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Hella Pick

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
April 1939
Interview number:

Interview Summary:

Hella Pick was born on 24 April 1929 in Vienna. She grew up in the 19th Bezirk with her mother and grand-parents, as her parents divorced when she was three years old. She has very few memories of growing up in Vienna. Her real memories start when she arrived in England. Hella expresses a regret over having so few memories. She vaguely recalls her primary school and playing in the park and having a normal childhood. She cannot remember the Anschluss or Kristallnacht. Her mother was arrested by the Gestapo but released the next day.


After that her mother put Hella on a list for the Kindertransport and Hella left Vienna in April 1939. Her mother managed to get a domestic visa three months later. After arriving in Liverpool Street, she was taken in by a Jewish family in London, the Infields, who had three children and sent to local school in Brondsbury. They wanted to adopt her but when Hella’s mother came, Hella wanted to be with her mother. This was not possible at first  but when her mother was employed by the Chorley family, she could join her mother in the Lake District where the family had house. Hella spent August 1939 with the Chorley family. Theo Chorley was a professor at the London School of Economics.When war broke out it was decided that Hella and her mother should stay in the Lake District. Hella was sent to a private school (arranged by the Chorleys).


Hella discusses her career as a journalist and her participation in the Internationalen Fruehschoppen hosted by Werner Hӧfer. She also talks about her work for Lord Weidenfeld and her efforts to create the Weidenfeld Centre for Jewish Studies at Sussex University. She emphasizes that the study of the Holocaust should be contextulaised in the wider context of Jewish life and culture.


@ AJR Refugee Voices 2020

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