Object: Book

Category: Peter Briess; Refugee; Czechoslovakia

Physical Description: Paperback book. Gloss cover. Complete.

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This book was written by Peter Briess. Peter came to England with his family, from Czechoslovakia. The family fled increasing danger from the Nazi regime and persecution of Jewish people. 

Further Information

This  book 'The House That Saved Us' was written by Peter Briess. Peter was born in September 1931, to parents Hans and Else, in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia. In 1935 the family moved into a house whose construction had been commissioned by Peter’s father. Peter’s grandparents lived on the first floor while Peter and his parents lived above them. The family were Jewish, and Peter recalls a happy life during his early childhood. Particularly spending time with his grandparent’s housekeeper, Anezka, who also reared chickens, ducks, and geese. Anezka was not Jewish, and remained loyal to the family throughout the Holocaust and the Second World War, looking after Peter’s grandparents and later keeping the family’s photographs and letters safe. The family themselves faced increasing danger from the rise of Nazism, and persecution of Jewish people. By early 1939 Peter’s father had determined the danger too great and had been planning to move the family out of Czechoslovakia, however troops from Nazi Germany arrived in Olomouc before they had left. By chance the Commandant of the troops desired to have the Briess family home for himself, although at the time complying with the request and surrendering their property was essential, Peter’s father negotiated that the Commandant provide the family with exit visas in return for them leaving. This move, which was very dangerous at that time, would save their lives as securing passage out of Nazi occupied zones became increasingly difficult. Peter, his sister, and parents began their journey to England on 29 June 1939. Many family members remained behind and because they were Jewish, many of Peter’s family members were murdered during the Holocaust. Peter has written this book to tell their stories including the hardships, danger, and intense fear which the family experienced. The book preserves their stories, allows their memory to live on, and assists understanding of both Peter’s personal family history and the Holocaust.