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Frederick Fisher

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
2 September 1939
Experiences:

Interview Summary:

Frederick Fisher was in born Ustriky Dolne, Poland as Gold-Fischer, in 1909, the 5th of 7 children. His father studied Judaism whilst his mother ran a textile business. In 1912/13 the family moved to Karlsruhe to other family members, Fred going to school until aged 15. Then he moved to Frankfurt/Main where he learned the textile business and visited night school, concentrating on commercial subjects. He often visited a Jewish café in the evenings. He recounts various examples of antisemitic behaviour of which he was either the victim or a witness. He left on the 15th August 1939 for England, stopping in Strasbourg (where a sibling lived and where his parents remained). He then came to Great Britain via Belgium. He arrived on 2 September 1939. By chance he met a wealthy man who helped him start buying and selling textiles and he did well, finally having up to 35 employees. He married Livia, a Hungarian Jewish Orthodox refugee from Debrecen in 1942 and through her became interested in the manufacture of handbags, which he also carried on with success. He was found to be medically unfit for the RAF, so he joined Home Guard. He was naturalized early. 

I was fascinated by the theatre and music. In Karlsruhe, the opera. As a matter of fact my parents weren’t allowed to know that I went to the opera. But I loved it so much, so I had somebody took me and I had to use excuses, sometime: ‘Where have you been so late at night?’

I always used to read the financial paper and I liked that you could use your brains. Of course you had to have luck as well. Nothing comes without … But I must say it again: whatever you choose to do, do it with all your…with your full heart, otherwise you don’t succeed. And I was a very hard worker.

Never forget your identity, stronger than anything else. Be proud of what you are doing and be honest. This is what the message is.

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@ AJR Refugee Voices 2020

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