Kurt Brodmann tells the story of his family: how his father Leopold, an actor, fell in love with Franzi Goldstaub, who was sitting in the audience. Franzi came from an orthodox family and her parents would not let her marry an actor.
Because he was so much in love, Leopold gave up his acting career and went into business.
Leopold and Franzi raised two sons. During the war, one son, Harry, fled to England; Kurt emigrated to Palestine, while their parents found refuge in Shanghai. There, Franzi opened a cafe and Leopold became an actor once again. After the war, the family was reunited in Vienna.
Kurt says that his parents grew up in the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Empire covered much of Central Europe, including today's Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Transylvania (now in Romania), and parts of Italy, former Yugoslavia and Poland.
On June 28, 1914, the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, prompting Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia. This action mobilized alliances across Europe and triggered World War One, in which Kurt’s father fought.
Kurt's parents settled in Vienna, the capital of Austria, where Kurt and his brother were born and raised.
Vienna dates back to the Roman Empire, at which point it began to grow and develop into a European economic, political, and cultural capital.
Kurt's brother left Vienna for England on a Kinderstransport (German for children transport). Around 10,000 children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland were sent without their parents to England, where they were able to survive the war.
In 2008, a sculpture was erected in the main train station in Vienna commemorating the Jewish Viennese Children who were able to escape via the Kindertransport.