Hedi Argent was born in 1929, and lived in a suburb of Vienna, Austria with her parents Max and Liza. Hedi’s father was a lawyer and her mother trained as a chemist before raising Hedi. Although the family were Jewish they did not practice. As the family became more restricted by anti-Jewish laws, Hedi’s father lost his job and they lost their home and many belongings. The family managed to leave Austria intending to travel to the United States of America, but stayed in England as the Second World War prevented further travel.

Please explore Hedi's artefacts to discover the impact the Nazi regime on Hedi's family life, religion and education.

Hedi's Family Life

Little Susi

Why would Little Susi be important to Hedi?
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 'Little Susi will always remain very important in my life because in a way for me, she symbolises not only what we brought with us when we came, which was very little, but what we left behind, which was a great deal and not only Big Susi but everything else we owned, and more than that all the people we left behind, that we never saw again'.

Hedi's Religious Life

"How religious would you say you felt growing up then?

Hedi : Not religious at all. Because they, very early taught that there was no such thing as God....But, very Jewish, to be proud of my Jewish heritage."

Hedi being interviewed in 2015

What do you think Hedi means by her "Jewish heritage"? 

Hedi's School Life

"In the school I went to, in my class I was the only Jewish child, in fact there were only two Jewish children in the school."

Hedi being interviewed in 2015

What words might be used to describe Hedi being the only Jewish child in her class?

"There was no official persecution in Austria until 1938, until the Anschluss. Uh, I mean, unofficial anti-Semitism was rife. But it didn’t become, authorised, as it were, until 1938."

Hedi being interviewed in 2015

What was the Anschluss?

What do you think Hedi means by "unofficial anti-Semitism"?

How far was Hedi's experience a result of the Nazi government?

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