“I will never forget the refugee we took in from the Nazis”

Posted on January 28, 2023

On Holocaust Memorial Day, Ann Chadwick, 85, shares the story of how a little Jewish girl came to be a beloved part of her family

My earliest memory of Suzie Spitzer, the Austrian Jewish girl who became my sister, is of us fighting. We fought like tigers. She had very sharp elbows, was bigger than me and would shove me out of the way. But I did have a weapon in my armoury; she had wonderful dark curly hair which was perfect for pulling.

But when I asked my dad what he remembered of Sue – as we called her when she first came to us in July 1939 – it was her crying for her “Mutti” and asking for a tissue to wipe her tears away. My parents hugged her and tried to comfort her – they were kind and patient people.

Sue didn’t speak a word of English. She had already been forced out of her home city of Vienna to move to Prague. Then her parents put her on one of the last trains out of the country as part of the Kindertransport rescue mission to bring Jewish children from continental Europe to England. She was traumatised and alone – but she had us.

But it wasn’t long before she learnt to call my parents Aubrey and Winifred “mum” and “dad”. Sue became, simply, a member of our family of five.

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