by Erica Fischer
Translated by Andrew Brown
The extraordinary true love story of a couple who were separated during a shameful and fascinating chapter of British history, told by the couple's daughter.
In July 1940, Erich Fischer found himself in Liverpool being herded onto a British transport ship bound for Australia, along with 2,500 other men. Conditions on board were horrific, with men locked below decks with overflowing latrines and only seawater to clean themselves. Separated from family, friends and removed from any semblance of a normal life, Erich is unsure whether he will ever see wife again.
Erica Fischer’s Over the Ocean tells the extraordinary story of her own parents and at the same time sheds light on a little-known and little-discussed chapter in British history. Fischer’s parents met in Austria in the early 1930s. Her mother, Irka, was a Polish Jew and her father, Erich, was a Viennese lapsed Catholic. Faced with growing unrest in Europe, Irka fled to the United Kingdom in 1938, her husband followed a year later. However at the outbreak of war, Erich had been arrested as an ‘enemy alien’, and having been interned was deported to the opposite side of the world. Faced with unimaginable hardships, the deportees banded together in solidarity to face their new life in Australia and Erich was, against the odds, able to make contact with Irka and their letters established a lifeline between continents.
Publication date: 27/06/2014