher and the sister of Mary Moar; Mr. Baker, who was an officer in the Coast Guard or the merchant marine and two very sweet young daughters, Peggy and Judy. Eva was received warmly at the railroad station by the family and handed a sandwich and the keys to her own room. (In Southport she had had to share a bed with the old grandmother, though it was not for lack of rooms in that house...) Eva was happy living with the Bakers, so close to her brothers.
Stephen did not continue school; he went to work in a factory. Peter went to school and started learning English. He remembers going to the harbor with Mr. Moar, fascinated by the work on the dredge. Crossing the Channel to get to England from Holland had been the first time that Peter had ever seen the sea. Today Stephen is a master sailor and has his own sailboat. Peter, after finishing high school, spent one year in the U.S. Merchant Marine as a seaman, working out his fantasy of becoming a sea captain. He still loves paintings and models of ships and on occasion has returned to sea on a cruise ship.
Eva, a writer and university professor, had to write a composition in English for Mrs. Baker every day; the result was discussed kindly but critically. For a couple of months she was sent to a “business college” in Bristol, where the girls were at least four years older but very kind to her. Possibly Mrs. Baker was influential in Eva’s love of writing and teaching.
Of the two photos on the top, the one on the left shows us the two mothers, who were sisters: Mrs. Moar on the left, Margaret Baker on the right, and little Peggy Baker between them. The photo on the right is a Moar family picture. In the back are Mr. and Mrs. Moar’s parents and friends. In the front, sitting on the green, are (from left to right) Peter Futterweit, another refugee boy the Moars took in; Stephen, with the dog in front of him; Teddy Moar; Peter Kollisch; and Mrs. Moar. The other two people on either side of Stephen are unknown to us.
On the bottom of the square there are two more family pictures. In the photo on the left, we can see Eva standing, third from the right. Further right are Mr. Moar, sitting with his pipe and holding his son, Teddy. Mrs. Moar is standing on the extreme left, and next to her, holding the dog, is Peter F. On the photo at the right, Stephen, in his scout uniform, and Eva are standing on the left, next to Peter F. holding the dog; from the center to the right are Teddy, held by Mrs. Moar, sitting, and Mr. Moar, with his arm around Peter K. who is also in his scout uniform. We do not know who the woman in the middle is, in both of these photos.
About the Kollisch parents: they got out of Vienna separately. The children’s father was able to emigrate to the U.S. via England in September 1939; it was late, dangerously late, before their mother could make her way to the U.S. in November 1939. In February 1940, Stephen, Eva, and Peter left their host families for London where they waited impatiently for a ship. In March 1940, they finally boarded the “Pennland” which took them to New York where they had the great good fortune to be reunited with their parents.
In 1955, Peter and his wife visited the Moars. In 1959, Stephen and his wife visited them too. Mrs. Moar gave each couple a very warm welcome, as Mr. Moar sat by quietly. Peter’s wife and Mrs. Moar started a friendship and corresponded every year. Stephen’s wife also exchanged New Year’s greetings with her. Mrs. Moar took an interest in all their children and gave or sent them some gifts: Peter’s wife has kept a little girl’s winter dress which Mrs. Moar had sent for her daughter, writing that her students had made it, and also a Moar family silver baby goblet. Stephen’s wife received a silver spoon and a Wedgwood piece when they visited.
Unfortunately and sadly, Mary Moar died quite suddenly a few years later. She will always be remembered with love. Eva corresponded with Mrs. Baker during the first few years in the U.S. After that, unfortunately, contact was lost. She remembers the Baker family with affection and gratitude.
Stephen, Eva and Peter Kollisch