Son of Holocaust survivor returns to Austrian school which expelled his father for being Jewish

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Son of Holocaust survivor returns to Austrian school which expelled his father for being Jewish

Michael Bibring continues to share the testimony of his late father Harry Bibring who fled the Nazis on the Kindertransport

Michael-Bibring-with-students-from-the-school. Pic: HET
Michael-Bibring-with-students-from-the-school. Pic: HET

More than 70 students from a grammar school in Austria heard from the son of Holocaust survivor and former student of the school, the late Harry Bibring.

Amerling Gymnasium (grammar) school in Vienna met Michael Bibring, who continues to share his father’s testimony with schools through the Holocaust Educational Trust’s (HET) outreach programme, last week.

Harry, who passed away in 2019, was expelled from the school in April 1938 at the age of 12, following the German annexation of Austria, known as the Anschluss.

Ostracized by his non-Jewish friends, he was forced to transfer to a basic secondary school designated to accommodate Jewish children.

A-card-from-the-school-including-a-picture-of-Harry-Bibring-BEM. Pic: HET

Harry fled Nazi occupation and travelled to the UK on the Kindertransport in 1939. He dedicated the later years of his life to sharing his testimony.

In 2005, Harry, who lost both his parents in the Holocaust, returned to the school for the first time to speak to the students and returned a year later to unveil a memorial to remember all the former Jewish students who were expelled in 1938.  The fates of many of them remain unknown.

Michael Bribing said: “This was an extraordinary event. To go back to the school that dad was expelled from and speak to their students about the horrors that led to that expulsion was so rewarding and emotional. Even more so because my dad had spoken at that school many times and students who had listened to him came in numbers when we unveiled the Stolpersteine five years ago.

“HET, my dad and I, were and are, firm believers in education being so important in fighting prejudice and intolerance and this whole experience underlined the importance of that in a way I found so moving – hopefully there will be opportunities to do it again”

Following the testimony, Michael was presented with a copy of his father’s school report from 1937.

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