Gretel Katz, my grandmother, was once an illegal immigrant in a country that didn't want her.
In 1938, she fled to Switzerland from Nazi-occupied Austria.
Gretel would have been deported were it not for Paul Grüninger, a man who didn't believe in borders. (More on him shortly)
Gretel was raised in Vienna, a dancer in the ballet at the famed Wiener Staatsoper, the Vienna State Opera house. She was 15 and had recently earned a pension, awarded after 9 years work. It was meant to be her job for life.
Here she is on the right with a Viennese opera singer.
In March of 1938, Hitler decreed Jews could not participate in the arts in Vienna.
On April 23rd, 1938, Gretel was handed a letter after a performance at the Staatsoper, addressed to her father Max.