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Elena Lederman

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
8 May 1905
Mode of Arrival:
Hiding in Belgium

Interview Summary:

Elena Lederman was born in 1917 in Milan, to parents who originally came from Istanbul. The family later moved to Belgium, where Elena worked as salesperson in Bon Marché. Elena married in 1940 and her son was born in 1942. They survived the war with the help of the Belgium underground, hiding in forests and woods near Brussels. She came to the UK in 1955 and opened a chocolate business.

Well, I would like the war never to come again. I don’t want any new generation to know what we knew. That is a wish for everybody, and to be a lesson for the new generation not to have any other wars, because when they talk again of the war, I’m not very happy to hear that. You know, it will never be the same thing but one can bring another thing, you know, but I sincerely hope.

When the war finished we didn’t have anything at all, and so we had to start – and then my husband said “Maybe we should go and live in England”, and that’s why it happened, because I got a good record with England and there would not be any anti-Semitism: which is wrong because now it starts, anti-Semitism, in here also, but it never was like it was in Belgium.

I feel English, I feel a part of Britain, I feel I am, but my background will never die. I’m still – as I come from Italy, I’m still a different nature than an English person. I’m much more – warm, I’m different.

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@ Refugee Voices 2020

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