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Charles was born to a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria. His father was a printer. In 1937, Charles was admitted to the Medical School of the University of Vienna. When the Germans marched onto Austria and arrived in Vienna on March 13th, 1938, Jews were no longer permitted to study at the University, and Charles began to search for a way to get out of Austria, now a part of Germany. By August 1938, he had found a way to leave, and on August 12th he said his last goodbye to his parents and fled to Luxembourg.