The copyright of all photographs belongs to individual interviewees. Please get in touch for more information

John Izbicki

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
3 September 1939
Interview number:

Interview Summary:

John (Horst) Izbicki was born 1930 in Berlin. His parents had moved from Kolberg to Berlin and his father had opened first a stall and then a Haberdashen shop on the Invalidenstrasse, near the Stettiner Bahnhof. John describes a happy childhood despite some chilling experiences, once he was tied up in a park and left there overnight and once he was threatened by a strange man in the post office. He fondly remembers the ‘liberale’ Temple in the Oranieburgerstrasse and his parents flat. He gives a very graphic account of Kristallnacht and the attack on his parents shop. He watched from the balcony when the Nazi mob broke the window glass of the shop and threw pieces of glass into the shop. As he knew that his parents were in the shop,  he started screaming as loud as he could. The screaming damaged his vocal cords and affected his voices lifelong. Luckily nothing had happened to his parents. His father applied for visas and managed to obtain a British and American visa. The family booked a flight to the US on the 1st of September 1939. But on the day all airports were closed as Germany had invaded Poland. John’s father went to the travel agent and managed to secure train and ferry tickets to the UK (the father’s brother had deposited £1000 on a UK bank account).  


@ AJR Refugee Voices 2020

Made by BookJaw