The Repair Shops Suzie Fletcher admits finding poignant restoration scary

The Repair Shop: Suzie Fletcher restores leather folder

In a classic episode of The Repair Shop recently repeated on BBC One, Suzie Fletcher confessed it was “scary” as she worked on an item brought in by the son of a Holocaust survivor.

Philip had brought in a leather folder which once belonged to his parents, both of whom fled Nazi Germany.

While Suzie jumped at the chance to offer to help restore the treasured item, it was a tricky task.

“Everything is in the way and I’m having to move it to position the leather,” she explained.

She continued: “I have to figure out how to position this while sewing.”

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“The final part will be to try and bring this front panel back to the vibrancy of the inner panels, and you can see that it’s actually been glued back together, which is a little bit scary to me…

“Because it could be a glue that’s not going to release, so I’m going to see if I can release the fragile leather without causing any more issues.”

The pressure was on for the restorer because Suzie had found out about the item’s history when Philip dropped it off.

“It has quite an interesting history to it, this belonged to my parents and they actually grew up in Germany, and everything was fine until the 1930s,” he had explained.

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“And everything was confiscated, everything went. And obviously, the Jews were shipped off by train to the concentration camp, and my father and his father were in the same concentration camp together.

“Interestingly, my mother was part of the underground, you might say, in that she would fake papers for people to get out of the concentration camps.

“If they’d realised what she was doing she’d have been shot on the spot.”

“Brave lady,” host Jay Blades commented before Philip continued: “So she apparently faked about 50 different people to get out of concentration camps, of which she only knew three, and one of those people was my father.

“They both went to the same sports club, so they knew each other but there was nothing more than that. And through the paperwork my father got out, my grandfather didn’t.

“And unfortunately, virtually all of our relatives were wiped out.”

Detailing the significance of the folder, he reflected: “I remember when I was about three or four my parents went back to Germany for about four months and they tried to find out what happened to their house and to the businesses and everything else.

“My grandfather was in the leather business, and somebody had saved it and they were able to bring it back to England.”

Philip was delighted with the finished result when he picked it up and thanked Suzie for her hard work.

The Repair Shop continues on Friday at 4.30pm on BBC One.

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