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Lillian Heyman

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
February 1939
Mode of Arrival:
Domestic visa arranged by future husband who had come to the UK in 1936

Interview Summary:

Lillian Heyman, nee Liselotte Rosl Lachmann, was born 1919 in Berlin. She left school at 16 to train as a window dresser and worked in the big department shop ‘Kaufhaus N. Israel’. Her future husband Ernst Heyman (Ernest Heyman) who had been in the UK since 1936 put an advertisement for a domestic position in the papers (which she reads out at the end of the interview). Lillian came to the UK in February 1939 on a domestic visa. She later found work as a window dresser. She now lives in London and has two children. 

I remember clearly on the day Hitler was elected, I went to a birthday party of a non-Jewish friend from school. We listened to the news and heard, and I was terribly depressed and worried. I knew how my parents would feel. We realised that we’d have to do something, although one didn’t think of emigration at that time. We hoped it wouldn’t last for very long.

My husband decided he wanted to see Berlin again and we went by train through Holland. Where the East Germans came in it felt just like the Nazi period again: dogs outside, everything dim, towers where they overlooked the zone. Then arriving in West Berlin with bright lights- was extraordinary. I went to the first flat where we lived for fifteen years. I stood outside and desperately wanted to go in. A foreigner opened, a young woman, probably Turkish, I told her I used to live there as a child, so many years ago. She let us in. It did something to me; it helped me immensely, contrary to my expectations. It helped me.


@ Refugee Voices 2020

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