Fuchs, Emanuel, AHC 2060

Videos
https://vimeo.com/192657324
https://vimeo.com/192668573
Allgemeines
Schlagwörter ALT: 
Wien ; Antisemitismus ; Zwischenkriegszeit
Wien ; Novemberpogrom
Notarrest Kenyongasse
Notarrest Pramergasse
KZ Dachau
United States Army ; Kalifornien
Haschomer Hazair
Wien / Volksschule Schönngasse (VS Schönngasse)
Wien / Neue Mittelschule mit Schwerpunkt Informatik Feuerbach (NMSi Feuerbach)
Schlagworte: 
Vienna ; Kristallnacht
“Notarrest” (temporary jail) Kenyongasse
“Notarrest” (temporary jail) Pramergasse
United States Army ; California
Vienna ; Anti-Semitism ; Interwar period
Hashomer Hazair
Vienna / Schönngasse Elementary School (VS Schönngasse)
Vienna / Middle school with a focus on information technology Feuerbach (NMSi Feuerbach)
Dachau Concentration Camp
Schlagwörter für Suche: 
Wien ; Novemberpogrom Wien ; Reichskristallnacht Wien ; Reichspogromnacht Notarrest Kenyongasse Notarrest Pramergasse United States Army ; Kalifornien US Army ; Kalifornien U.S. Army ; Kalifornien Wien ; Antisemitismus ; Zwischenkriegszeit Wien ; Antisemitismus ; 1918-1938 Haschomer Hazair Wien / Volksschule Schönngasse (VS Schönngasse) Wien / Neue Mittelschule mit Schwerpunkt Informatik Feuerbach (NMSi Feuerbach) KZ Dachau Konzentrationslager Dachau
relevante Bundesländer: 
Wien
Wiener Bezirke : 
2. Bezirk
Person
Geburt: 
Geburtsort (Land, Stadt/Ort): 
Österreich
Wien
Geburtsadresse: 
Schönngasse, 1020 Wien
Geburtsdatum: 
1. April 1918
Geburtsjahr: 
1918
Geburtsorte: 
Flucht-/Emigrationszeitpunkt: 
nach dem ‚Anschluss‘
Vorname: 
Emanuel
Nachname: 
Fuchs
Geburtsname: 
Mendel Fuchs
allenamen: 
Emanuel Fuchs Mendel Fuchs
allenamen anzeige: 
Emanuel Fuchs alternative Schreibweisen: zweiter Vorname: Weitere Nachnamen: Geburtsname: Mendel Fuchs Jüdischer Name:
Geschlecht: 
männlich
Herkunft Mutter: 
Andere
Herkunft Vater: 
Andere
Biografie: 
Emanuel Fuchs wurde 1918 geboren. Er lebte mit seiner Familie im 2. Wiener Gemeindebezirk, wo er die Schule besuchte und sein Vater eine Buchbinderei betrieb. Nach dem ‚Anschluss‘ wurde Fuchs verhaftet und kam zunächst in den ‚Notarrest‘ in der Kenyongasse. Später kam er in das KZ Dachau, wo er einige Wochen in Haft war, bevor er nach Wien zurückkehrte und gezwungen wurde das Land zu verlassen. Mit einem Freund gelang es Fuchs – über Deutschland, Amsterdam und Belgien – in die USA zu emigrieren. Nach seinem Dienst bei der US Army lebte Fuchs in New York und arbeitete als Juwelier.
Interview
InterviewerIn: 
Andreas Barth
Sitzungsanzahl: 
1
Art des Interviews: 
Audio
Dauer des Interviews: 
02:03:04
Sprache(n) des Interviews: 
Deutsch
Englisch
Datum des Interviews: 
3. November 2001
Transkribiert von: 
Lydia Burnautzki
Ort des Interviews: 
Ort des Interviews (Land,Bundesstaat, Stadt/Ort): 
USANew JerseyCliffside Park
Bestand: 
LBI New York
Bearbeitung des Interviews/Schnitt: 
Tom Juncker
Beruf
Beruf/Beschäftigung: 
Beruf (Pflichtfeld): 
Berufsort (Land, Stadt/Ort): 
Berufsbereich (Pflichtfeld): 
Beruf (Pflichtfeld): 
Berufsort (Land, Stadt/Ort): 
Berufsbereich (Pflichtfeld): 
Berufsort (Land, Stadt/Ort): 
Beruf (Pflichtfeld): 
Berufsort (Land, Stadt/Ort): 
Berufsbereich (Pflichtfeld): 
Lebensstationen
Organisationen: 
Organisation: 
Haschomer Hazair - Österreich, Wien
Organisation: 
United States Army - USA
von: 
Januar 1941
bis: 
1942
Ausbildung: 
Ausbildungstyp: 
Pflichtschule
Abschluss Ausbildung: 
abgeschlossen
Ausbildungsstätte: 
Volksschule Schönngasse (elementary school) Schönngasse 2, 1020 - Österreich, -Wien
von: 
1924
bis: 
1928
Ausbildungstyp: 
Pflichtschule
Abschluss Ausbildung: 
abgeschlossen
Ausbildungsstätte: 
Mittelschule Feuerbachstraße (today: Neue Mittelschule mit Schwerpunkt Informatik Feuerbach (NMSi Feuerbach) - middle school) Feuerbachstraße 1, 1020 - Österreich, -Wien
von: 
1928
bis: 
1932
relevante Lebensstationen: 
Art der Lebensstation: 
Arbeitsort
Ausbildungsort
Kindheitsort
Wohnort
Land (Lebensstation): 
Österreich
Stadt/Ort (Lebensstation): 
Wien
computed city: 
computed land: 
Art der Lebensstation: 
Haftort
Bezeichnung der Lebensstation: 
Konzentrationslager Dachau
Land (Lebensstation): 
Deutsches Reich
Stadt/Ort (Lebensstation): 
Dachau
computed city: 
computed land: 
Art der Lebensstation: 
Arbeitsort
Emigrationsort
Militärdienst
Wohnort
Land (Lebensstation): 
USA
Stadt/Ort (Lebensstation): 
New York City
computed city: 
computed land: 
USA
Geocoding Land Lebensstation: 
POINT (-95.712891 37.09024)
Emigrationsort (nur Länderbezeichnung): 
USA
Emigrationsroute
Flucht-/Emigrationsroute: 
Land: 
Deutsches Reich
Stadt/Ort: 
Wien
Flucht/Emigrationsjahr: 
1939
Flucht-/Emigrationsdatum: 
1939
Alte/alternative Bezeichnung: 
Österreich
Land: 
Deutsches Reich
Stadt/Ort: 
Kaltenkirchen
Flucht/Emigrationsjahr: 
1939
Flucht-/Emigrationsdatum: 
1939
Land: 
Deutsches Reich
Stadt/Ort: 
Aachen
Flucht/Emigrationsjahr: 
1939
Flucht-/Emigrationsdatum: 
1939
Land: 
Niederlande
Stadt/Ort: 
Amsterdam
Flucht/Emigrationsjahr: 
1939
Flucht-/Emigrationsdatum: 
1939
Land: 
Belgien
Stadt/Ort: 
Brüssel
Flucht/Emigrationsjahr: 
1939
Flucht-/Emigrationsdatum: 
1939
Land: 
Belgien
Stadt/Ort: 
Antwerpen
Flucht/Emigrationsjahr: 
1939
Flucht-/Emigrationsdatum: 
1939
Land: 
USA
Stadt/Ort: 
New York City
Flucht/Emigrationsjahr: 
1939
Flucht-/Emigrationsdatum: 
November 1939
Transkripte
Transkript als PDF hochladen: 
Transkript Text: 

Teil 1

 

 

AB: This is an Austrian Heritage Collection interview with Emanuel Fuchs conducted by Andreas Barth on November the 3rd, in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. Mr. Fuchs, maybe we can start with your family life.

 

Spricht über
Zusammenfassung Spricht Über für Suche: 
Im ‚Notarrest‘ Kenyongasse
Im ‚Notarrest‘ Pramergasse
Inhaftierung im Konzentrationslager Dachau
Flucht aus Österreich
Antisemitismus vor dem ‚Anschluss'
Wiedergutmachung in Österreich
Ankunft und Leben in den USA
Transkript spricht über: 
Transkript Textausschnitt

EF: […] This is the friend that I went to visit. We hardly sat down, we were going to have some coffee, when a few SS men came in from both sides – it was a Durchhaus. They came in and they took us in a truck and took us into the Kenyongasse, which was a holding place for…because they arrested so many people, they were not prepared to put them up. So, they…and that place was the beginning of a…where you really could foresee…if you had enough foresight, you could predict what this regime was going to come to, because the brutality that was committed in that place was just incredible. It is indescribable. So much so that a week after that, we were sent to a place, to the Pramergasse, which was a place where they sorted out people to go to Dachau and not…I don’t know what the criteria was, but I was sent to Dachau. When I came to Dachau…compared to the Kenyongasse, Dachau was a…ein Erholungsheim. I mean it was…the Kenyongasse: During the day we were in the room and we had to exercise up and down…knee bends. And then we had to go down on the floor. There were 200 in each classroom. And this is one thing that I hold against the Austrian police: The situation was that the police…Austrian police was on duty during the day in the Kenyongasse. That was the order of the way they were proceeding. And at night, at, I believe, six, seven, eight o’clock in the evening, the SS…German SS came on. During the day we had, in uniform, Austrian policemen guarding us. And I must in all fairness admit, they were not as brutal as the German SS, but even during the day we went through…to give you an example: Since I was the youngest in my class, in my group, meiner Stube--

 

AB: --you were twenty, right?

 

EF: I was twenty. I was the youngest. I was a skinny, young twenty-year-old. They came and they needed people to bring typewriters from trucks, because they had to register everybody. Everything was by the book, everything was by system and everybody had to be registered by typewriter. They had tables outside in the halls. There were people sitting with tables and keeping…filling out forms on typewriters. So, they delivered a lot of typewriters. So, they picked me and a few others. And I went down…I was chased down – everything was running…run, run, run – and I ran down and I picked up a typewriter at a time, I couldn’t carry more than that. I brought it up. When I came back into the classroom, where I came from…after bringing up a few typewriters, I was finished and I was headed back into my classroom. There was a podium where…you know the Viennese classes…there is a podium and then there were the seats for the students. And I was told to get up on the podium. There was a couple of others up on the podium and we had to do exercises. What do you call it? On the elbow…laying down, up and down on the elbows--

 

AB: --Liegestütze?

 

EF: No, like this…up and down on the elbows.

 

 

1/00:15:13

 

 

AB: I think it is push-ups.

 

EF: Push-ups, yes…push-ups, exactly. We had to do push-ups. All of a sudden – I was lying on the floor doing push-ups – I saw boots coming. And the guy came over to me and kicked me and said, “Up! Steh auf!” – I got up and he pulled out…he was a Schupo [Schutzpolizist], he pulled out his gun and looked me straight in the eye and he said, “How old are you?” I said, “Twenty.” He said, “How many…gentile girls have you,” he used different words, I don’t want to say it…“have you…haben Sie verführt? Hast du verführt?” I said, “None.” So, he looked me straight in the eye and then he took his gun, a big Luger – you know what they looked like…big – and he hit me on the side and then he said, “Weitermachen! And I laid down on the floor and I continued. I was left alone then. And…they committed cruelties that were incredible: They had a man with a beard, for instance, a Jewish man with a beard on that podium and they asked two of…zwei andere Häftlinge to come up and light matches…had him sing Jewish songs, Jewish chants and they burnt his beard from both sides with matches. It may sound…sitting in these circumstances, may not be realistically understood what the meaning of that is when you see it. It is today…which is what? 60 years later, it is still inconceivable to me. The fact is, that I saw this man in Dachau. He survived. His face was totally…what do you call it? Pock…

 

AB: Brandblasen.

 

EF: Yes, from where the beard was…where they burnt it. But I could not believe that he survived. I said to him, “You survived? I don’t believe that, I was in your Stube.” The same…“Yes,” he said, “yes, I live.” – In any case…at night we were taken down to the gym in that school. I am returning to the Kenyongasse. The Kenyongasse to the…when it got dark – I don’t recall when the SS came on – they took us down into the gym and we had to make exercises in the gym. And they beat us with…you know in the gym how you have sticks to exercise these poles? They went around with those poles and just beat you around the feet, around the legs, around the back. And they made for instance…they picked out…in meiner Stube war ein…lawyer…an attorney, he was well known. His name was Engisch. I do not recall his first name. Engisch…and he was conspicuous because he was very heavy. He weighed maybe 300 pounds…he was a very heavy man, but he was a relatively young man. I would imagine he must have been in his 40’s. And he was a well-known lawyer in Vienna. And because of that…because he was a lawyer, they made him climb up…because he was heavy. I guess it gave them extra pleasure to make him climb up. You know, in the gymnasium they have ladders…vertical ladders. They made him climb up as far as he could and then hang on the…with two hands. And then they beat him until he fell down.

 

They made us fight each other until one…they paired us up and we had to fight each other until one was bloody and fell down. They stood by, the SS – they had a number of them in the gymnasium – and we had to fight and hit each other until one of us was bloody and fell down. Well, this was every night for about six nights, I believe. The last night, I will never forget it: When we were then told to go upstairs…in the corner in the gymnasium were maybe hundreds of coats. – Remember, we wore street clothes because we were the way we were arrested. – Coats and hats lying there, in the corner pushed off people who did not survive and were taken away. […]

Vimeocode: 
238079452
Ausschnitt Startzeit: 
11m16s
Ausschnitt Stopzeit: 
19m54s
auf der Startseite: 
auf der Startseite einblenden
spricht - Über: 
Im ‚Notarrest‘ Kenyongasse
Transkript Textausschnitt

EF: [...] In any case, from there we were taken in the middle of the night to what used to be a horse training center. It was an oval-like with straw in the middle. I think it was for horseracing…for parades. This goes back, I believe, in the days of the Kaiser, they used to have horse shows there in the Pramergasse. And we were in the middle in the sand – all of us. Hundreds of men were inside. We were resting against each other because there was not enough room to sit down on the floor. And we waited there, without knowing anything what was going to happen. We waited, waited until we were put into groups and sent. And there was a desk outside, if I remember correctly. There were a few – two or three – men sitting there. And you went from the left, from the right. And we were three friends that were taken together: the two brothers and I that stuck together. There was a third one, he was separate. And believe it or not, from the three of us, two of us were sent to Dachau. And one was sent, but freed. He could go home in Vienna. For what reason? Why? No reason whatsoever.

 

AB: They did not tell you anything?

 

EF: Nothing. Just, “Go here,” and you went there and you did not know what that meant. It turned out later that that was the line to go to the train to Dachau. And we had no idea what was happening. We were separated, as they put the other friend…we went on line there and then we were guided out to busses. I think…I don’t recall how we were transported, but it was always “Laufen! Laufen!“ and they always hit us with sticks so that you…they created panic purposely. And we were transported to the train station. I don’t…I think it was the Westbahnhof…I am not sure. Because it went west to Munich, to Dachau. This was about in the middle of the night already by then, and we finally were pushed into trains. They were regular trains yet, they were just passenger trains yet. We got seats in the train and were transported. And on the train we were told where we were going. We were going to Dachau.

Vimeocode: 
238080045
Ausschnitt Startzeit: 
20m44s
Ausschnitt Stopzeit: 
23m25s
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spricht - Über: 
Im ‚Notarrest‘ Pramergasse
Transkript Textausschnitt

EF: [...] Well, I had heard about it but I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea at all. And you know as a young person, you have a certain…at least I have a certain amount of optimism always. And that probably helped me survive. I said to myself, “Well, at least I will be able to see what Dachau looks like. After what I had gone through in the Kenyongasse, nothing could hurt me anymore.” And we arrived in Dachau. It was in the middle of the night. I still remember it was foggy, cold…this was in November, a week after the 10th…around the 17th of November. And it was cold already. – In Bavaria at that time of the year it gets very cold and Dachau is up in the mountains, pretty high. Munich is high and Dachau is higher yet. It is only a few miles outside of Munich. – And I came out…we were driven out from the train and had to line up outside in the middle. And we were told, “You are now in Dachau and from here there is no out. You are here…if you get sick, you go to the Revier, you go to the hospital, but don’t you ever try to get out! Don’t you go near the Stacheldraht because…it is law that will…it is electrically charged. And you will be assigned a room and you will find out what is happening as you go along”. That was about three, four in the morning, I was assigned to…Block four, Stube vier. It was enlarged tremendously by then, because they had to make more room for a lot more. This was not meant for so many prisoners, so they had by then enlarged…they had fresh…new wooden barracks put up and we set straw and double…Decke…benches…beds--

 

AB: --Stockbetten--

 

 

1/00:25:49

 

 

EF: Yes, and I had a lower one. And I went to sleep – I was young enough, I could sleep…I slept. The next morning, we were taken to get showered, get pictures taken, and…when we had the pictures taken, this was the most incredible thing of…sadism: What people had in…to think about…that they put in the chair, where you sat…when they took your picture, a needle popped out inside and stuck you in the behind. Could you believe this? I could not believe it. I mean, this is a state institution. Anyway, we were showered and then brought out from the shower into maybe…I don’t know what it is here today…by twenty degrees below freezing, we had to stand out all day. My hands…when I was finished, after Dachau…I forgot to mention, what will become very significant later…I omit it…I forgot to mention: The November…the Kristallnacht was on a Thursday to Friday. On the Sunday before, my friend and I – because it was important for every Jew in Austria to show his intention at that time to emigrate…to leave the country – I had a passport. Every Jew…as soon as Hitlercame to Austria we got to know that you better look to it, that you get a passport to get out. So, I had gotten my passport, but I had no place to go. No country would take us legally. There was no way you could get a visa anywhere. I had papers to come to America, but there was a bureaucratic procedure that may take…god knows how long. I had nothing to really show in the passport. And when you went on the street, you were stopped. I looked Jewish and I was stopped and they looked in the passport and if you could not show that you had intention to go some place, then you may be in trouble. So, I went ahead, my sister…I had a sister in Switzerland…that went illegally over the border to Switzerland – in the beginning, it was still possible to go, so she went and lived in Basel. – From Basel, Switzerland she wrote to me, that for 100 Schilling she can buy a visa, which was not legitimate to go to Paraguay, but it would be a stamp in the passport. If I wanted it I could get it, I just had to send the passport. “Well,” I said, “I have nothing to lose.” So, my friend and I both went to the main post office – I will never forget it. I think it wasWienzeile where the main…im zweiten Bezirk…the main post office. I don’t recall the address, but I remember going there on Sunday and putting the passports in the mail to my sister. That was Sunday, and the following Thursday, when everybody that was arrested had their passport in their pocket, because you made sure all the time to have your passport, I didn’t have mine. The ones that had it, they took them away from them, when they were taken in. Mine…they couldn’t take it away, I didn’t have it, it was in Switzerland. And I had forgotten about it. So, now I am returning to when I…normal days in Dachau were…in those years…that time when I was there…was marching around the block. And you never wanted to be caught at the end of a column. If you were at the end, the SS would always beat you up one way or another. So, you were always trying to go in the middle. I discovered that very early. And all we did from morning till night was marching around in snow and ice and cold, all around the blocks, just marching around. We didn’t work yet, nothing. In street clothes, just the clothes…we didn’t even have uniforms yet – they had nothing. They were overwhelmed by the number of people that they brought there.

 

 

1/00:30:29

 

 

So, I still wore my coat and my plain street shoes and my street clothes, and we kept walking, everybody…and we kept just marching in order, around the block day and night, day and night. We fell out in the morning – I don’t know…five, six o’clock in the morning – and we stood in front of the barracks and they came around an hour later with the coffee. You had a canteen, a metal cup, and they gave you a little coffee and you drank a little coffee and then you went to the Appellplatz. And you stood there…or you walked around and you walked around the block…just walking columns, walking day and night. As a matter of fact, that was very interesting: When I walked one time, all of a sudden people called my attention. There was the former Bürgermeister von Wien, [Richard] Schmitz. He was a prisoner. He was cleaning the street with a rake. He was there also that time. He had been taken as a prisoner. He was the last Bürgermeister before that time. And we…this went on for about six weeks. At the end of December…one day – I don’t remember when, I tried to reconstruct it but it is impossible – one day I was called. We were standing in front of the barracks, lining up for the coffee, when I was called up. “Fuchs!” By the…we had a Stubenälteste that was a…prisoner, and a Blockälteste. Those were our superiors, they were in charge. They were not Jewish but they were either…they were different categories, each had different…when they had uniforms, they had uniforms with triangular patches. They were either brown – then they were undesirable…socially undesirable –, purple – they were religiously undesirable –, red – they were socialist…and I think that was it. In any case, these two guys were red. They were socialists before.

 

This was the end of December. I think it was around the 25th or 26th of December when I was called out from the appeals, from the Appellplatz, by name and the Blockälteste said, “You are going home” – out of nowhere…to my complete surprise. I had no Idea. So, I said, “Really?” He said, “Yes.” And with that he hauled out and hit me in the face with the fist. I said, “Why did you do that?” – “What did I do? I show them.” He hit me on the other side. It was just an example of the brutality, which didn’t mean anything, it was just natural…fun. So, we were taken to the…again into the room where we were examined by a doctor. We had to sign that we were physically not abused and that everything…we were alright and that we had no problems. Somehow, we had to sign…at that time, the state was still interested in getting whitewashed. Apparently, this was for foreign politics. They went through the trouble of having us signed a certificate that we were not abused. Now you had very little choice – we signed. They said, “You are going to go home and when you come back to your home town you go to the Gestapo immediately, when you come home.” […]

Vimeocode: 
238082221
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23m26s
Ausschnitt Stopzeit: 
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Inhaftierung im Konzentrationslager Dachau
Transkript Textausschnitt

EF: […] So, here I was on Sunday with no place to go and I had to leave. And the fact was that I was bald and anybody would see that I came from Dachau. Even if I put on a hat, it would be clear sooner or later, and I could not take that chance. So, we had heard that people went across the border. So, my friend and I got together. He had…his family, his sister, his older sister had been Pflegekind in Holland, in Amsterdam during the First World War…after the First World War, when it took many Jewish kids as Pflegekinder after the war. He had been in touch with those people, he knew where they lived. So, he said, “Let’s go to Holland. I know somebody in Amsterdam.” I said, “I will go anyplace.” The story goes, at that time, that if you had ten Schilling – that you could have in your pocket – with ten Schilling you could go to the border…and no more. So, I took ten Schilling and I put on galoshes and I took sandwiches in a bag and I said goodbye to my parents, and we took a train. We bought tickets to the border and we went to…I have to remember…to Kaltenkirchen in Germany, and from there we went to Aachen, I think…no, Aachen to Kaltenkirchen…one of them was the border. I think Kaltenkirchen was a little town right on the border. We took the train there and came there in the afternoon.

 

And we went across…we were going to go across the border. The border was…parallel to the border Austrian…a German-Dutch border is die Maas. And you have to cross the Maas. And the Maas you have to cross by bridges…two bridges. Venlo…Roben [Roermond]…forgot the word, these things used to be so…I have forgotten in these years…Venlo and…I don’t know what the other name was. These two bridges…when you crossed the bridges the story was: If you got on the other side of the bridge into Holland, then you were save. The government would let you stay. But the trick was how to cross. We were told there would be a ferry. We waited in the morning for that ferry. We walked all night through the ices to the border. We were fortunate and we came to that ferry, which was on the banks of the Maas on the German side. And there was a pull with a bell. And we rang the bell. We were told we have to ring the bell and then some people came out and said, “There is no ferry going, it is frozen. You can’t take it. Are you Jewish Flüchtlinge?” – “Yes!” – “Come in!” They were very good, they were Dutch people.

 

 

1/00:40:35

 

 

We got over the bridge. We were driven over the bridge into…by these people that risked their life for us. They were not Jewish, they lived on the border and they knew we were Flüchtlinge and they saved our life. My friend and I…he gave them his ring and I gave…I had a ring also…years back…and that was all we had. So, they saved us and took us to that family in Amsterdam. A family by the name of Frank…who were there…Dutch Jews. Native Dutch Jews, and they were very nice. They took us and gave us a room in the basement, a bed to sleep and they said, “Tomorrow we take you to the committee. You will be made legal.” We came to the committee – we were refused. They said at this time Jews cannot stay in Holland, “I am sorry, we have too many”. So, they took us back to the house and they said, “We will see what we can do for you”. They kept us in the basement for about two or three weeks – I don’t know – until they arranged with two young men, Zionist young men…from a Zionist organization in Holland, to bring us by car to the Belgian border. They drove us to the border. One drove through legally because he was a Dutch citizen – they could drive through. The other one walked with us around the border, showed us where we met. On the car they drove us into Brussels. We came to Brussels very early in the morning. And we couldn’t see Brussels but they told us, “If you go to Antwerp, you can stay in Antwerp.” So, they drove us to Antwerp and they drove us to the Jewish committee in Antwerp. And they gave us a home to stay and they said, “You are now legal.” They gave us a paper that we were legal refugees in Antwerp. And that was the first breath of fresh…of free air we could breathe, that we were legitimate, out of Germany.

 

So, we stayed in Antwerp then…I tried to get my…in contact with the American consulate in Antwerp and to my…disaster, I found out that the consul in Vienna…they had my papers from my cousin from America. You needed in those days…you needed what they called an affidavit, which was a guarantee of your substance. And he had promised me and he had written it to the consul. And I had registered to go to America immediately when Hitler came, because of this cousin, in March of [19]38. A year later – this was a year later now…or I don’t know how much later, after I had been to Dachau and came to Belgium – I was told by the consul in Vienna, that there was no registration number for me available. They had sold it. It turned out…I found out and the American common knew about it. This consul was caught. He had sold registration numbers to people that were ineligible to come – some quotas were filled. This was a quota and I was the Austrian quota – that was by where you were born. And he had sold my number. Fortunately for me, I had witnesses, my friend that went with me to the…to register…his sister was still in Vienna and my sister was still in Vienna. They got an affidavit from the consul, to swear that I had registered. And with the affidavit I got a new number…and I stayed there until the end of August. On September 1st, the German army invaded Poland. September 1st 1938…was it? No! [19]39, September 1st 1939. I heard on the radio that they had invaded Poland. They had bombarded Poland, Warsaw, and I knew war was on. I went to the consulate and they had my visa prepared. Now, of course, I felt much better and, fortunately, I had a sister here who helped me with transport, with the money to buy the tickets, and a friend of mine and I came here. And this in short…in brief terms, is my story, because from once I came to New York, I was a different person, it was a different life. […]

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Flucht aus Österreich
Transkript Textausschnitt

AB: There is another thing, which would be interesting for me. Did you experience any kind of anti-Semitism before the Anschluss?

 

EF: Well, that is interesting that you ask me, because there was anti-Semitism – there is no question. And my feeling, if you ask me I would tell you as honestly…and nothing personal…I appreciate the effort you put in and anyone, who they have called afterwards a righteous gentile…you have heard of that?

 

AB: Yes.

 

EF: I appreciate that very much. And on a personal basis, as I said, my best friends were gentile boys, but when my name in Vienna…because my parents had just come from Poland when I was born, my first name was Mendel, M.E.N.D.E.L., which was a typical Jewish name in Vienna. – When I experienced Anti-Semitism, mostly before 1938, was when my name was read in class. There was an…undertone, you know, was Kichern heißt in German…they “hähä”. [Lacht hämisch.] But that was negligible because I had a lot more positives, I must say. I was accepted. It may be a very selfish point of view that I am expressing. Personally you ask me a question and to be perfectly frank, at that time I had a minimum…I knew I was different – as I indicated before, my name indicated to anybody that I was Jewish, of course –, but other than that, I was…I participated in soccer games, I was part of a team, I played…we…we did many things, we…I lived near the Danube, the Donau, and the Lobau. Have you ever heard of it?

 

AB: Sure.

 

EF: You have heard of the Lobau?

 

AB: Yes.

 

EF: We spent so many Saturday nights with my friends. They were sports…they were working children and young men, and they had very little money, but they had…they liked sports and they were very athletic. And we used to go Saturday night…we were at the Reichsbrücke. I lived ten minutes away from them. My father’s factory was right by the Brücke…die Wehlistraße, where he had his Buchbinderei, so I was very close. I walked across with groups…we were at the cross, we had blankets, we slept in the Lobau, from Friday to Sunday. And we were friends and we were very good friends and I can name names now and it is 60 years later…is it 60? Almost 60 years. I can tell you names of friends I had…that I was good friends with gentile boys: A Franzl Gardener…there war der Eddie Hutsch, Czech – many Czech though…the Czech influence is very strong in my neighborhood. – Eddie Bubl, der war der Sohn von den Schuldiener…across the street. I mean, we were close friends. We played together, we lived together…I was not made to feel different, I must admit. And maybe that hardened me, maybe that gave me some spiritual…I don’t know. Maybe it is the opposite…I really don’t know. I was very balanced and, to be frank with you, whatever happened – maybe it is my nature –, but I survived it. And I had a minimum of bitterness, to be perfectly frank. I have wonderment of how human beings can do what I saw with my eyes…and that conditions can be created for innocent people that I saw with my own eyes, I couldn’t believe. But personally, I was very well balanced in my early years. And I felt no…maybe it was selfish of me, because I had heard that there was Anti-Semitism. I personally – in the area I lived, the street I lived – I was accepted. We had a man in the building, who was a police detective, an Inspektor, in Vienna in the Ausstellungsstraße. And they…in those days it was a strict caste system. There was a high caste and a lower and a middle. This man was very honored. If you were a high officer in the police department in those days, you were a big man. He was friendly with my father. They met on a Friday night in the bar on the corner and they had a glass of beer. And my father – mind you – had a beard…a short beard, but he had a beard. And his name was Zacha. Z.A.C.H.A. – I will never forget it. They were the elite in our area…Inspektor Zacha. My mother gave my father an argument, he came home late from work and he said, “Yes, we were im Piatschek.” – this was on the corner…a bar. “And er hat mir ein Bier gekauft.”

 

 

2/00:05:51

 

 

So, we were told…I was told until the end by my friends, “Nothing will happen to you.” In all honesty, I maybe…what I am saying may not correspond with what many people say…that feel differently. There are two opinions, but I want to give you an honest answer to your question. I don’t pretend that I had any problems and maybe these people really meant it. That people…knew my father was a working man, he had a big family, he worked for his life, had big responsibilities. They knew it because we lived very close – it was a working neighborhood and we had good friends. You went one to the other…to the house. And they did not have any idea what Nazism really meant. As a matter of fact, my direct neighbor…my immediate neighbor – I lived…Tür 25 and nach Tür 24, oder 26, the next door – was a man who was an unemployed man for a long time and he had young children. When Hitler came he disappeared…he just disappeared. His wife came and said, “I don’t know where he is. I don’t know what happened to him.” It turned out six months later: He came and he said, he had been sent to Dachaubecause he was not…he didn’t want to work. So, that’s how I found out the first time…yes, I heard about Dachau. I had never heard about Dachau before. What I am trying to bring out is that we had very close friendships…my father, my mother and my sisters. My sisters less because girls were more inclined to stick with the Jewish company, you know.

 

But I had a bicycle and I was a boy and I played soccer and I was a street boy and I did everything everybody else did. I participated and I was no different than anybody else. I spoke the same way and there was no difference. So I have, in all fairness, I must say, whatever occurred was unfortunately…number one, I believe the Catholic Church had much to do with it because these peoples where raised as very strict Catholics. And just like we have today the problem with Muslims: If you are a Muslim, you believe in the same…in the same rights and the same liberties that…whether you are Jewish or Catholic or whatever. They did not, and the Catholic Church in Vienna, in Austria, is much to be blamed for what has happened in Austria. I don’t know if they could have avoided it. I am not sure, because as it turned out later, it was much larger…it was a problem of much larger proportions than we knew. We measured it by our own personal experience. But when we found out later that he wanted the whole world, of course, nobody believed it. He stated it clearly in Mein Kampf. Nobody read it to that extend, that you believed this was reality. But it became reality. And I believe in all fairness these people had no idea when they…when this friend of mine participated in exercises with the SS, in secret, and next day he went with me as a friend and went out with a Jewish girl on the side to a dance. He had no idea of the significance…or what it was. And I don’t want to whitewash anyone – it is not my purpose. But I am honest, I am frank and I tell you for your purpose, for history, for whatever you…you know whatever…history will be kept, that Austria is…the Catholic Church in Austria has much guilt to bear on what has happened. Whether they could have avoided it or not, I am not sure.

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238085518
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Antisemitismus vor dem ‚Anschluss'
Transkript Textausschnitt

AB: After you came back from Dachau, you had to go to--

 

EF: --I had to leave immediately.

 

AB: Did you stay in contact with your family? From Holland--

 

EF: --yes, from Belgium.

 

AB: How did you do it? With--

 

EF: --mail. Yes, there was regular…there was peace, still. This was at the end of [19]39 and [19]40…no…the end of [19]38! The Kristallnacht was [19]38 and in the beginning of [19]39…until September 1st [19]39, when they bombed Warsaw, it was peace and there was mail – and I corresponded. And my parents were still living there, where they were, and they remained there until I came here to America. They couldn’t go anywhere. Everybody went somewhere…eight children…everybody went, only my parents stayed. I couldn’t help to stay in touch with them from the army here until 1941, from America. – There was still way…through the chaplain that I was able to send mail to Austria. In 1941, which was after we already had war…America was at war with Germany. I don’t know how, this may been through the pouch, army mail or whatever. – And I stayed in touch with them until June or July [19]41, when a letter came back. And as I found out now from this…on this…what it says here. [Nimmt einen Zettel.]

 

AB: The letter from the DÖW [Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes]?

 

EF: Yes, they have a deportation transport number…to the ghetto on November 2nd. They have the date exactly: November 2nd.

 

AB: So, you found it out only two years ago.

 

EF: No!

 

AB: Oh, you told me: only two months ago.

 

EF: This year, two months ago! I spend hours in Israel, they have a film…you can look through…what they call that micro--?

 

AB: --microfilm.

 

EF: Yes, microfilm. And you look through every Lager…I looked through to find tracesaAnd I couldn’t find them. I was in Vienna bei der [Israelitischen] Kultusgemeinde and they couldn’t find them…I couldn’t find them. I went…sent to the Staatsarchive. – nd the Austrians are so exact with the archives, everything is archived. They found out I was in Dachau – they know exactly when. They told me they know exactly when I was there and how long…to the day, but they couldn’t find out what they found out here. That they were transported from Vienna and that there was a mass transport that took place…“5.000 Jewish victims from Vienna arrived in large between October 16th and November 4th, 1941.” And they couldn’t find out what happened.

 

 

2/00:26:01

 

 

AB: So, only the DÖW was able to show you--

 

EF: --they found out. Now, don’t tell me that knowing Austrian order, they did not have documentation of that transport when the Germans ordered that transport. How it came about…what happened – nobody knows. There is nobody that…there is no record. Somebody destroyed these records just like the records on my father’s factory disappeared. Somebody walked in there and took it. There were big machines. My father saved his whole life and paid off these machines. There were machines as big as this…you know in those days you used to cut books by hand. When you had to cut a thick book like this…Hebrew books, this thick – you had to cut it. So, there was a machine that was that big, that developed power where you cut. And there was a press that was just as big, where you pressed covers. And the covers…he bound very expensive books, certain very exclusive books that they read in certain higher learning of Hebrew. And no trace…and no one found out who took over the apartment, who took over the factory – there is no record. Now the building stands there, I am sure. Because my building is there – I was there. I saw there is a flat there. The building was bombed by the Americans, I think. And my daughter wanted to see it. We went up to where I lived. But there is no trace, no one could find out what happened. So, they gave us now a…final pay-off of 7.000 dollars. Now that does not…that reminds me of an incident: My wife was born in Berlin. And we met here, and she was young and she left Berlin, she was twelve years old. Yet the Germans found it important enough to invite her and me as her husband. And we went to Germany on a trip. They took us there and they were very nice, very hospital both, they showed us around. That was a time when it was a divided Germany. They chauffeured us, they gave us tickets to the opera, they treated us as guests. So, I wrote to the Austrians and wrote, “Don’t you think you owe me at least to…do the same that the Germans do? My wife was in a concentration camp. I paid for it.” So, at first they wrote, that they cannot do anything.

 

Then maybe five years later, they invited me. And I kept that because this is something I will never forget. [Holt den Brief hervor.] And I didn’t really…I have it here. This is interesting: They invited me to come to Germany. Now, the invitation is the kind of invitation that is not very friendly, let’s put it this way. The invitation reads very clearly. There is a paragraph, “Sollte es Ihnen, aus welchen Gründen auch immer, nicht möglich sein, diesen Termin wahr zu halten, gibt es dafür keinen Ersatz und ihre Vormerkung bzw. Einladung erlischt. Leider sind wir zu einer solchen Maßnahme aufgrund der vielen Wartenden veranlasst.” Das war…das Datum…what was left was very few…I don’t remember the year…[19]99. Now there were in [19]99 from…[19]38, that’s what? 33 years…imagine how many are not here anymore, how many are left…percentagewise…to send me this kind of invitation. So, I would like to put this on record, if they like it or not and whether it is worthwhile or not: I resented the fact that they sent me an invitation where they told me very clearly, “Für eine etwaige Begleitperson bezahlen wir die Transferkosten und Veranlassung der Buchung für das Hotelzimmer.” That means that they let her sleep with me, “Für die Bezahlung vom Flugticket und das Hotelzimmer muss diese begleitende Person ausnahmslos, auch wenn es sich um ein Ehepaar handelt, selbst aufkommen.”

 

 

2/00:30:53

 

 

Now that was in 1999. I wrote them back – I tell you the truth, I was very upset – and I wrote back, “First I would like to thank you for the invitation to visit Vienna. As a former Austrian citizen, born and raised in Vienna, I have some thoughts, which may be of some interest to you: I was born on April 1918 enjoying life in a free environment until the sudden end in March 1938. I was deprived of a normal life in the city of my birth on the Crystal night, November 10th, 1938. As a Jew I was deported to the Nazis by a school college and sent to Dachau. On December 1938, after being released from Dachau, I had to flee Austria at night into temporary asylum in Belgium, where in December [19]39 I was finally able to emigrate to America and establish a permanent home. I left my parents in Vienna never to see them again, since they were sent east and were never heard from again. In the invitation to visit Vienna you attached very stringent conditions. I must assume that the purpose of this invitation is…someone’s intention for me and others invited to, somehow, renew our feelings for our former home. As much as I appreciate the good idea, I wonder whoever is in charge of the program really has an understanding and sympathy for the person invited. It was 1939 and I was twenty years old when I left my home in Wien. 60 years have gone by, when today I receive this invitation to come for a visit. I am now 81 years old, married for 55 years and I am told in very stern words, ‘Come alone, we can’t afford to finance your wife’s transportation and hotel.’ I cannot understand this insensitivity to my feelings. Do you think I would leave my companion of 50 years…56 years at home because I am financially unable to meet the cost? What is the motivation behind this offer? If this is a matter of economics, how many people are still alive and able to use this invitation? I believe this is supposed to be a friendly gesture on the part of the Austrian authorities. At this time, 60 years after the Anschluss, when surely not many former Wiener are still alive, this offer should be a little more understanding and generous. I believe with the attitude demonstrated in this offer, the message conveyed is not of genuine feeling of welcomes. Sincerely, Emanuel Fuchs.” – I never received a response. It means nothing, but I felt better. I had to get that of my chest, because I believe it tells something about people today – this is in 1999 –, how people feel in 1999, 60 years later.

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Wiedergutmachung in Österreich
Transkript Textausschnitt

AB: You arrived in New York?

 

EF: I arrived in New York in November 19…let me think back…1939, as a matter of fact, a year after…almost to the day, I think, I have arrived in November 1939.

 

AB: How was it to see the skyline and the Statue of Liberty?

 

EF: It was a great thing. It was a…something that I had dreamed of and I had given up my dreams…that it would ever materialize. I had heard about America, I had been a fan of American films in Vienna. And in those days we were progressive, we did a lot of things on the style of America. America was an ideal for us in those days…for young people living like Americans. Those were the days of Broadway melodies and Fred Astaire…I don’t know if you have heard of him? But those were the heydays, the beautiful days of good living and free living, and American idols were very important to me as a twenty-year-old. So, when I arrived here, I had seen the realization of my dreams and furthermore I was very fortunate, one of the very few that were lucky enough. My brother in law that had given me a job in Vienna and taught me to be a furrier, was in business already. He had come here a few months before me and he had started a little business. And when I arrived, my sister came to the ship.

 

 

2/00:35:35

 

 

My sister came to the ship when I arrived with my cousin…my American cousin that sent me the affidavit. And they picked me up and I went to them and stayed with them for two days. And then they let me go back to New York, where my sister lived, and I went to work the next day to my brother-in-law’s factory and I worked there for a few years until I went into business for myself. And it was the greatest time, we enjoyed it. We had…unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the freedom too long, because I was here a year and a couple of months and I was drafted to the army. And I was one of the first ones that were drafted into the American army. I was inducted in January 1941, after arriving here in November [19]39 – so, you can imagine that is what…that is fourteen months that I was here. And I was sent to a camp in Texas. It had certain advantages: First I learned English very fast, secondly, I became an American. I became americanized and I saw the country. I was sent to…from New York I was drafted in Brooklyn where I lived with my sister, and from there I was sent to Texas where I opened a camp…the camp wasn’t even open. America had demilitarized. I don’t know if you know the history after the First World War. America had completely demilitarized. There was no militarism here and we came into the camp and we did drill, as a private in an infantry. I drilled with a wooden rifle. We had no guns. We took…maybe six months until we got real rifles. They came in cartons in wax…in oil, and we had to unpack them and clean them. And that’s how we got rifles.

 

And we opened that camp and we stayed there, and then I came to Texas and then I stayed there for basic training, and then I was sent to California. And, strange as it sounds, but I…clearly had indicated I speak German, I came from Austria. And the American army was at war in the east…in the Far East, in Japan, and I was sent to Saint Louis, which is a point for embarkation for the army to go to the Far East in California. And I was selected in the middle…while we were training and doing exercises, I was called before the lieutenant and asked about my language and he sent me to the G.S. [General Service], which was a liaison officer. I was sent to the brigade headquarters. So it is strange, you asked me about my living here…it is strange, I guess one arm is as bad as the other. I had a good time, I enjoyed it. They were very good to me, here. I had a problem at first because I had to explain to people…because this was before the war and I was drafted in an Italian section and Mussolini at that time was the dictator of Italy. And they had very strong allies here in America with the Axis. And they said to me, “You must have done something wrong.” They wouldn’t believe it when I had told them that I had been in a concentration camp. They insisted, “There must be…” – they couldn’t understand…the world didn’t understand yet. As I indicated this of speaking in 1941, before Pearl Harbor, of course, when things changed. But I was there in the summer of 1941 and I was there with these boys and we were good friends. We all became good friends in the army, but they…when we talked politics, about…they were very much…very sympathetic to the Axis. Because they thought here, where they came from…in their home about Italy and about Germany…and you know about conditions here in New York in those years: There was fifth columns here from Germany that were very influential, and that had its effect. So, I had good years, fortunately, I was able because I contracted a virus in Europe, as a kid. We were sent to California where the climate was very adverse, and I couldn’t take the climate and they gave me a certificate of disability discharge so I was discharged and I came back and I--

 

AB: --when was it?

 

EF: In 1942. And I had an opportunity to come back here and I went to work. And I worked and then I went into business. And I…since then have supported myself in good style and, fortunately, I get a pension. And I live good and I have no complains. America is being good--

 

 

2/00:40:54

 

 

AB: --what kind of business did you make? I think it was fur--

 

EF: --no, I changed. While I was here, I changed. I went into the jewelry business because my brother, my older brother, had a connection into the jewelry business and he got me into it, when I came back from the army. And I saved a little money. I financed…going into jewelry business…into a store…opening a jewelry store. And I let my wife go to the store. And I was married already and I continued working to make sure I had a living. But it worked out fine in a short time and after I left the fur line and went to the store and I became a jeweler. And I have been a jeweler ever since.

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Ankunft und Leben in den USA
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