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George Loble

GL: February 2017
GL: February 2017

GL: British entry visa, Harwich 07.03.1939
GL: British entry visa, Harwich 07.03.1939

GL: Catalogue of Hugo Löbl Sons, built in 1928, the first factory to make plastic, non-corrosive light fittings, Bamberg, 1935
GL: Catalogue of Hugo Löbl Sons, built in 1928, the first factory to make plastic, non-corrosive light fittings, Bamberg, 1935

GL: February 2017
GL: February 2017

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
7 March 1939
Interview number:
Experiences:
200

Interview Summary:

Guenther was born in 1926 in Bamberg. His parents Elsa Fried and Fritz Loebl were also born in Bamberg. His grandfather had founded an electrical supply factory with his brother. Two of the sons, including Guenther’s father set up their own electrical factories. Guenther had two brothers, Willy and Rudolph. After witnessing Kristallnacht and the arrest of their father, the family made efforts to emigrate. Willy went to the US and Guenther and Rudolph were sent to the UK. Guenther was taken by distant relatives on the train to the UK and then was taken in by the Platt family in the East End (their daughter had visited them in Bamberg some years before). He started going to school and learning English. His parents arrived in 1939 and they moved to Belsize Park. His father had sold the factory and got a visa on the condition that he would start a business in the North of England. For some time, Guenther was evacuated to Abbots Langley, before moving to Newcastle.  In 1940 his father and brother were interned in Hyton and he and his mother had to leave their home (as the government was worried about ‘enemy aliens’ in industrial areas). They moved to Keswick in Cumberland, where his mother started working as a cleaner and he started work as a farmer’s boy. Guenther was happy there, as he received good food in a time of rationing. 

And when he [George`s Loble’s older brother Willy] went out of the door he saw smoke rising from the synagogue - which you could just see the top of over the trees - and he came back in. And said, “There's something wrong with the synagogue. It’s on fire.” So we looked out of the window and of course we saw the police and the Gestapo marching some of our neighbours and the Jewish people - men - we knew down- down the street. Of course we had no idea what was going on at all. So… our- we asked our maid to go outside and, and - and see what's going on. And she came back and said. “They're arresting all the Jewish- Jewish men in town and taking them to prison.

There was a prison in Bamberg in the [Obere] Sandstraße. And so… in due course, they came and took my father away as well. And of course we were absolutely frightened to death, because …there didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for it. You know, Father and Uncle and all the other Jews were benefactors to the town, employers - nobody had done any wrong. Their crime was that they were Jews. So …we kept a low profile. Of course my brother didn't go to- to work. And my- our middle brother Ronnie didn't go - and I - didn't go to school. And then we were very afraid of course every noise, because they used to climb on the windows and paint swastikas on or ‘Jew’. And… two o'clock in the morning the doorbell rang, and my father came back from prison. And we, we- of course we were highly delighted. But… he… We said, “Well, how is it that you’re here?” He said, “Well I went to school with the chief of police, and he came to prison and said, “Fritz you can go home now, but I can't protect you if you get beaten up in the street. So take all the back lanes and get home as quickly as possible.” And …he managed to do that. …And then of course we, we- nobody went out for a few days and then it…it, it calmed down. And after about three or four days… father went to work again, but we couldn't go to school of course. We were excluded from school ‘for our own protection’.

We did have one or two teachers who were very decent as far as Jewish boys were concerned. But I also remember our singing teacher who always blamed the Jews when somebody sang a wrong note. “It’s the damned Jewish ears,” he used to say, “who can’t sing the music properly.” Doktor- Doktor Stockmann, his name was.

And when …my brother [Willy] in his Jeep drove into Germany [Bamberg] with the American- American Army, you see, my grandmother’s old cook or maid looked out of the window. And she shouted, “Jesus Christ! There's our Willy!” [laughs] So that's how we found her again. She was a good Catholic. And of course she was very kind to my grandmother. She used to throw food over the ghetto wall when she could.

I have my grandmother - paternal grandmother’s - Heimeinkauf contract. In other words a contract to buy into an old-age home which said, you know, you have so much money, shares, house, money. You, you, you give so much for the journey to the home, the food on the journey, the care in the home. And what’s over, is given to people who can't afford it. And of course… that's how the Nazis took all her money from her. And the care home turned out to be Theresienstadt. So, she paid for her own death

I've talked to school children who have been to the camps through- through the [Holocaust] Educational Trust. And of course… that's where it’s- that's where it's at. They should remember it. They should tell their children. They- They should know what it's all about. And of course there are so many diversions nowadays that… it may well- it may well last another generation or two. But after that, it's history. You know, I always say to children, you know, “I saw this with my own eyes. This is not Cromwell or Henry the Eighth.” But I think eventually… it'll become that.

My family were Germans who happened to be Jewish. Not like a lot of other families particularly from the East, who were Jews who happened to live in Lithuania or Poland or somewhere. There was quite a difference. And of course when Hitler first came around, my father and, and his colleagues who were all- served in the German Army in the First World War, and were awarded all sorts of medals, didn't think, “No, this man with- with the moustache is not going to hurt us” - until Crystal Night. Then they realised that there was no hope for them in Germany, because the country became a lawless country, as far as Jews were concerned. Jews hadn't done anything wrong, but they could be, you know, denigrated and beaten up in the street and this sort of thing.

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