The Story of Stella Curzon 1928 - 2018
Stella Curzon was born in Vienna in 1928 and came to England as a refugee aged ten. She was the only daughter of Schulim and Mina Schatzberg. Growing up she thought that all grown-ups ever talked about was politics, as when she was four years old in 1933 Hitler had become became the chancellor of Germany. Stella’s family evenings were spent with family gathered around the radio listening to what was happening to the Jews in Germany.
Jews made up ten percent of Vienna’s population, and they were allowed to work in all fields, own businesses, go to the city schools, attend and teach at the university. They could not believe that the people amongst whom they lived harmoniously would overnight become their oppressors. In March 1938 the Anschluss, when Austria was willingly annexed to Germany, meant the removal of their freedom.
That day Stella had to leave her school. Her father, a dentist, was only allowed to have Jewish patients. They were forbidden to go in certain parks, and they lived in terror. November 1938 saw Kristallnacht, when synagogues, Jewish shops and homes were smashed and burned. After that Schulim, along with other Jewish men, was taken to a concentration camp in Dachau and Stella and her mother had their apartment taken by their neighbours.
Mina was a determined wife and masterminded Schulim’s release from Dachau. He then came to England and through a series of fortunate events, he found three women to offer Stella refuge and save her life and her belief in the kindness of people.
This presentation is delivered by Jane Curzon, Stella’s daughter. It includes family photos, copies of documents and video clips of Stella talking.
Presented by Jane Curzon
Jane Curzon works as a lead psychotherapist and team leader for the NHS in Barnet.
Jane presents her mother Stella Schatzberg’s story with pride and gratitude. She is proud of how her mother and her parents kept their spirits up when facing an existential threat and grateful to the English ladies who offered Stella refuge and to the village in Kent that welcomed her.
A year after her mother died, Jane realised that the best tribute to her mother’s memory would be to carry on her mother’s hope and vision of going into schools talking to students about her experience of surviving the Holocaust, whilst friends of hers did not.
Jane hopes that apart from learning about the systematic murder of 6 million Jews, the pupils appreciate the importance of kindness and how they can make a positive difference to other people’s lives with consideration and curiosity.