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Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
1 August 1939
Norbert Prager was born in Goettingen, Germany in 1932. He was the only child of a German mother and a Polish father. His father’s brother, Norbert became President of the Hanover Jewish Community after surviving the war in hiding. Another brother emigrated to America where he became a Chazan, Shochet. His mother’s parents emigrated to Palestine before the war. The siblings of his mother emigrated to Palestine, one to Belgium and then England and another to England to the Smithman family.
The family gained permission to emigrate to USA and left Germany on 31 July 1939, arriving at Harwich on 1 August. They came by train to Manchester and Norbert attended Crecian Street School, Salford. War broke out and Norbert was evacuated to Fleetwood to a non-Jewish family, who took him to Sunday School each week, where he learnt many hymns. He stayed until Chanukah and then came back for an operation on his foot at the Jewish Hospital. He was there for months and learnt English. His parents turned their home into a Boarding House and took in 7-10 people. From hospital he attended Broughton Modern. He remembered the Manchester Blitz and other bombing. They hid in the cellar of their house.
His father started a bag manufacturing business with Solly Zucker called Hersol Products and had a place off Smedley Lane. The family attended the Rumanian Shul. Norbert went to MH Cheder in Northumberland Street and to Manchester yeshivah at night. He also belonged to Bnai Akivah. The family listened to the wireless and he went to the cinema. BA met in the house on Singleton Road. He attended summer camps. After Broughton Modern Norbert went to Loreburn College for 3 years and then joined his ailing father in the bag manufacturing business, which he was now operating alone.
Everybody had to have some kind of either job or somebody who could vouch for them in England. So, in August 1939 we had permission to go to America, see? England was only a transit. But being so close to the war, I’m not so sure we weren’t the last boat out- we landed up at Harwich. And then war broke out, so that was the end of that. We couldn’t go to America.
Any message that I’d like to end with? Yes. Peace. Peace. That’s all. Peace in this world.