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Anita Morris

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:

Interview Summary:

Anita Morris, née Katz, was born in 1920 in Stanislavow, Poland. Her parents were living in Vienna (2nd district) but her mother went back to Poland to be with her own parents when having her last child. Anita’s mother, Amalia, came from the Horowitz family. She had four brothers, of whom two ended up in Palestine. The two that remained in Poland perished with their families in the Holocaust. Her parents – Anita’s grandparents, later came to live with them in Vienna, and the family moved to a bigger apartment in the Obere Donnau Strasse.


Anita’s father Julius Katz had a brother and a sister. He had a business importing razor blades and knives, and had two offices, one in Vienna and one in Poland. Julius and Amalia married in 1905 and had two children in Poland before moving to Vienna. Their second child died aged 11. 


Anita describes her childhood as a happy one. She belonged to the Hakoah swimming club and attended dancing classes, and her activities included ice-skating and step-dancing. She attended a primary school, which was mostly Jewish and had Hebrew lessons. Her older sister married and had a baby girl, and they lived in the family home. Anita’s father died when she was 12 and her brother-in-law tried to continue the business. Anita left school at 16 and went to learn millinery to help support the family.


In March 1938 the Germans invaded Austria. Anita’s brother fled to Italy, and later arrived to the USA and joined the American army. Her brother-in-law left to Poland. She and her mother wrote letters to many members of the Katz family in England and America asking for sponsorship, but none replied. In 1938 Anita managed to move to Manchester with the help of a friend, Mrs Reiss. She worked for a family of nine children called Segal, and was happy there.


In December 1938 Anita’s niece arrived to England on the Kindertransport, and the Segals sponsored her sister to come as well. Her mother also came in 1939 with help of the Quakers. The four women rented a house in Great Cheetham Street where they took in lodgers, most of whom were refugees. Later Anita went to work as a milliner and in 1942 married Mark, one the of the sons of the Segals. Mark worked in his father’s factory making uniforms.


Anita’s sister died in 1950 and her niece emigrated to the USA. Anita and Mark had two children, Alan and Linda.

While I was in school it was arranged for girls to stay with a family looking after a child who would like to learn German. So I went - I must have been 16 - to Hungary, to the Balaton Lake, to a Jewish family, farmers, which was a most wonderful experience. I had to look after Stella who was 12. I had never been in a farm. They were happy to have me. And they had a horse and cart, and we used to pick up peaches and melons and all sorts of things. It was a different kind of life than we had in Vienna, as you can imagine.


@ AJR Refugee Voices 2020

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