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Accession Number: NEKHC:2012.25.2

Object: Employment Exchange Card

Physical Description: Brown card printed with black ink. Black handwritten ink. Complete.

Information: This document forms part of the Vera Price Collection. It is the employment exchange card issued to Vera's father Richard after his arrival into the United Kingdom. 

Further Information

This  Employment Exchange card was donated by Vera Price. The document had been issued to Vera’s father, Richard, who after entering the United Kingdom as a refugee from Nazi persecution of Jewish people was classed as an alien. The card has a note handwritten on it drawing attention to Vera’s father’s status as an alien and that he cannot work without permission. Vera's parents had remained in Germany, until after Vera’s older sister Ursel, was born. In 1933, due to the threat against Jewish people, the family moved to Katowitz, Poland, thinking the family would be safer. Vera’s mother, Suse, crossed the border to a hospital in Beuthen, Germany, to give birth to Vera in 1935.

In 1939 Vera’s father, a leather merchant, decided the family were no longer safe, and made arrangements for them to emigrate to Australia, which his brothers and sister had already done. The family were granted Australian visas, and in July 1939 Vera’s father left for England to arrange a stopover in England during the family’s travel to Australia. Vera’s maternal grandmother, Doris, and her mother’s younger sister, Alice, were already in England at this time. Two weeks after her father had left, Vera, her mother and sister joined him in London having flown to Britain. Some of their goods were already in the process of being shipped to Australia, however due to the outbreak of the Second World War the family are unable to continue their journey on to Australia.

The family all lived in one room in Maida Vale for about a year and shared a bathroom with other families including her grandmother and Aunt Alice. Vera’s father was very ill with heart trouble, but got to know a German refugee living in the area who made salamis, and another who made chocolates. Suse, Ursel and Alice got hold of bicycles and cycled around selling the sausages and chocolates. They then rented a house with Aunt Alice, and Vera’s grandmother. In 1941 Richard and Suse took over a small delicatessen in Finchley Road, helped by Ursel and Alice. Vera’s father did not recover his health, and died in 1942, aged 43. Ursel married an officer in the Polish Army and went on to run her own delicatessen in Willesden Green. Vera’s mother remarried in 1947 to a man who had himself come from Germany, and was now in the Pioneer Corps. Vera’s education remained important to her mother, and she went to an excellent grammar school before taking a modern languages secretarial course and later meeting her husband. 

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