IW: In Liverpool
INT: In Liverpool. You were met
IW: By a Mr. Overton who was also from the group of Christadelphians who had arranged to bring people/children over; boys and girls. And there were quite a few in Ashby-de-la-Zouch but I only met one couple because I, I was asked by the Dixons ‘What would you like to do?’ and I said ‘Could I go back to school?’
‘Oh no, no you are over fourteen; girls over fourteen don’t need to go to school anymore’
But I was asked ‘Would I like to earn some pocket money?’ And of course when you are a guest in somebody’s house you say yes thank you. And I would have loved to gone into, I’ve always been interested in medicine and I would have loved to go into nursing but Mrs. Dixon put me off very quickly ‘No, no, no – you need to wash walls and you don’t want to do that.’
I have a feeling she was afraid I might have to go and live with them and she was alright but Mr. Dixon was much kinder and…
INT: How long did you spend there then? How long did you stay?
IW: Not very long. It was a matter of a few weeks and they found me a job as a children’s nurse in, in a huge house where we eventually came… there was Patrick who was eighteen months old and I became charged with looking after Patrick.
INT2: So you were a nanny?
IW: I beg your pardon?
INT2: You were a nanny?
IW: I was a nanny. Well, so called nanny
IW: The young couple who had Patrick, because war was imminent, moved in with the in-laws who lived in a huge house in Snarestone. When I say a huge house… In those days to have a swimming pool in your garden…
IW: It was not exactly a little house of poor people. And there were other staff. The Lesley’s were very kind to me and treated me very well.
INT2: Were they Christadelphians?
IW: No they were not Christadelphians but they were very kind. But there was other staff (because it was such a huge house; other staff) and I think they felt why, as far as they were concerned, (Jewish didn’t come into it – I don’t think they had ever met any Jewish people) – but as far as they were concerned I was ‘German’ and that did not stand me in good stead. So they felt probably – why does a stupid German girl have a job looking after a little boy when one of their friends probably could have had the job?
INT: How did you learn English then?
IW: I had a little English at school and it helped me. That was another thing that was held against me – how can I look after a little boy who is learning to speak the language and my English was not perfect?
IW: Obviously not
INT: So a lot of people around were feeling resentful?
IW: Very resentful. But the Lesley’s were fine. The Lesley’s were very kind and because I looked after Patrick I had breakfast with the family (and that was held against me) and afternoon tea. Again I looked after Patrick with afternoon tea with the family. But my other job was obviously to wash Patrick’s nappies. In those days we did not have throwaway nappies; we had nappies that had to be washed and I did that.
INT: So I sense at that time then you were quite happy and content in one area of
INT: Your working life there
IW: Yes quite happy there
INT: But you were aware that there were people around you that were a bit resentful about you having that position?
IW: Yes, yes but I had a job, I was quite happy there and Mr. Dixon would pick me up on my half day and take me back. I was in the Dixon’s house on my half day and Mrs. Dixon would take me out shopping, if I wanted anything.
INT: So you were treated fairly?
IW: Yes I was treated very fairly.
INT: Alright. So then what happened from there?
IW: From there…
INT: You were in England
INT: You were working for this family
INT: And things were going along. The war was on.
INT: Did you have any other contact at that time with any of the other Jewish refugees?
IW: No, none at all, I didn’t have any contact at all. My half day was spent with the Dixons and at night I was taken back again to my workplace and I did hear a week before war broke out that my parents managed to get to this country and they were brave enough to come as domestics.
INT: Ok so they made it out then and they got over here.
IW: They got out yes, at least they got to this country
IW: And eventually they found a job in West Kilbride which is not far from Glasgow and when they were settled there (that was about ten months later) – ‘I would like to be near you, can you get me a job near you?’ And that’s how I got to Scotland.
INT: I see, ok. So you were sort of the best part of nearly a year then down in England?
IW: Yes, yes
INT: And then your parents, they came over and they came to West Kilbride
IW: That’s right
INT: And then you came up here to join them.
IW: That’s right
INT: Alright. So this would have been what roundabout…19…41?