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Isca Wittenberg

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Sunday, April 09, 1939
Interview number:


Dr Bea Lewkowicz

Date of Interview:

Interview Summary:

Isca Wittenberg was born 1923 in Frankfurt am Main. Her father, Dr. Georg Salzberger, was one of the liberal’ rabbis of Frankfurt (who had been a military chaplain during WWI). The family emigrated in April 1939. They had received a temporary visa guaranteed by friends of her father. Her father became the first rabbi of the ‘New Liberal Jewish Congregation’ (later Belsize Square Synagogue). During the war the family lived in Hemel Hampstead. Isca studied Social Sciences in Birmingham and later became a psychoanalytic  psychotherapist. She has two sons and lives in London. 


Full Interview


We had a centre for Jewish youth right next to us which had huge glass windows. In ‘38 around the time of Kristallnacht that was all smashed up. My parents, they’d gone to try [to] send us children off, to get papers. They were away, but we were next door when this home was completely smashed up. We were sitting - all three of us - anxiously, while this was going on. And my middle sister who was the calm one said, ‘Let us knit or crochet or do things while this is going on.’ She thought to try to calm us down until our parents came back again.

[About her father, Rabbi Dr. Georg Salzberger, his new congregation in London] He could speak to them in German. Preach in German which was his language and always remained the German of his poetry. Poetic language. It felt very much like home. Very stressed people in hard circumstances with little to live on. And so had we - very little to live on. But it felt like a bit of home with a lot of tragedy hanging around us and a lot of worry. But [a] feeling of closeness and warmth and connectedness to the past.

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