Lilli Tauber - A Suitcase full of Memories

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Lilli Tauber grew up in a small town in Austria, Wiener Neustadt, where her parents tended the family store. Then came 9 November 1938--the pogrom known as Kristallnacht. Her father was arrested, Lilli was thrown out of school, and when her father was released, her parents got Lilli onto a kindertransport to England. From her refuge in Great Britain, Lilli wrote countless letters to her parents. And they wrote to her--not only from Vienna, but from a ghetto they were sent to in Poland. At war's end, Lilli returned to Vienna to look for them. Perhaps they too would return. But the letters Lilli found in a suitcase told a terrible, heartrending story. And then there were the pictures her father had sent back. This is Centropa's longest and most complex film, produced by Ulrike Ostermann, assisted by Wolfgang Els and Marie-Christine Schmid, with the help and dedicated cooperation of Lilli Tauber.

Study Guides

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY

Lilli’s father was born in Neunkirchen in Lower Austria.

FIRST REPUBLIC

Lilli’s parents relocated to Wiener Neustadt where, in 1927, Lilli was born. 

ESCAPE

After the Anschluss, many Jews wanted to get out of the country as soon as they could.

In 1939, Lilli’s brother left illegally for Palestine. During that time, Palestine was a British Mandate, and therefore had a restrictive immigration quote. Many Jews entered the country with illegal transports – this clandestine immigration is known as Aliyah Bet. “Aliyah” is a term that means immigration to Israel.

POSTWAR AUSTRIA

In 1945, Austria had declared the Second Republic. In 1946 Lilli returned to Vienna.

For many years Austrians did not want to acknowledge their role in perpetrating the crimes of the Second World War, preferring to view themselves as the Nazi's first victims. This attitude, in part, made it very difficult for those Jews returning to the country after the Holocaust to settle in.

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Lesson plans for this film