Bombs dropped in the ward of: Swiss Cottage
Total number of bombs dropped from 7th October 1940 to 6th June 1941 in Swiss Cottage:
- High Explosive Bomb
Number of bombs dropped during the week of 7th October 1940 to 14th of October:
Number of bombs dropped during the first 24h of the Blitz:
No bombs were registered in this area
Memories in Swiss Cottage
Read people's stories relating to this area:
Contributed originally by Bournemouth Libraries (BBC WW2 People's War)
A Man's Story
I was born in Vienna there were five in my family I was the youngest and living a normal life until the politic upheaval in 1934. The democracy came to an end, parliament murdered by the Nazi. 1938 it looked as though he would get the vote, Hitler could not stand that. On the 10 March the programmes were interrupted, he had had an ultimatum from Germany and he had given into them and “God Protect Us”. As soon as that came about you could hear in the streets the shouting and jubilation and immediately Jews became outlaws. It started at the beginning, slogans painted on walls which we had to scrub, once they called me to scrub these I was just fourteen. There would be crowds of people some of whom you knew. One day a man was told to scrub the wall from a crouching position not a kneeling position a young man kicked him over and the crowd shouted and cheered. A young girl with blonde curly hair was held up to watch and enjoy the show. Between the wars they built a lot of municipal flats, even now very much sought after. In the first eight months more Jewish flats were taken over than built. Someone would knock at the door and would tell you to leave by 2 o’clock and take nothing with you. The SS who were the more intellectual ones they took over. In Vienna ten per cent of the inhabitants were Jewish. We did not have to wear the star that came later. We tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, tried to get home from school as fast as we could without running. Even now if we see a group of youngsters coming towards us I want to cross the road.
Not allowed in parks, swimming pools, Jewish doctors only tend Jewish patients. An embassy official was shot by a Jew, he died, that was the beginning of Kristalnacht. Afterwards synagogues burnt, Jews arrested. My father was in bed with angina when they came for him and as his doctor was not Jewish he was left alone. Both my sisters taken away. They scrubbed the floors in the flats across the yard. One of my sisters was eighteen at the time in 1938 They started to collect money to transport children out of Vienna (kinder transport) organised by groups in Britain, for each child £50 had to be collected.
Father owned a Chocolate Factory but was made bankrupt by a credit rating bureau then he became a travelling salesman. He had wanted to be a doctor but times were hard and he was unable to become one. My mother was a secretary. One sister was working and the other was training to be a tailor. I was lucky because I was one of the very first to be transported from Vienna in 1938. The Nazi’s were in Vienna immediately when Schuschnigg abdicated.
A committee in Britain organised the transport of children. It did not matter if you were born to Jews and did not practice Judaism the Nazi treated you the same/.
I was in a daze and it only hit me when I could not go in to the next room to talk to my mother or father. I had the opportunity to say goodbye to my parents and it was the first time I saw my father cry. My sister was able to get a domestic permit and was able to come to Britain. My youngest sister was too young so she stayed in Vienna and of course never made it. I met my wife in London.
There were some adults who were looking out for us on the train. The German guards did not say anything but they were not friendly and we were afraid of uniforms. It was a terrible time when rules were abandoned and people could do what they wanted you were unable to go to the police because they might have beaten you up.
It was about a two days long journey, went from Holland to Harwich, Holland was not occupied at the time. Harwich, it was winter. Christmas was a non-event that year. In the camps they had two chalets back to back, one of the girls I still meet her she is in Vienna now. Although we were in the same boat when the people came to pick us, it was the sweet little girls that went first. I chose to go with some to Northern Ireland to a Hostel. From there we went to a farm bought by the Belfast community, where refugees could be self-sufficient. I was there for three years. I got in touch with one of the girls from the farm and although we had been there for three years we did not know each other very well, we were all licking our own wounds.
My mother and sister were on their way to Auschwitz two months before it was liberated. People still got married throughout the war. We have contact with our family and exchanged letters to and from Ireland. All men had to have the name Israel and the women Sarah. Sweshenstien had their own currency. If you left the town you lived in you had to apply to the police for a permit to ride a bicycle.
A Woman's Story
I was the eldest and had two younger brothers. My father owed 120 Austrian schilling (less than £2) tax, for that the Nazi came and cleared our furniture including my doll. I came home a little too early and saw the doll being put on the van. We had no money and had to leave, we lived in a hovel. We lived out of wooden boxes, we had no running water, I do not know how my parents managed, my mother being pregnant. My father tried to cross the border into Czech illegally, he was unsuccessful and had to come back.
I had a friend who was not Jewish and when the Germans came we were separated I could not understand and was signalling to her to come and sit next to me but it was not allowed. At the school we had a picture of the Austrian Chancellor on the wall and when we went into the classroom we saw it had been taken down and replaced by Hitler. The German teacher said “Isn’t it wonderful how his eyes follow you around the room”.
I left my mum heavily pregnant on the station I was twelve years old and my main concern was that they would not take my mum in hospital because the Germans did not allow the Jews to use the hospital.
My brother was born two days after I left on the transport. He died this year on 14 Feb. We did not understand what was going on, my mother’s last word was take care of Otto and we were immediately separated. The first people who were kind to us were the Dutch non-Jewish but they gave us cocoa. English tea is a shot of tea and milk. I was one of the lucky ones because my aunt (my fathers sister) came to England on a domestic permit. She advertised in the Jewish Chronicle to see if anyone wanted to adopt two children. Somebody replied from Liverpool and we had a home. We did not understand because they were not our parents, they had no children there were no toys but they were kind. We attended school but understood nothing, no decimals, I did not know what were feet, yards, nothing was worked out in tens, it was very difficult. When war broke out we were evacuated to Chester to a Jewish school. Morshack were the couple we were living with, meeting friends. Stood there like cattle being taken to families. Otto and I were split up. I was able to se him. I thought he was nicely placed with a family but years later he said he was the most unhappy child. I managed to pick up the language when I worked in London.
It was the coldest winter, I had chilblains, the school was overcrowded we were having lessons in the big hallway with one log fire, we would walk home at lunchtimes for toast and then walk back. I learnt the piano I burst into tears when I heard the Blue Danube. At fourteen my parents had come over to London. Could buy food and coal for £1. I went to London to start work, my mother found work in the dressmaking industry for me. I can still stitch my hems perfectly, Otto went to a private school in Swill cottage. My parents were evacuated to Salisbury and the boys went with them. Otto got to Cambridge University. We had to be registered we got very friendly with the police because they knew we were harmless. Erica, Walter’s sister was on the Isle of Wight and was named as an enemy. She met here husband whilst fire watching in London. Walter and I got married in the Salisbury Register Office in1944 while he was on embarkation leave.
I worked as a children’s nurse in London. It was WBC day nursery and then the doodlebugs came and provided you saw them overhead you were all right it was if they cut out. You thought nothing of it, it was life as it was at the time. You could walk around quite safely more so than you could do now. The nearest shelter was at Swiss cottage, and we used to sleep right through the air raids without using it. I came home one day and you could see the shrapnel sparking on the pavements and you just carried on. The V2 were completely silent you just heard the big bang. People used to sleep in the underground, curlers in their hair. People were so friendly.
Theatres and cinemas were still open, Walter came back suntanned and with his dark eyes and dark hair and when an Indian came and spoke to him in English it was the first time somebody did not think was a foreigner. We went back to Austria. Walter studied whilst I was there but in Austria they did not like you studying at home like in England. It was fun there we had our children there. Hetta’s parents did not want to go back so they stayed in Bournemouth. Walter’s parents and family on two separate trains went to the gas chamber in 1944, we got married in that year and a new generation has blossomed. We were extremely lucky.
Images in Swiss Cottage
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