Were you in school when you were younger?
Yes, I attended three grades. I went through the third grade. And I understand that all the children - it's not like here today, you know, you take your children in the car and you drop them off or you have a carpool - all the children walked together to school. My school was about twenty minutes of a walk from home. So I guess I started walking when I was in the first grade already. We just go with a whole stream of little children.
Did your sisters attend the same school?
My younger sister Lisa, of course, was too young because when we left Austria when she was four years old. My older sister was already in a middle school when I was in the elementary school so we didn't go to school together.
There were two separate schools?
Did you have good relations with your neighbors and the other people in the neighborhood?
Yes, before the Anschluss. I don't remember that in that compound that we lived in, I don't remember that any of the other neighbors were Jewish necessarily. But our relations were very good with our neighbors.
Do you remember your parents being pretty friendly with other families in the neighborhood as well, or was it just you and your sister?
Well, they were friendly - I shouldn't say "they", because my father was not home a lot of the time, he worked as a shochet, that's someone who does ritual slaughtering of animals, that's an ordained position. So, he worked for two major hotels, one in the Alps of Vienna and one in Italy. So there would be a summer season or a winter season and in between he would come home for certain months. But, at this time the hotels had closed down, just about a year before the Anschluss. So that's how come I remember him sitting by the radio, constantly looking very worried and both parents being very worried.
But, I think you asked about friends, did they have friends in the neighborhood. My mother was friendly with the most immediate neighbor, like next door. I don't believe that there were any Jews living in the compound, actually. We were the only Jews, and that became a real problem, very soon, after the Anschluss of course.
Before the Anschluss happened, do you remember other children being mean to you?
Not at all, I never experienced meanness, no. Running home and crying that someone hit me or anything, nothing like that. I've been told that I went to school everyday. I stopped in the third grade; I don't remember a thing about it. Just to give you the idea of how safe life was, I understand that I went to an elementary school which was twenty minutes walking distance from my house and I would just go out of the compound and walk with other children. It was like a long trail, through a park. Just children went, they all went together, no adults.
I mean this is what I've been told, I don't remember this. In fact I don't remember going to school. But I know I did because when I came to the United States, I could speak and read and write German, so I did. But I haven't uncovered the secret of that little piece of amnesia.
So there a bigger Jewish population outside of...
When did you first notice any anti-Semitism in your town?
It happened just over night. Just like that! Just like that. My parents probably - I had heard them talk about the feeling of encountering anti-Semitism all over the place. You know it's like a feeling when you're close to someone who feels hostile towards you - you sense it right away. I used to hear them talking about that, but there were no overt signs.