Kino and Kinder: A Family’s Journey in the Shadow of the Holocaust is the story of a European Jewish family’s struggle to survive in the face of Nazi antisemitism
and the Holocaust. The terrible history of twentieth-century genocide is told through the lives and writings of the survivors and is illustrated by evocative historic photographs.
In 1915, Paula Ticho’s family buys a cinema in Vienna. It is to be run by Paula and her sister, Selma, two single women. The Palast Kino proves to be a success, but in the late 1930s, the Nazi party’s antisemitic policies lead to its being forcibly taken over. Threatened by Hitler’s rise to power, Paula sends her younger son, Peter to safety in England to join his half-brother, Erich before fleeing herself – a penniless refugee.
During the Second World War, Paula becomes a matron at hostels in Tynemouth and Windermere, caring for forty Jewish girls after they have been evacuated from Europe by the Kindertransport. The girls’ descriptions of the insidious rise of antisemitism during their childhood in Europe, the distress of leaving their families, adjusting to hostel life, and the trauma of surviving when most of their family perished are, at times, heartrending. Paula’s son, Peter, tells of his internment in the Isle of Man and Canada and naval service whilst Erich joins the army.
After the war, Paula, Erich, Peter and the hostel girls have to rebuild their lives. Reconstruction of the fates of family left behind in Vienna and Paula’s fight to have ownership of the Palast Kino restored to her is based on contemporary correspondence and archival research in Vienna. Kino and Kinder moves between Brno, Vienna, London, Newcastle, Windermere, the Isle of Man, and Canada as it follows the lives of the family.
The book provides many wonderful details about life in Vienna, Austria and Central Europe before World War Two and in post-war London. With over eighty unique original photographs, the book is essential reading for all those interested in the Second World War and European Genocide/Holocaust Studies.
Dr Vivien Sieber worked in biosciences research and teaching, learning technology and information literacy at a range of UK universities.
She lives in Oxford with her husband and dogs. Since retiring, she is learning to make pots and has now written Kino and Kinder, which is her first book.