Kitty and Otto Suschny both grew up in Vienna, only a couple of streets away from each other, but they never met while growing up. After the Reichspogromnacht in November 1938, both fled Austria for their lives; Kitty went to England, while Otto emigrated to Palestine. After the war, they returned to Vienna, desperate to find out what had happened to their parents. That´s where they met, and they never separated again...
Kitty recalls that in the early 1930s, anti-Semitism did not play a very big role. However, in 1938, as the Nazis entered Austria in what is known as the “Anschluss,” the situation changed dramatically for Austrian Jews.
Otto recounts that, even amidst violence and turmoil, his parents believed they would be able to survive in Vienna. Kitty’s mother also figured she would be safe, as her husband had been a soldier in the First World War.
After Kristallnacht the British eased the immigration restrictions for certain Jewish refugees and agreed to allow an unspecified number of children to enter the country. However, after the outbreak of war 1 September 1939, the government no longer took any transports.
For the first two years Otto spent in Palestine, he lived on a Kibbutz. “Kibbutz” means “communal settlement” in Hebrew. Kibbutzim are generally rural communities that are built around the notion of cooperative living.