Gerda was eight years old when she was suddenly attacked on the playground after the Anschluss by other children – and their parents.
"..and she told me that it wasn’t her fault, that she had to do it"
My parents often went to the theater, the opera and concerts. My dad, however, always fell asleep. Everything would have been fine, if Adolf [Hitler] hadn’t arrived! In Porzellangasse there was a candy store with five steps leading up to it, and every day after school I bought some sweets there. One day, like every other, I went in there, put my schilling on the counter and took some candy. But the shop assistant just threw me out. I thought she was joking, or that maybe she thought I didn’t want to pay, so I went back in and said to her, ‘I have money!’ Whereupon she took me to the door and pushed me down the steps.
When I returned to Vienna for the first time after the war, I met her by accident and she told me that it wasn’t her fault, that she had to do it.
I had a wheelbarrow and a doll carriage and my mother always took me to Votivpark. There I played with other children in the sand-box, while the mothers sat together, chatting. I remember one day – it was in 1938 – when I wanted to play in the sand-box as usual.
All of a sudden some boys pounced on me, and within an instant the parents had arrived as well. They wanted to beat me and drag me out of the sand-box. My mother, who had been sitting on a bench, jumped up, grabbed me and ran away with me. I was very surprised at my mother because I thought she should tell these people that they weren’t allowed to do this to me.
Big photo above:
Gerda Feldsberg with her mother Zerline [Stella] in the Vienna Votivpark
Photo taken in:
Vienna, Austria (1934)
Time of the interview:
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