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Vera Schaufeld

Vera Schaufeld, October 2021
Vera Schaufeld, October 2021

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VS: At Hook van Holland being met off her Kindertransport train by relatives who gave her a doll as a present
VS: At Hook van Holland being met off her Kindertransport train by relatives who gave her a doll as a present

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Vera Schaufeld, October 2021
Vera Schaufeld, October 2021

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Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
1 June 1939
Interview number:
Experiences:
259

Interview Summary:

Vera Schaufeld, was born Vera Lӧwyova in a town called Klatovy in south-west Bohemia, Czechoslovakia (now in the Czech Republic). Her father, Eugene Lӧvy, was a lawyer and a prominent figure within the Jewish community, Vera’s mother Elsa Lӧwyova (nee Lezeritz) was a doctor, specialising in Paediatric Medicine.


Vera remembers her childhood as very happy. She was an only child and felt loved by her parents and her grandmother, who had moved from Germany to live with the family in 1934. At school Vera had many friends, both Jewish and Christian. Despite being one of the few Jewish children in the local primary school, Vera was hardly aware of being a minority and it was not until the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia in March 1938 that she understood what this meant. Within a few days her father was arrested and the atmosphere of fear grew.


Shortly after the German invasion, Vera experienced antisemitism first-hand from a teacher. She remembers realising that to the teacher she had become ‘the Jew’, losing her personal identity. Her father was arrested and her mother was no longer able to practise as a doctor.


One day, after school, Vera’s mother surprised her by taking her to a small park. She was told that she must go to England on her own. Trying to reassure her, Vera’s mother said that she and Vera’s father would try to join her in England as soon as they possibly could.


When Vera arrived at Prague station, she was devastated to be told that the parents of all the children were not allowed onto the platform to say goodbye. This would be the last time Vera would see either of her parents. Her aunt and uncle boarded the train in Germany and stayed with her until the last station in Germany. Her parents had also arranged for Vera to be met by other relatives in Hook van Holland. Vera has a photo of her encounter with these relatives, who gave her a doll as a present.


Vera’s memory of arriving in England was sitting at Liverpool Street Station, surrounded by other children who had also been saved by Sir Nicholas Winton, fearing that she would not be collected by anyone.


A Christian family agreed to take Vera into their home. They were called Leonard and Nancy Faires. Their daughter, Betty, was three years older than Vera and Vera remembers her as being very kind. She was evacuated with Betty to the Cotswolds. Before the war broke out on 3 September 1939, Vera’s parents would send her presents and they were even able to speak to her on the telephone. After the declaration of war, however, Vera had no further news of her parents and learnt after the war that they had not survived.


After arriving in the UK, Vera had very little contact with other Jewish refugees or Jewish organizations. She therefore decided after the war to travel to Israel to spend a year working on a Kibbutz, where she met Avram Schaufeld, who had survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Vera and Avram were married in 1952 and they moved back to the UK, where they raised two daughters.  Vera continued to work as teacher and became involved with the council of Brent to improve provisions for children whose first language was not English. Vera became a sought-after speaker and is an active Holocaust educator.


Additional Comments:

Many interruptions, as interviewee felt dizzy.


Key words:

Klatovy. Prague. Nicholas Winton. Kindertransport. Leonard and Nancy Faires.

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