Transcript of Bessy Schiffenbaum's interview
"My father learnt his trade here in this country. When he came over
here he didn't have a trade
he was what you would call today a white-collar
worker in Austria
he came like most of the Jews from that part of
Europe because there was no work, because he didn't want to be [in the
Army] he was a reservist of the Austrian Army, and he didn't want to do
anything like that - he had a wife and four children at the time. He left
the wife and his family in Austria, came over here; and my three uncles,
my mother's three brothers, were cabinet-makers from abroad - they were
very good cabinet-makers. They taught him the trade."
"But I remember coming over and mother was with three children,
there were two boys and myself - my sister was born in this country
agent would meet you at every port or station or whatever. We went overland
as far as Bremen where you were to meet the boat to come to England and
my mother got lost in Bremen... My younger brother wasn't very strong,
and she carried him on her arm - she was 26 my mother when she came to
this country or 27... And I remember my mother just standing there waiting.
Everybody ran to meet this [agent] and mother had two children and she
couldn't run with the two children - and she was lost... This agent was
just as anxious to find us as we were to find him..."
"I remember that she was so overjoyed at meeting
this man that she took his hands and she kissed them. I remember that
so clearly. And we went on to this cattle-boat - that's all I can describe
it as! There were a lot of women girls from Hungary going to America on
the same boat as myself ... and [they] took me under their wing as it
were. And I remember they gave me chicken to eat. Mother, when she was
a little better [from the sea-sickness] she said what is, what am I eating
and I said I didn't know what it was, I said this lady gave it to me and
mother said 'Throw it away, it's trefa [forbidden], it's not kosher'."