Walter Brill – Memories

The Brill family history is viewable in two online archives.

Walter Brill was interviewed about his life in pre-War Germany, as a Kitchener refugee and then soldier in Britain, and then about his life as an immigrant in the USA. This extensive interview is available in the Leo Baeck digital online archive, searchable under ‘Walter Brill’.

There is also a blog page about the Brill family history on the Jewish Museum Berlin website, currently available at the following link: http://www.jmberlin.de/blog-en/2013/11/moving-encounters/

I have provided a PDF here in case their link becomes invalid over time:

Kitchener camp, Walter Brill, Jewish Museum Berlin – Blog

Kitchener camp, Walter Brill, Passover 1934
Passover 1934; Source: Leo Baeck Institute; Photo credit: Jim Strong
See “The Holocaust Chroncicle: A History in Words and Pictures,” Publications International, 2002
Caption: 1934: Under growing Nazi oppression, the Hugo Brill family celebrates the Passover seder 
Hugo Brill is Walter Brill’s father. Walter Brill, my father, is the man standing on the upper left of picture, wearing a top hat
Submitted by Winston Brill for his father, Walter Brill

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Winston is not sure whether Irmgard was ever resident in Kitchener camp, but it is possible, given the date of her arrival in Britain. As Clare Ungerson notes in her book, Four thousand lives (2014), “Very suddenly, from 5 September onwards, there were some in the camp – about 200 of them and all wives of the camp men. … some of the wives were even able to bring their children into the camp and whole families were reunited in one place” (p. 142).

In 1949 the family emigrated to the USA on the SS Ile de France. Irmgard’s application for herself and her three sons for US citizenship is attached below.

Irmgard Brill US citizenship
Irmgard Brill US citizenship
Submitted by Winston Brill and family, 2017

Information submitted by Winston Brill and family, in memory of Walter and Irmgard Brill, 2017

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“In rummaging through a drawer of old CDs I came across an amazing coincidence.

Here’s the background: After my mother, Irmgard, died, my father lived for his last eight years with a Jewish-German woman, Ruth Carter, who had lost her husband. I knew her fairly well and knew that she and my parents had been friends for years. But I knew very little about her background since I wasn’t that interested and never asked.

But, an hour ago, I found a DVD of Ruth Carter giving an hour-long interview with a local Jewish organization – “Daughters of Israel” – which interviewed Ruth on 10 December 2009.

Ruth married in Germany but was separated from her husband during the war when he went to Kitchener camp in May 1939. In Kitchener, he befriended my father Walter. He was in the British army for six years. He changed his name in England from Julius SHARLINSKY (that’s how it was pronounced by Ruth, but I do not know how it was spelled) to John Carter. So that friendship in Kitchener led to both my family and theirs living on the same street in Newark, New Jersey, USA, starting around 1950, for three years. Then both families moved to other places in New Jersey. The families remained close. Ruth had one child who died at age three. So that meeting of the two men in Kitchener led to my father living his last eight years with the wife of his old Kitchener pal.

I was hoping to find a Julius Sharlinsky (spelling?) on your site’s list of Kitchenerites, but couldn’t find anything that matched. I was so disappointed.

Ruth made the following recording when she was 93 years old, about seven or eight years ago. I don’t know of anyone who would have knowledge of her life, or the spelling of her husband’s name. During the war, she was hiding from the Nazis, then Russians, in Germany and Poland. She saw her husband only after the war, when she moved to England for 2 years, and then to the USA.”

Editor’s note: we have since managed to find out that this man’s name was in fact Julius Czarlinski; we have now been in touch with the family through Winston Brill and have created pages for Julius.