This is a picture of my uncle Isidor Friedmann, my mother's oldest brother, with the volunteer fire brigade of Prein. My uncle is the second from the left, sitting. The photo was taken in Prein in 1928.
Uncle Isidor, who was just called Isi, took over my grandfather's house and shop in Prein. He was married to Josephine Katz. Her parents had a huge house in Vienna's 16th district. Isi and Josephine had two children: Erika and Erich. Shortly before World War I Uncle Isi built a new house opposite the old one.
My grandmother wasn't very old yet and still helped out in the shop after her husband's death. She stopped wearing a sheitl when she grew older. When I was five or six, she was very old and lived in a room on the first floor of my uncle's house. Uncle Isi wasn't very religious and didn't lead a kosher life. She wouldn't have touched any of the food in the house, so my uncle regularly drove from Gloggnitz to Neunkirchen to get kosher meat for her. In the afternoon my grandmother went down to my uncle and aunt's place for coffee. The house was always bustling with activity, there were often visitors, and our whole family got together there, too.
The family emigrated to Palestine via Antwerp. Uncle Isi had planned to return from Palestine and take over the house and the shop, but he died before, in October 1946, in Tel Aviv. A little while after his death, his widow, Aunt Josephine came to Prein and sold the house to her former chauffeur, who had already worked for them as an apprentice.
The house was extremely beautiful. It was torn down a little while ago. When I heard about this I felt miserable. I think I would have bought the house if I had had the money because to me it was more than just a house.