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Peter Phillips

Arrived in Britain:
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Dr Bea Lewkowicz

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Interview Summary:

Peter Phillips was born Peter Pfeffer in Vienna 1935. He had a sister called Liane who died three weeks before he was born due to meningitis. His father Marcus Pfeffer was a doctor and had a practice at their home in the 2, Bezirk, in the Ferstergasse. Peter has no memories of Vienna but describes the background of his family in great detail.

While his mother wanted to emigrate, his father thought that it was better to stay in Austria. His father was tipped off on Kristallnacht and their flat was ransacked while the father was in hiding. They tried to emigrate and found a relative who acted as a guarantor in the UK. The family left Vienna in February 1939 and spent ten days in Switzerland with a relative before taking a plane to London. Peter recalls bringing a large teddy bear from Vienna. 

They lived in various parts of London and had to change location because the buildings were bombed. The father was not interned and soon was allowed to work as a doctor in Becontree, where they moved to into a council flat. This was a working-class neighbourhood different from NW3 London. On the week-ends, they made outings to London. While Peter and his mother were visiting Banbury near Oxford, the council flat building, where they lived was hit and therefore the family decided to relocate and the father opened to a surgery in Banbury where he continued to work for many years.

After Peter left school, he studied Jurisprudence in Oxford and started writing articles for the press. He then became a journalist for the News Chronicle and eventually moved to advertising. Peter became a partner in five advertising agencies and co-produced a film, filmed by Wolf Suschitzky ‘Entertaining Mr Sloane’.



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