What's on your mind ?

The city my grandfather used to call home no longer exists – except in our minds

After his death, I wanted to know more about his life, and the city that made him and very nearly killed him

Every Hanukkah through my childhood, if I was visiting my grandparents’ Liverpool home, my Grandpa Oskar told me the exact same story. With a pickle on his side plate – my grandma serving up his favourite dinner of latkes, vusht (smoked sausage) and eggs – he’d recount the night during this very Jewish festival in 1937 that his family – our family – fled for their lives from the Nazis.

The preparations for their escape might have been secretly in motion for weeks, but the first he knew of the plan was as it was happening: he arrived home from school to be told he and his brother were going on a trip that very December night. They’d be travelling with their mum; their father – my great-grandpa – would meet them on their journey. It was only later that he’d learn their destination was England, a new permanent home for our family, now refugees.

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