Eli Kamlot and Fanni Kamlot

freedom in Britain

Vienna erupted in anti-Semitic violence immediately after the Nazi takeover on March 12, 1938. But according to Eli Kamlot, people were well aware of what was happening long before the Nazis marched across the border. Austria had a long history of anti- Semitism and was very happy to rid itself of Jews. In the first three months of occupation 18,000 Jews left the country,among them, Eli Kamlot.

Escape meant traveling east. Eli and a group of his friends boarded trains and left the city in an attempt to reach Palestine. He got as far as Yugoslavia where he was caught, imprisoned and finally released on the Austrian border. Eli heroically walked back to Vienna and again attempted to leave the country.

The Austrians enjoyed terrorizing the Jews. Fanni Kamlot and her father were arrested by the Viennese police and held in prison for days without food. She and other Jewish women were ordered by the police to scrub the streets of her native city.

As members of a Zionist youth group, Eli and Fanni both made their way to England in 1939 and were married in 1940. Apart from the constant Nazi bombing of England, Eli has wonderful memories of the English people and their 11 years in the country.

In 1962 Fanni and Eli came to the United States. The only other survivors from their families were Fanni’s two sisters, one who left for Israel from Vienna at age 14 and the other who was shipped to Britain as part of a Kindertransport.