FROM THE CENTROPA ARCHIVE

Julius Chaimowicz

Photo title: Julius Chaimowicz and his twin brother Alfred
Photo taken in: Vienna, Austria (1937)
Time of interview: 2002
Interviewee: Julius Chaimowicz
Interviewer Tanja Eckstein

In 1938 looting of Jewish stores was very common. Our apartment was on the fourth floor. We had bars in front of the window; either my father or my grandfather had put them up so that we [children] would be able to look out but not fall out of the windows. We saw the Jewish grocery store being looted. The goods were simply thrown out of the window. 

Because my father was born in Slovakia, my parents had sewn a Czech emblem on their coats in 1938 to protect themselves. My father went to the Czech embassy and applied for Czech passports, as he had never applied for Austrian citizenship. He simply hadn’t taken care of it before, and that was our luck. 

My father was a very charitable man and during the period when he was working as a salesman, at Christmas, he always gave poor families stockings as a gift because the new collection had already arrived by then. On his way to one such family, two young guys approached him and one of them pointed at my father and said, ‘That’s a Jew!’ They beat him and kicked him in the stomach. When he came home, my mother said, ‘You have to get out of here.’ To which my father replied, ‘I won’t go without you!’ And so it was decided that we would all go. We were waiting for our passports, which took about one or two months. In the meantime my parents cleared the apartment and afterwards we traveled to Paris as tourists. Everyone was allowed to take along 20 marks.