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Work in Sardinia


The Blitz and my family
Wolfgang Suschitzky Film-maker
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I was mainly out of town, but I didn’t take many in the Blitz. I did do some fire watching on top of 21 Soho Square. We had a bucket there to put the fire bomb into it with some tongs, I believe. But luckily, it never happened to us. Others in Soho were hit, and my own flat was hit in the... in 1940, and was fire bombed and we had to move out. I... to continue the story of my luck, my wife was a wonderful mother, and wife to me, and she mainly brought up the children because I was away so often, working. But the children went to a progressive school in Fortis Green, and my younger son went to grammar school later and my older son went to comprehensive school. And my daughter went to university after school and learnt French and English, I believe. They all grew up to be wonderful people, and I’m proud of them. You didn’t have to say that... And my wife was rather frustrated because she wanted to work too, but having three children was more than a full-time job for her, and she was a wonderful cook, another bit of luck for me. She did excellent Mohnstrudel – poppy seed strudel – and nut strudel, as well as of course the usual very good Hungarian food.

Born in Austria, Wolfgang Suschitzky (1912-2016) trained as a photographer and became one of the first in his field to take portraits of animals. After coming to England he worked with Paul Rotha as the cameraman on various documentaries and films such as “No Resting Place”, “Ulysses” and “Get Carter”.

Listeners: Misha Donat

Misha Donat is the son of Wolfgang Suschitzky. He has composed music for the theatre and the cinema (including films directed by Lindsay Anderson, and by Albert Finney). For more than 25 years he was a senior music producer for BBC Radio 3, where he planned and produced the prestigious lunchtime concerts at St John’s, Smith Square, at which many of the world’s leading artists appeared on a regular basis, and also instigated a Young Artists’ Forum as a showcase for musicians of the coming generation. As a broadcaster himself, he has given many radio talks. Misha Donat has contributed a large number of programme notes to the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, South Bank, Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Brighton Festival and other venues, and he has written CD booklets for such labels as Decca, DG, RCA, Philips and Hyperion. He has been a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine since its inception more than 10 years ago, and has written articles for The London Review of Books, The Guardian, The Musical Times, The Listener, Opera, and other publications. He has taught at the University of California in Los Angeles, and has given lectures and seminars at Vassar College and Bard College in New York State, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore), and in the UK at Durham University, the Barbican Centre, the Royal Festival Hall, and the Norwich Music festival. He is currently working as a producer for the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Tags: The Blitz, Fortis Green, World War II

Duration: 2 minutes, 45 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2008

Date story went live: 06 August 2009