FROM THE CENTROPA ARCHIVE

Lilli Tauber

Photo title: Lilli Tauber with her brother Eduard
Photo taken in: Wiener Neustadt, Austria (1927)
Interviewee: Lilli Tauber
Interviewer Tanja Eckstein

I remember 10th November 1938 very well. It was a Thursday, the sky was cloudy, and it was about 10am when someone came into the classroom and started whispering into our teacher's ear. Afterwards the teacher told us to go home, saying that something was going on. My parents were surprised that I returned from school so early. At about 11am the doorbell rang and the Gestapo arrested my father. They simply took him away.

Other Jewish families lived in our neighborhood, including the Schurany and the Gerstl families, who were friends of ours. My mother, who was devastated after my father's arrest, said, ‘Let's go over there and try to find out what's going on.' They told us that they had heard that all Jewish men were going to be arrested. When we were on our way home we saw two cars parked close to our house. The wooden gate to our place had been smashed, the SA had also broken into the house, and we saw them ransacking the veranda and the rooms.

We had a cash-box of a kind that no longer exists today, and they asked my mother for the key. Afterwards we had to go with them. They took us to the synagogue. All the Jewish women and children from Wiener Neustadt had been taken there and were searched for money and jewelry. They had to hand over everything; it was simply stolen from them.

Mrs. Gerstl, my friend Trude's mother, didn't want to sign a paper saying that she would hand over her house, so they beat her until she signed it. I witnessed all of this. When night was falling they led us into the synagogue. The floors were covered with hay, and they gave us Torah mantles [9] to cover ourselves up. We were locked in for three days. The synagogue had a yard with an iron gate facing the street. There were people outside the gate watching, and people from Wiener Neustadt looked on with amusement as we Jewish children had to run around in circles.