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Ernest Heyman

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
April 1936
Interview number:


Dr Bea Lewkowicz

Date of Interview:

Interview Summary:

Ernest Heyman was born 1918 in Berlin. He came to the UK to study architecture in 1936. He helped to get a domestic position for his future wife Lillian Lachmann. His mother’s sister was Else Ury, a well known writer (‘Nesthäkchen’) who died in Auschwitz. Ernest was interned in Onken on the Isle of Man. He later joined the Pioneer Corps and the British Army. He studied architecture and worked as an architect for the NHS for many years. He is now retired and lives in London. 


Full Interview


My parents arrived back from their holiday. My father took one look at my face and said, ‘What’s happened?’ and I told him. He must have expected it. He didn’t enter his office again. That was 1935. I was still at school, my eldest sister had left for Amsterdam with her husband and young child. My other sister had gone to Palestine.

My parents realised after Kristallnacht their illusions, and that something could happen which they have never foreseen. They agreed to emigrate to Holland, to join their daughter, and left in April 1939. Everything was wonderful for the first few months.

After that sort of dreadful experience we’ve gone through and the horrible things we read about every day, one can only come to the conclusion: ‘It CAN happen again.’ It’s the horrible character, the horrible actions which human beings can undertake anywhere, wherever they are, including Jews. It’s horrible. At the same time, I have not lost faith in humanity. We just have to work towards the improvement, the betterment of our world population.

A letter arrived [for father], which I recognised immediately. It was yellow, a strong yellow letter from Potsdam. I opened it. The letter very briefly said: ‘You are herewith instructed not to enter your office again.’ I cannot remember the details. I discussed this letter with my aunt Else Ury on the phone. She said that well of course we did expect it, which is true. At least I expected it. 2 or 3 days later my parents arrived back from their holiday. My aunt & I waited for their return on the platform. I was very worried to break the news to my father & mother. I still see my parents with their suitcases approaching Tante Else & me. My father immediately said… I had a strong idea that he knew what had happened because he would have read the papers. He took one look at my face & said: ‘What’s happened?’ I told him. He must have known. He must have expected it. He didn’t enter his office again.

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