St. George's Alumna Vesna
23 July 2020
This month our featured Alumna is Vesna Frank who was a student at St. George's back in the 1940s. Now in her late 80s, Vesna has a very interesting story to tell.
My name is Vesna Frank and I was a student from 1944 to 1948. Long ago and far away! Since then, I also attended some Old Girls meetings and reunions.
I was born in Zagreb, (the former) Yugoslavia in 1932 and took refuge in Switzerland in 1943. Unfortunately, I lost my father in a concentration camp in Croatia and my uncle took care of my 2 sisters and 2 cousins. He travelled around Switzerland with my aunt to find the best boarding school for my older sister, Dara and myself. Well, St. George’s was just perfect. We would learn English and French at the same time. We had sports and went skiing in the winter and swimming in the lake in the Summer.
Miss A.D. Guy was the headmistress and my favourite teacher. English was the subject I enjoyed the most and it was very important that I learnt it to continue with my studies. Even today, I still prefer to read in English! I have many fond memories. I loved playing netball and being among the other young girls and the staff helped me not to think of the past and the worries in my family.
I will never forget Victory Day in 1945 when we had a big costume dance, we were able to take the costumes from the Theatre. There was a student, Eileen McCouch, who was a descendant of an American Indian and had very black hair and painted her face – she looked very traditional.
There was also a German student Fiorimonde v Wedekind, who was the best friend of my sister. She could stay in her room and food was taken to her.
My best friend was Vlasta Bartos, she was Czech and lived in Calcutta, India. Her father was a director of Bata shoes. I also remember Lolita Shivdasani, a Hindu, Mirielle Arditi from Italy, who had lived in Egypt, but had to leave with her family, because they were Jews.
I am also Jewish, after I lost my father and the many members of our family in Croatia, we escaped to Switzerland from Italy before the Germans occupied it.
In Switzerland and St.George's Dara and I never had any problems and we thoroughly enjoyed our time spent there.
After I left school, I studied in Geneva at the École d'Interpréte.
My sister, Dara lived in Milan for many years until she passed away. The German student, Fiori used to visit her when she travelled to Switzerland.
I met my future husband in Klosters, the Swiss ski resort and we married in Zurich during 1957. I have been living in Buenos Aires, Argentina since 1960. I fell in love with my new homeland and am very happy living here. I have a daughter, Diana and a son, Daniel and 2 granddaughters.
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