The Story of Charlotte Amdurer, née Kohn, 1921-2011
Charlotte Amdurer, née Kohn, was born in the Austrian town of Berndorf in 1921. Hers was a family of patriotic Austrians who could be traced back locally to 1650. Her father and his brothers all fought for Austria in the First World War.
Describing her family’s background in Austria, Judith explains how anti-Jewish laws implemented by Hitler over five years in Germany were introduced in Austria in only a few months following the Anschluss (the annexation of Austria) in March 1938. She describes the horrors of Kristallnacht (the November Pogrom) in November 1938, and its aftermath. The miracle of Charlotte’s and her sister Frieda’s escape is revealed, but so too are the stories of those who were trapped in Austria and perished in the Łódź ghetto and elsewhere.
Judith’s presentation uses anecdotes from Charlotte and formal testimonies given by Charlotte’s sister, Judith’s Aunt Frieda, to Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation and to the Leo Baeck Institute. The presentation is richly illustrated with historic photographs and documents and a disturbing video capturing the warmth of Hitler’s welcome into Vienna.
After the war, Austria claimed to have been amongst Hitler’s victims. This presentation exposes this lie and warns people what can happen when you hate ‘the other’ so much you want them dead.
Judith’s presentation is not the story of the death camps but of the role of the bystander who stood by and let evil things happen, paving the way for the Final Solution.
Presented by Judith Hayman
Judith Hayman studied at Manchester University before qualifying as an English teacher. After her three children were in school, she returned to work as a newspaper journalist. She retained her interest in education and served as a governor of a large Manchester primary school for 20 years.
In the two years before Covid, Judith spoke to 30,000 schoolchildren about anti-Jewish racism. ‘Love thy Neighbour’, a teachers’ guide based on this resource, has been taken on for use by the national charity Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and the Church of England Manchester Diocese.
Judith sees her promotion of Holocaust education for Generation 2 Generation and her work as an educator in anti-Jewish racism for CAA as indelibly linked. The alarming rise in antisemitism has convinced her that educating the next generation may offer a solution to the ‘oldest hatred’.