Testimony by

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.

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Gertrude Kritzer in Tel Aviv after fleeing from Vienna (1940)

“Nevertheless, they took my daddy with them ...”

I had been to Vienna twice before the German invasion, but the memories of Vienna that I’ve kept are those from fall 1938: I witnessed this horror myself. Although I’ve lived in Vienna for almost fifty years now, I can still clearly see it in my mind’s eye: I was walking home from the Schiffschul with my dad. At Karmelitermarkt [a market-place] my Hebrew teacher – whose course I had attended twice before it was forbidden – sat on a chair that had been put on top of a table. This man was an epileptic and the men in uniform had picked him out on purpose. They cut off his beard with scissors and blood ran down his face, while they were taking pictures, probably for the Stürmer [anti-Semitic newspaper], and were yelling: ‘Make the ear like this, after all they don’t have small ears!’ They probably enlarged the ears [on the photo] and then he was presented as an ugly Jew in the Stürmer. Once you’ve seen something like that, you never forget it!

“What I saw there at Karmelitermarkt was horrifying. You cannot even imagine!”

In fall 1938, all the Jewish stores were already closed. After the war I never wanted to live in the 2nd district. Later, I regretted it because today, when I am in the 2nd district on a Friday, or any other day for that matter, I see so many pious Jews and I like that. However, my memories of the 2nd district are dreadful. What I saw there at Karmelitermarkt was horrifying. You cannot even imagine!
When they came to our apartment to pick up my dad on 10th November 1938, after the Pogrom night, my mother gave them everything so they wouldn’t take him away with them.

Big photo above:

Gertrude Kritzer in the boarding school run by the Misrachi (Tel Aviv, 1940)

Interviewee:

Gertrude Kritzer

Year of interview:

2003

Interviewer:

Tanja Eckstein

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Irma and Adolf Roman Blum, the parents of Gertrude Kritzer, in Krumbach/Austria (about 1920)

‘Leave my husband here, leave my husband here, don’t take him away,’ my mom cried, but to no avail. I think my parents had quite a lot of securities. She gave those to them and they also pulled her wedding ring off her finger and took her earrings. Nonetheless, they took my dad with them and abused him.

He returned ten days later. His previously black hair had turned as white as snow.

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Learn more about Gertrude Kritzer?

You can find the whole biography of Gertrude Kritzer here on the Centropa website (in German only).

You can find many more photos of Gertrude Kritzer and her family here in the Centropa photography database

Resources

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)

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