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Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
1 June 1939
Robert Norton was born Neubauer in 1932, in Teplitz-Schönau (Teplice), Czech Republic. His father was affluent, owned his own knitwear factory and business, and the family was assimilated. They fled to Prague in 1938 when Sudetenland was occupied by Hitler. Then in 1939 they escaped via Hungary to Britain on a transit visa to the USA, but were allowed to stay permanently in the UK. They lived in London, then settled in Leicestershire, where father set up a small textile business. They integrated well into local society. Robert’s education was disrupted, but after marrying he made a career as an export sales manager in large textile companies. He then set up his own business.
We moved to Prague, then still an independent protectorate on its own. Hitler promised to leave it alone if he got Sudetenland. I never went to school in Prague because, again, every school my parents took me to, each time the teacher said, ‘We are not taking German Jews in here’.
My father got an exit visa more easily because he was a neutral Hungarian. He said, ‘I want to go home, to my country’. He hadn’t lived there for thirty years but that’s what he told the Gestapo and that’s what they allowed us to do. So, we went to Hungary one day with suitcases. Got on the train in Budapest, went to Vienna with the ‘Ausweis’, the permission to cross German borders, from Vienna we went across Germany to Holland.