4 Pages

A change of circumstance

WithJoseph Rykwert

This chapter provides the early experiences of the author. He returned from a summer holiday spent in Marienbad, in Czechoslovakia, a smartish watering place that the Emperor Franz Josef had fancied, and which was ever marked by his presence. His father's Anglophilia was too early to have been tempered by any anti-Nazi feeling. 'Anglophilia is of course a phantasy' – wrote Ian Buruma – 'like all forms of -philia, which can easily degenerate into a form of pretending to be something are not'. Anglophiliac he certainly was, yet his father was too forthright to disguise his identity. My father was in Britain at the time; grandfather had, in 1911, sent him to the Verviers Polytechnic near Liege, in Belgium. He soon found his way to Manchester, where he made a thin living by giving Hebrew lessons, but also registered as an engineering student at the polytechnic.