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Rudolph Sabor

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
1 August 1939

Interview Summary:

Rudolph Sabor, nee Rudolf Cohn, was born 1914 in Berlin. His father owned the ‘Rosa Lindenbaum’ Ladies Hat shop. Rudolph went to the Prinz Heinrich Gymnasium and later trained to be a teacher at the Juedische Lehrbildungsanstalt (1934-1936). He worked as a teacher at the Auguststrasse School (1934-1936). While his parents and his brother had emigrated to South Africa, he decided to stay in Germany. His future wife came to the UK early in 1939 and arranged a visa for him. He arrived in the UK on the 1. August 1939. He was interned in the Lingfield Race Course and in York for six months. He later became a music teacher, writer, and lecturer and is an eminent Wagner scholar. He lives near London and has two children. 

As years went by, I was firmly convinced that my place was in Germany and that the Nazi hordes were there on ‘auf Abruf’ [on call]. That any day Mr. Chamberlain would march in at the head of his troop with his umbrella and chase the Nazis away. That was what I thought, and it was very foolish, but there it was. And that made me stay as long as possible.

[about Kristallnacht] I was up in the night and I went to the Babelsberger Strasse [Synagogue], and I saw what happened. And that strengthened my belief: this cannot be forever. The people who produced Dürer, Goethe, Kleist, a cultured people like the Germans would wake up any day. It was total delusion. The only thing I can say to make it explicable is that my love for everything German was greater than my common sense.

We had a lovely time in York [internment camp]. It was away from the war, very understanding people who were in charge of us. One was the father of an M.P. today, Janner, a Liberal M.P, I believe. And he kept us there no longer than he could. He made it easy for us to find reasons for leaving. One of the main reasons was bad health. And we had in our company a man with diabetes, and he would sell his urine to people, which we took ourselves to the camp doctor, one by one, and every day one of us was released for suffering from diabetes, except the man himself, who stayed till the end, of course, because it was a marvelous revenue for him. He was the last one to leave the camp. So we stayed for a total of about six months or so.


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