Holocaust Memorial Day: ‘We did not know the separation would be forever’ Fred Barschak

Fred Barschak, 82, of Charteris Road, Kilburn, was the only member of his family to survive after escaping on the Kindertransport.

“The hardest part was saying goodbye to my younger brother. At three years old he was too young to be evacuated.

“We did not know it at the time that separation would be forever. Our parents said ‘we’ll come as soon as we can’, but they never did.”

Fred grew up in Vienna and was evacuated on the Kindertransport on December 20, 1939, to Hull. He was the only member of his family to survive.

“Vienna achieved in three or four weeks what would take five years in Germany. They couldn’t get the “no Jews” signs up quick enough.”

At the age of 13, Fred watched the news reels of the liberation of the Belsen concentration camp by the allies. “All those bodies. You couldn’t possibly avoid thinking that it could be happening to your family.”

By 1947 he found out the truth that both his parents and his brother had perished in the camps. Fred has used his experience to work to ensure that the Holocaust is never repeated. In 1988 he put on an exhibition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Anschluss between Austria and Germany.