last updated: August 2022



AUSTRIA 1940 - 1959

Manfred Jiran (Fred)

Born 10/10/1940  - Vienna

A brief history of my live in Austria 'till I left for Australia in 1959 or so,right after graduating from technical college.

My father was declared MIA on the Russian front in early 1041 leaving my, now single,  mother to raise me,  during these VERY difficult times.

As a young child, I remember the last visit of Hitler to Vienna where he addressed a large gathering of mostly women and old or already wounded men, for a "PEP" talk. I do not remember the words he spoke, however, I remember the "POWER" of this speech, something hard to forget.

These last years of the war were horrible for us in Vienna,  bombings and fighter planes overhead virtually every day. We lived in an apartment building across from a railway hub, a target, and were hit by a bomb, killing many in the building - I really feel for the UKRAINIAN people today!!

When the Russians "liberated" Vienna in 1945 all went "DOWNHILL" from there.

No food, poisoned drinking water, no sanitation, power etc. Improvements were slow to come.

The MARSHALL PLAN from the USA -  (emergency food supplies) - literally saved our lives.

Enough of the BAD here follows the 'much" better::

My mother managed to enroll me in a Catholic school, were I was taught the "old fashioned way" by Nuns. Rulers on the knuckles when deserved, great discipline and great primary education. 


During those years I was fortunate enough to be sent  to Holland twice and Switzerland once  during school vacations. I was sent there to get some better nutrition.  BE FATTENED UP,  YOU MAY SAY.

Following those four years, I was enrolled in "middle school"  ( Real Gymnasium) a slightly elevated teaching facility, relative to the public schooling system, completing our mandated 8 years of school

Following these four years,  I enrolled in a technical institute, aiming to become a mechanical engineer. Four years of  EXTREMELY intense schooling, including some twenty hours of "workshop" every week, I graduated with the equivalent of a Bachelors Degree:. Six days - 42 hours /  week, in school  + home work,  was worth the effort

At twelve years of age I was given my first bicycle !  It literally changed my live. I was now independent, able to get to go where I needed or wanted to be. !

At age 13 or so, my mother re-married  and moved moved to the heart of the city leaving me in the apartment building I was raised in.  I was financially supported just fine, but had to fend for myself in all other ways. Cooking, washing clothes etc. etc.....

I rode my bicycle all over Austria and once to Italy and Yugoslavia during school vacations.  I had  joined a bike racing club and weekends were RACING TIMES !

My last vacation in 1958 I rode my bike to the WORLD FAIR in Belgium, visited my old foster parents in Holland, then through France, Monaco, Italy and back to Vienna!  greatest time ever!!



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