'My dad went to London, I to Letchworth, thus my family was torn further apart'

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'My dad went to London, I to Letchworth, thus my family was torn further apart'


Peter remembers arriving in England and having to split from his dad.


Peter Layton


Trinity College Dublin




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Peter Layton

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Adolescence and Early Adulthood


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When my mother obtained visas for myself and dad,I was released from concentration camp with the proviso that I had to leave the country within a fortnight. We were only permitted to take the barest necessities. I crammed a kitbag full of things such as socks underwear and shirts etc. and took it to the boat that was to take us to Hull. The captain said 'just put it on board,and someone will move it '. The same applied to my bicycle. On the night of our departure,we boarded with our small suitcases,the other things had disappeared. When we arrived in Hull on Jan. 25th 1939,they all reappeared,so at least I had a few extra clothes and my beloved bicycle. My dad went to London,I to Letchworth,thus my family was torn further apart. As we had no works permit,we could only do voluntary and unpaid work. I Lived in a hostel for refugees in Letchworth (Herts),where,the local committee for refugees had a hostel. What intrigued me were the orange coloured street lights,which I had never seen before. The hostel in question was at 2,Barrington Road in Letchworth. The house was called the pink house,for obvious reasons-it was painted that colour .We were an assortment of German and Austrian refugees. A doctor and his wife,a solicitor and his wife,two Austrians,an uncle and his nephew,a young chap from south Germany,and a fellow from Berlin-about 28 years old. As we did not have a works permit,we worked for a market gardener on a voluntary basis,what ever needed doingハラヤdigging picking fruit etc. The Society of Friends (Quakers) featured strongly on the committee,and a few of us went to their Sunday meeting for worship. Eventually later in the year,1939,I was given a works permit,and obtained a job with the Kayser-Bondor stocking factory in Baldock. Job of running-on to have feet knitted. This was not to last'




Irish Research Council for Arts,Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

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Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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