My mother Charlotte Amdurer, née Kohn, was born in Berndorf, Austria, in 1921. The family were patriotic Austrians who could be traced in Austria back to 1650. My grandfather and his brothers all fought for Austria in WWI.
Anti-Jewish laws implemented by Hitler in Germany over five years were introduced in a few months in Austria after the Anschluss (the annexation of Austria). Imagine my family’s disbelief when the Ten Commandments were turned upside down and it became normal brutally to attack rather than to love your neighbour.
The story uses anecdotes from my mother and testimonies supplied by my Aunt Frieda to Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation and to the Leo Baeck Institute.
This is not the story of the death camps but of the role of the bystander who stood by and let evil things happen, paving the way for the Final Solution.
The miracle of Charlotte and Frieda’s escape is revealed but so too are the stories of those who were trapped in Austria and perished in the Łódź ghetto.
After the war Austria claimed to have been amongst Hitler’s victims. This presentation exposes this lie and warns people what can happen when you hate ‘the other’ so much you want them dead.
Judith Hayman is a retired English teacher and journalist. During the two years before COVID she has spoken to 25,000 students in schools in the NW on anti-Jewish and other forms of racism. She has written a teachers’ guide on anti-Jewish racism and other forms of racism for the Campaign against Antisemitism.
Austrian Holocaust survivor Pete Bank writes:
“This presentation is very well done and very moving. Teaching experienced history is very vital. You have done a great job.”