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Fanny Pine

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
February 1939
Experiences:

Interview Summary:

Fanny Pine (nee Redner) was born in Beuthen, Upper Silesia in 1921 to parents of Polish origin. Her father was one of 6 from Czakowa, where his father sold milk and ran a sherut type service. He attended Yeshiva and went into the textile business. Her mother was from Czarnow where her father had a wholesale fruit business. On marriage, Fanny’s father went into this fruit business and developed it into a large concern importing many fruits. He had a banana ripening factory. Her father was a Belz Chossid and davened in the Chassidishe stiebel in Beuthen. A memorable occasion from childhood was the visit of the Belz Rebbe to their home. Her father was active in the community with the shul and the representative council she had a frum upbringing, attending the local Jewish school and being taught together with her sister and 2 brothers by private Rebbes brought from Poland by her father. Then she attended the non-Jewish secondary School. She was treated well there but was not allowed to graduate with the others because she was Jewish. She belonged to the school orchestra and choir and to an orthodox Zionist Youth Group. 

Nazi influence did not hit until c1937 as she was leaving school. She then went to learn sewing and typing since these were skills which would be useful. She also went on a Youth Aliyah scheme with her sister to prepare for emigration to Palestine. Her sister emigrated to Palestine in 1938 but Fanny was then 17 and too old for the Youth Scheme. In October 1938 her mother was expelled to Poland. In November 1938 during Kristallnacht the shul was burnt down and her father was taken. He was released a few days later because he was Polish. Fanny’s friend Eva Zucker moved to Cardiff with her family, where her father acted as Chazan and Shochet to the community. She persuaded Fanny to come to Cardiff rather than wait for entry into Palestine. She found a Jewish family there who needed an au pair and she came to them in February 1939 with 2 suitcases. 

She was treated well but only stayed a year since she could not wait to continue training in preparation for emigration to Palestine. She went to the Beth Bachad in London she helped to look after the home and then to the Bachad Home in Grych Castle, Abergele where she was a Madricha for children from 12-16. She also worked for a farmer in the village. Then she moved to St Assaf where she worked as a Madricha with child evacuees from Liverpool. Then at the end of 1940 or beginning of 1941 she moved onto a Hachsharah in Kynnersley in Shropshire. There were c30 boys and girls training there. In June 1941 she married a boy from her home town of Beuthen who was also active in the Zionist movement. They married on the Hachsharah. After a short time they moved to Leeds where Franz (Frank) got a job in the ORT school teaching handicrafts and where he worked for Bachad and Mizrachi as their northern worker. In 1944 they moved to Manchester where her husband worked as a youth leader for Mizrachi. They rented an upstairs flat in Waterpark Road. In 1946 they became hostel parents for 25 boy survivors of the Holocaust in a hostel in Northumberland Street run by the Refugee Committee. That was a very difficult year since the boys trusted no-one and fought amongst themselves. 

My father was one of the agents for bananas from Jamaica and from Africa. He imported them and they arrived, green, on long branches. My my father sort of invented ripening warehouses. We had such a ripening place not far from where we lived. Sometimes big spiders arrived and we had to call in the authorities, they had to first examine them and then destroy them.

In 1946, because my husband had experience with youth, we were asked by the Refugees’ Committee here [Manchester] whether we would take charge of the hostel for children who had survived the camps. They had no formal education; we had to see that they learned the language, with teachers coming to the hostel. I think there must have been about 25 boys.

On running a hostel in Manchester for 25 boys who'd survived Nazi camps: "We didn’t know what we were letting ourselves in for...there were fights going on, really quite serious ones. It was not easy. They did not trust us."

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@ AJR Refugee Voices 2020

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FP: Northampton Street Hostel for camp survivors, Manchester, 1946. FP's husband to the far side. FP and her husband were hostel wardens