Harry Bibring was born in 1925, in Vienna. His father owned a clothing shop. Harry enjoyed ice skating, learning about mechanics, and spending time with his sister, Gerta.
In November 1938 Harry's father's business was destroyed during Kristallnacht, and he was arrested soon after. Harry was transferred to a school that permitted Jews to attend. After his father was released from prison, the family intended to flee to Shanghai. His father was robbed on his way to pay for the tickets. Thinking of the safety of their children, Harry's parents arranged for him and his sister to flee to the United Kingdom on a Kindertransport train, where they would be sponsored by a family friend.
Harry went to school in London until the advent of the war, when he was evacuated to the country. On his 14th birthday, he had to return to London, where he worked as a shop boy in his sponsor's clothing store. Harry corresponded with his parents until their deaths early on in the war. He later moved out of his sponsor's house and found work as a mechanic's apprentice until the end of the war.
In May 1945 Harry met his wife-to-be; they married two years later. He went to night school in order to become a professional engineer. During this time he and his wife had a son. By 1958 Harry had three degrees and worked as an engineer, and later he taught engineering until he retired in 1991.
In this clip he describes the impact of anti-Jewish legislation on his childhood.
Immediately - as I say, it was March so the skating season was just about coming to an end. So I wanted to play in the parks and go to cinemas and things of that nature and immediately there were certain cinemas which - the majority of cinemas - which we weren't allowed to go to, as Jews. And the main park we played in was also out of bounds to Jews, and we had to go to a much smaller park which was actually nearer to where we lived - but they didn't have a football pitch and things of that nature.
Immediately we were treated as second-class citizens, and I kept on asking my parents - you know - "so where's this gonna end?" I mean, next thing I won't be able to go skating - that would be the end of the world if that was gonna happen, and of course it did happen. But "no, this will be alright - go away and just carry on... behave yourself". So we carried on living as best we could.
I do remember practically all the cinemas, you weren't allowed to go in to - and my sister was the goodie-goodie. She was the well-behaved child of the two of us but she, of course, being two years older - she was more interested in cinemas. She defied these orders and she went in, hiding her face.
She didn't look, perhaps, particularly Jewish but she used to go the cinemas that were out of bounds to us and got away with it. All the time really - with her friends - it was sort of a daring thing to do. But you couldn't do that in the park, because people knew you in the park. You couldn't do that.
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