Felice Mathur was born on May 15, 1920 to Adolf Spiegel and Karoline Spiegel in Vienna, Austria. Her father was a Jewish man, involved in business and the owner of multiple meat shops. Her mother was a Catholic “Aryan” who loved to collect beautiful items. The family lived an economically comfortable life; the family owned multiple cars and lived in a “large flat” in Wien in the third District of Vienna.

Before the Anschluss, Mathur studied at a Regalymnasium, but had to leave school, the seventh grade, in 1938 for her Jewish religion. After the annexation, the family was separated, and the family’s businesses and cars were confiscated. Her father and younger sister, Grete Spiegel, are thought to have perished in Auschwitz concentration camp, and her mother passed away during the war from cancer.

Felice was able to obtain a domestic permit in March 1939 and had made an escape to England. Soon, she was working as a housemaid and by 1941 she had met her spouse. On May 5, 1941, Felice married an Indian doctor and was granted English citizenship, which allowed her to apply to any job. She decided to work as an accounting clerk until she moved to India in 1950. She separated from her husband in 1956; the two had no children together. In 1966, she became a citizen of India. Felice lived in Bangalore for over 20 years.

 

Written by Carmellina Moersch

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