Holocaust survivor story: Harry Bibring

PUBLISHED: 10:50 27 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:31 30 May 2010

Auschwitz Birkenau - one of the many Nazi concentration camps

Auschwitz Birkenau - one of the many Nazi concentration camps

A HOLOCAUST survivor is set to tell his moving story to Great Dunmow school children tomorrow (January 27). To mark International Holocaust Day, 85-year-old Harry Bibring will be visiting the Helena Romanes School to give a talk to year 10 pupils. Below

A HOLOCAUST survivor is set to tell his moving story to Great Dunmow school children tomorrow (January 27).

To mark International Holocaust Day, 85-year-old Harry Bibring will be visiting the Helena Romanes School to give a talk to year 10 pupils.

Below is a biography of Mr Bibring's life:

HARRY was born on December 26, 1925 in Vienna. After Austria was annexed by Germany (the Anschluss) in 1938 he was forced to leave his German grammar school and was transferred to a school that was specifically for Jewish children.

On November 10, 1938 his father's menswear business was looted and destroyed during Kristallnacht ("The night of the broken glass").

He was arrested and Harry's family were forced to leave their flat and live in a house, together with 50 other Jewish women and children.

The family were allowed to return to their flat following Harry's father's release, but by this point they knew they had to leave Vienna.

The intention was for Harry's family to flee to Shanghai but his father was robbed on his way to buy the tickets. Fearing for the safety of their children, Harry's parents decided that he and his sister should leave for the United Kingdom on a Kindertransport train.

The plan was for them to be sponsored by a family friend, and for Harry's parents to join them as soon as they could. That never happened. In November 1940 Harry's father died of a heart attack. His mother was deported to the death camp at Sobibor in Poland in 1942.

War breaks out

When Harry and his sister arrived in the United Kingdom they were greeted by a Mr Landsman, who Harry's father had arranged to act as their sponsor.

On their arrival in England, he had offered to shelter Harry and his sister but, in fact, there had been no room for Harry and the two were separated.

When war broke out on September 3, 1939, the school he was attending in Hackney was evacuated to Fletton, near Peterborough. Harry was billeted with the Headmaster of the local grammar school who offered him tremendous support.

After his fourteenth birthday Harry left school and returned to London. His sister was no longer in the city, having been evacuated with Mr Landsman`s family. Now that the house was standing empty, there was room for him to live alone with Mr Landsman.

He started working for him in one of his shops as an errand boy. But feeling uncomfortable by this situation he moved in with his sister, Gerta, who was now living in London in different lodgings.

Becoming a lecturer

On his eighteenth birthday he applied to join the RAF. He passed all the physical and educational requirements but because his mother was believed to be alive and living in enemy territory, Harry was turned down on the grounds that, if captured, this would be a tool the enemy could use to get information out of him.

In May 1945 Harry met his wife-to-be-Muriel. They married two years later in 1947.

He enrolled to study in evening classes at various colleges, while continuing to earn a living. After about 14 years of study he qualified as a Chartered Engineer with management qualifications. He worked for 20 years as a Manufacturing Engineer in industry, before becoming a lecturer at Middlesex University.

He continues to live in the United Kingdom and has one son, Michael and two grandchildren, Lee and Nikki.

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