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Peter Pulzer

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
Feb. 1939
Experiences:

Interview Summary:

Peter Pulzer was born in 1929 in Vienna. His father Felix was a civil engineer and the family was very assimilated and completely non-observant. Peter has one sister who now resides in Germany, and is married to a German (non-Jewish). The family was modestly prosperous. They lived in Brigittenau (20th Bezirk). Peter was educated locally but sent to the Jewish school after the Anschluss.

 

On the night of the November Pogrom (Kristallnacht) in 1938, the family's flat was ransacked, and in 1939 they emigrated to Britain through the good offices of a British clergyman (C of E). They settled in Kingston, where Peter attended the local grammar school and later read History at King’s College, Cambridge. He also obtained an external degree from the University of London. He was a lecturer at Oxford University from 1962 and a Fellow in History and Politics at Christ Church College. Subsequently he became Gladstone Professor of Government at All Souls College.

I took the view the one thing one shouldn’t acquire is hang-ups about Germany and Austria. If you get a hang-up, or if you carry resentments around with yourself, the person you harm is yourself. It’s you who suffer, not those about whom you have a hang-up, or against whom you have the resentment.

As we know, whatever criticism one might make of the attitudes of the British government, there was no doubt that the private and voluntary efforts to aid refugees in Britain were second to none. And, in the end, through the good offices of a clergyman’s family in Hertfordshire, we were able to come out in February 1939.

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