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Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
1 March 1939
Gertraud Murray (nee Fasey) was the second, much loved child (born 1924) in a fairly modest non-observant Jewish home in Vienna VII (Josefstadt). Her father had to work as a travelling salesman after losing his job in a bank. Her mother worked in the fur trade. She had not progressed far with her education when she had to leave school in 1938, and never resumed her studies, though she later read voraciously. She remembers acts of friendliness even by acquaintances who turned out to be Nazis.
After the family made desperate efforts to leave Austria, she went to Holland on an early Kindertransport, then went with her mother to England, where they had a series of domestic jobs in the Bristol/Gloucester area, including a spell in a holding centre in Dursley at the time of internment. She worked in various jobs in the West Country, including a spell doing war work in a factory. She experienced a friendly environment throughout, but had a hard struggle to work from a very early age. Her father, who had only got to Belgium, fled to France, but was interned at Les Milles camp and deported to Auschwitz. She has a letter that he wrote to her for her eighteenth birthday in 1942. She met her husband, a Scot, in Plymouth, and moved to London (Pinner) with him, then to Brightlingsea near Colchester, and to Berkshire.
I suppose I’m British. It’s very difficult, I’m sort of half and half. I would say I’m Austrian, I was born in Austria, how can I possibly lose my identity? I have a terrific love for the beauty of Austria and Vienna. My loyalty is in England and my gratitude and everything, and of course I like England. But there is something which I can’t explain and it is like a magnet [urging me], ‘go to Vienna, go to Austria’.