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Description

This audio clip is from an interview with Dorothy Fleming, recorded by the Imperial War Museums on 27 March 1996. In the clip, Dorothy discusses her experience of becoming enemy alien at the age of 16.

Transcript.

So, we, we were in Cardiff and there I went to Howell's School, which is an excellent school. I don't know how my mother heard that this was the best school, but it clearly was, and they must have scrimped and scraped. I had some sort of a scholarship, but nevertheless they had something to pay. But you know, Jewish people value education very highly and they felt it was a sacrifice worth making.
So, apart from the odd raids, the first I knew really seriously about the war was the day I became 16 And I think at 16 I became an enemy alien. Up to then I'd been a child but when you were 16 you were an enemy alien and I had to go and report to the police and my fellow pupils just laughed me out of it and said, "Don't worry, we know you're not an alien."

Dorothy Fleming - a short biography.

Dorothy Fleming was born in Vienna, Austria in 1928. She lived in a large flat in the fifth district of Vienna with her father who was an optician, her mother and younger sister. Their life was full and happy. They enjoyed opera, ice-skating and music. Dorothy attended the local Kindergarten and then primary school in Vienna.

When Dorothy was ten years old, Nazi-Germany took control of Austria in what was known as the Anschluss. After the Anschluss life changed dramatically for Dorothy and her family. Soon she was unable to go to her normal school. And after the Kristallnacht, her father lost his two optician shops. Left with no other choice, her parents arranged for Dorothy and her sister to travel to Britain on a Kindertransport promising that they would follow later.

After travelling to Britain, Dorothy lived in Leeds with her foster parents. Eventually, her parents were able to join Dorothy and her sister, and they lived in London in a small flat with other refugees. Dorothy had an uncle in South Wales who had set up a factory on the Treforest Trading Estate and she spent some time living with him. After a period when her father was interned on the Isle of Man, eventually her whole family were able to settle in Cardiff. Her father also worked on the Treforest Trading Estate making optical goods for the war. In Cardiff, Dorothy attended Howell's School. Later she went to university in Bath and became a teacher.

Source.

IWM, Fleming, Dorothy (Oral History) [accessed 24 November 2021]

Depository: Imperial War Museums, catalogue number: 16600.

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