FROM THE CENTROPA ARCHIVE

Sophie Hirn

Photo title: Sophie Hirn with one of the two old ladies who cared for her during her emigration
Photo taken in: England
Interviewee: Sophie Hirn
Time of Interview: 2003
Interviewer Tanja Eckstein

During Kristallnacht, eight men forced their way into our apartment. I was alone with my grandmother; my mother only came home later. They smashed all the glasses, all the mirrors – simply everything. I stayed with my aunt Hulda and Leopold [her son] for a few days until most of the broken glass had been swept up. 

Like all Jewish children I had to go to a Jewish school. The school I went to was situated in Castellezgasse. There was no real mood for learning there, and fewer and fewer pupils attended; one girl moved to Palestine, while others immigrated elsewhere. We talked a lot about immigration among ourselves as well as with our teachers. In that period, I had very intense religious classes and was thus introduced for the first time to Jewish tradition, which was made very accessible to us at school; we also celebrated the Jewish holidays. We learned a lot about Purim and I was impressed by the story of Esther and Haman. At Purim 1938 I wrote a very long poem. At home we started – under my influence – to live a traditional Jewish life. My grandmother was familiar with the traditions and so we also celebrated seder, but only once, and lit the candles at Chanukkah.