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Interview with Yvonne A.

By Dr Bea Lewkowicz

On Tuesday this week the weather was on our side and we were lucky that we could conduct another garden interview with Yvonne A., born in Kassel. As a result of the recent rise of Covid cases in the UK, we are sadly going to have to take a second break from face-to-face interviews and switch back to Zoom.

I was particularly happy that I could speak to Yvonne about her experiences, as I was aware that by chance I had featured a photograph of her and her mother in the ‘Continental Britons’ exhibition I co-curated in 2001. This photo showed Yvonne (sitting on the left) and three other teenagers together with three women in the garden in one of the Refugee hostels.

The caption in our exhibition catalogue simply said: ‘Many young Jewish refugees were housed in hostels’. At the time of the exhibition, we did not know who the women were who were featured and when the photograph was taken. So 19 years later, through Yvonne’s testimony I found out that the photograph was actually taken in 1947 in the hostel on Teignmouth Road, Cricklewood, and that the four girls sitting in the front are Yvonne and her friends Nora, Aviva, and Selma and that the women in the second row are Dr Falk, the matron of the hostel, Mrs Levin, the housekeeper and Mrs Golschmidt, the cook, who was also Yvonne’s mother. We are grateful to Yvonne for adding another piece of micro-history to the bigger picture of the history of the German Jewish refugees in Britain.


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