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Ursula Gilbert

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Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
16 March 1939
Experiences:

Interview Summary:

Ursula Gilbert, nee Ursula Brann, was born 1923 in Berlin. Her father was a banker until the Wall Street crash in 1929. He then opened a Russian delicatessen shop. Ursula went to the ‘Haushaltsschule Lenitz’, outside Berlin, to prepare for emigration. Father was involved in the Jewish community and helped to organise the Kindertransport. She left Berlin on a Kindertransport on the 15th of March 1939. She first stayed with a religious family in London and then lived in various hostels and Boarding houses. During the war, Ursula did various ‘war works’. Her parents and sister stayed in Berlin until 1943 and were deported to Auschwitz. Her parents were very close friends of the last president (1940-1943) of the Jewish community in Berlin, Moritz Henschel. Ursula married in 1949 and has two children. She is a member of Belsize Square Synagogue. 

VE Day... Everybody was so happy and so you know…That was the unhappiest days of my life perhaps because then I heard… Up till now I could hope and think you know perhaps one day I’ll see them [her parents and sister] again. If I haven’t heard by then, I won’t hear any more - That’s the end of it, the end of hoping.

Well the only way I can explain it perhaps you know…My happy family life was interrupted and I lost my parents and my sister. And I tried to work myself up to a sort of a useful and nice enough human being. I found my own family and I managed to study so I’ve got something I can say I can be proud of. I’m happy and I’ve got no regrets really. I mean all the things that happened to me in war time and being a refugee I can only make Mr Hitler responsible for it – nobody else. And that’s how it is and I had to come to terms with that. It’s no good saying I resent it in any way because that’s how it is.

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@ AJR Refugee Voices 2020

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