Testimoy by

Erwin Landau

After the pogroms nine-year-old Erwin Landau first tried to escape to France with his family – and finally landed in Shanghai.

Erwin Landau with his brother Ernst Landau (Vienna 1938)

„Consider yourself lucky to get that; others get nothing at all“

„For our condominium, including all the furniture, we got 200 marks from some Nazi. My mother was crying and said that the furniture alone was worth many times that amount. ‘Consider yourself lucky to get that; others get nothing at all,’ the Nazi replied. After we had sold our apartment we headed to the train station and went to Cologne – we wanted to cross the border where Luxembourg, France and Germany meet.

„He actually always wanted to move to America, the Promised Land, but now we found ourselves escaping to Shanghai”

We had no particular destination. I was nine years old, my brother was seven. At the border, the officers told us, ‘We are not allowed to let you cross; we have our orders.’ What were we to do?

So we returned to Vienna and went to the Jewish community, since we no longer had an apartment. The Jewish community provided us with a small apartment on Robertgasse, in the 2nd district, close to the Urania. For a few months we lived there together with my grandfather’s widow, Aunt Marie, as we called her. She had also lost her apartment and was afraid of being alone – after all, she was already an elderly lady. After a few months my father learned in a coffee shop that one didn’t need an affidavit for Shanghai. He actually always wanted to move to America, the Promised Land, but now we found ourselves escaping to Shanghai.”

Big photo above:

Erwin Landau with his brother Ernst on arrival in Shanghai

Photo taken in:

Shanghai, China (1939)


Erwin Landau

Time of the Interview:



Tanja Eckstein


Learn more about Erwin Landau?

Readhere on the Centropa website the complete biography of Erwin Landau.

Durchsuche hier alle Fotos von Erwin Landau und seiner Familie aus der Centropa-Fotodatenbank.


Want to learn more about the November Pogroms?

The reports and films featured on this site are just a glimpse into the multi-faceted history of the November Pogroms in 1938. We’ve put together an extensive directory of resources to help you deepen your knowledge.

The image in the background shows a destroyed shoe store in Vienna on November 10, 1938
(Photo: Wiener Library/DöW F. Nr. 6392)

Further reports


Gertrude Kritzer

In 1938, Gertrude Kritzer was fifteen years old. On the morning of November 10, her father, Adolf Roman Braun, was arrested, detained and tortured for ten days. Learn how Gertrude’s mother tried to prevent the arrest here.

Weiterlesen »

Paul Back

Paul Back reports on how he experienced the Nazi takeover in Austria when he was twelve years old.
Here you can read about how Paul initially found the Wehrmacht uniforms and marches very fascinating.

Weiterlesen »

Heinz Klein

Heinz Klein was deported to a concentration camp the day after the November pogroms and flew to Palestine immediately after his release.

Weiterlesen »
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