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Two Austrian-Jewish siblings stand next to a chain-link fence.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 75081

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    Two Austrian-Jewish siblings stand next to a chain-link fence.
    Two Austrian-Jewish siblings stand next to a chain-link fence.

Pictured from left to right are Susi and Herbert Popper.


    Two Austrian-Jewish siblings stand next to a chain-link fence.

    Pictured from left to right are Susi and Herbert Popper.
    1929 - 1930
    Vienna, Austria
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Harold Basser

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Harold Basser
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2005.332

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Suzanne Basser (born Suzanne (Susi) Popper) is the daughter of Julius Popper and Olga Massarik. She was born in 1926 in Hietzing, a suburb of Vienna where her father worked in banking. Her father, Julius (b. 1886) rose through the ranks eventually becoming the director of a noted Austrian commercial bank. His father, Markus Popper, had been a high Police Department official, and Julius himself served in the army for the entirety of World War I. He received a medal for his injuries and obtained the rank of Oberleutnant. Olga's family moved to Vienna from Bruenn, Moravia, and she received an excellent education in French, English, and piano. During World War I she became the manager of a small private bank. Julius and Olga were married in 1921 and had their first child, Herbert, the following year. Though not Orthodox, the Popper family celebrated all the Jewish holidays. Their lives changed dramatically following Germany's annexation of Austria on March 12, 1938. Immediately Austria's Jews were subjected to humiliations and persecution. Five days later, on March 17th, 1938, members of the S.A. and S.S. beat on the family door at 3 o'clock in the morning. After rummaging through the house, they arrested Julius, and he spent the next ten weeks in prison. They only released him after Olga brought affidavits from his bank, from the War Ministry, and from a leading Nazi official who used to work with him. However, Julius first had to promise Adolf Eichmann during an interview in Gestapo headquarters that he would leave the country. Meanwhile, Susi, Herbert and other Jewish children were expelled from school and forced to attend a separate Jewish school. As life became increasingly difficult, Julius and Olga decided to send Herbert, who was by then sixteen-years-old, on a Kindertransport to England, while they spent long hours writing letters and waiting in lines to acquire the necessary documents to emigrate. A former business client of Julius agreed to sponsor their immigration to the United States. However, while the family was waiting for the paperwork to go through, the Kristallnacht pogrom broke out. Julius again was arrested, along with most Jewish men. He was imprisoned but released after a short time after the police verified his former army service. Finally, on August 16th, 1939, the Poppers received the necessary immigration stamps and documents and departed for Trieste, Italy, the following day. On September 8th, one week after the start of World War II, they boarded the S.S. Rex for New York and arrived eight days later. Meanwhile, the British declared Herbert to be an enemy alien, and he was sent to work on a farm. He managed to rejoin the family in New York a few years later. Susi's grandmother, who had remained in the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Vienna with the intention of joining the family in the United States once they had settled in, was sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and from there to Poland where she perished. Two of Julius' sisters also perished. In 1946, Susi graduated from Hunter College with degrees in sociology and statistics. In 1949 she married Harold Basser, another Viennese Jewish émigré.
    Record last modified:
    2006-09-05 00:00:00
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