2. Pre-War Nazi Persecution

After Adolf Hitler took power in January 1933, the Nazis implemented measures to give effect to their racial hatred of the Jews. On 1 April 1933, the regime organised a boycott of Jewish-owned shops and businesses. Jews in public sector positions and in certain professions were dismissed from their jobs. Some forms of Jewish life remained possible, though Jews were exposed to random brutality and cruel discrimination.

However, under the Nuremberg Laws of September 1935, Jews were officially degraded to the status of second-class citizens, and marriages between Jews and 'Aryans' were declared illegal. These laws provided the basis for the total exclusion of Jews from German society. In March 1938, the Nazis marched into Austria, unleashing an orgy of looting and violence against the Jews.

The Jews of Germany underwent a similar ordeal in November 1938, during the terrible state-inspired pogrom known as 'Crystal Night'. Jews now grasped in desperation at any means to escape abroad. Thousands tried to secure visas in a life-or-death bid to gain entry to any foreign country that would admit them.

 

The ship St Louis, for example, left Hamburg for Cuba with 907 Jewish refugees, but the Cuban authorities would not let them enter. Having repeatedly failed to land its passengers at various ports, the vessel on its nightmare voyage was heading back to Germany when the governments of Britain, France, Belgium and Holland eventually agreed to admit them.

Get out before you are kicked out

I bring my kids up to be tolerant, to be understanding with any religion and to forgive. But it’s very difficult. I can’t forgive the Nazis for what they did. I can’t. Not with the best will in the world.

I would say that I think it is very important that people should take careful notice of what is going on around them. If you don’t keep a very sharp watch, people can get away with things which they shouldn’t.

You accept what goes on in your life, really, in a way without questioning. And once Hitler came to power when I was thirteen...Well then everything changed in any case, you know. Friends from school, whom you walked in the break with, arm in arm, wouldn’t do that anymore. And you just didn’t know what hit you in a way, you know?

I was in this boarding house where I was working. And I had a telephone call from Germany, from my mother. And that was in 1938. And… she told me that my father was dead. He was… I said, “How come?” She said, “He was murdered.” But she didn’t say how. And I didn’t know. I didn’t know who could have murdered him because… well, I didn’t know all these stories.

And next day was Saturday. And we were still sleeping. Somebody was knocking at the door. So… my mother opened the door and there was our neighbour. A very nice woman, and a Jewish woman. But she was protected because they didn’t have enough pharmacists in the city, only four. And they were all Jewish, but they needed so they were protected. And she said, it was seven o’clock, and she said, “You are still in bed?” She came in and she had seen that we children were in bed. I don’t know if my parents. And, “You are still in bed? You are on the list. You will be deported today! Go away somewhere!” So she didn’t have to say it twice. We jumped out of the beds.

And and then gradually the children in my class would disappear. And we got used to that. They were just- They wouldn’t turn up! They were, they were deported.

And then, we were put into two queues. One for men and boys and one of women, children and girls. Sort of six abreast or so – I can’t remember - something like that. And I was slightly confused; I was a bit slow on the uptake but you know you’ve never seen anything like it before. You don’t know where you are, what’s happening, what you’re supposed to do. But there were orderlies, there were people in pyjamas who put you - into the queue and you just follow what they say. And - I didn’t look out for anybody but my mother did see me. She wasn’t that far; she came over, she broke rank. She came over, shook me by the hand, and went back. And I followed her. They disposed of… literally of the queue of women and children and girls. At first, you went up what they call a ramp, but it wasn’t a ramp at all. It was flat; it was just a narrow passageway they made. And you went one after the other. And at the end, the far end were some SS people, and they apparently would point their finger either one way or the other, but I didn’t notice that. I saw my mother go left. So when it was my turn, which was very soon, I simply didn’t take any notice of what the SS man – I certainly didn’t watch his fingers or anything. I simply went left. And I was hauled back, because apparently his fingers had pointed the other way and somebody had watched his finger to make quite sure – after all it was rather few out of the 1,500 of us. And I was hauled back, and told to go the other way.

I have one particular memory, that must have been I think in the spring of ’39, when we went to spend a weekend I think in a little town outside Prague called Dobris, where my family had many links, because my paternal grandfather’s first job as a rabbi was in that little town. And had maintained links with it. And we were there, and in the night, I was woken by sounds of violence and shouting and noises. And it was the Germans who had come to smash up the synagogue. And it was terrifying. And the next morning the synagogue was in ruins.

One day, on 30th June 1933, not all that long after the Nazis took power, my mother received a phone call from my head mistress to say will she should come to school and bring her husband. And my mother, knowing I had gym that day, thought, “Oh God, something has happened to her.” But, what had happened to me was the following. This was the last day of school, she called the whole school to the assembly, and, except me, I was in her office, not knowing what was happening, and she took me outside, to the podium, you know, standing there in front of all the assembled school and she said, “This girl is a criminal, she has called our soldiers, or whatever, Nazi Swines, she is herewith expelled.” And do you know my hair still stands on end when I talk about it.

My father was let out of Buchenwald, I believe after three weeks. I have never been told by my father what actually happened in Buchenwald. I know he left Germany on the last night of 1938 on a stretcher being taken by his brother to his great friend in Sweden. My mother, it seems, then wound up things in Germany, gave up the flat. I believe they put everything in packages or something, and something was stored in Germany. I equally know that my brother was put on a Kindertransport in Berlin. My mother must have brought him to Berlin. And he came to England, to Dovercourt. I was at the time living in Willesden and I went to see him. I must have had enough money to go to Harwich and I visited him in Dovercourt camp.

We used to go out weekends, my father had a car, and we had picnics, and it was a jolly happy life, until of course it got a bit more difficult, really when Hitler took over in 1933, it all went downhill. My father didn’t have a proper job, my grandfather’s factory, he had a flags factory, that was gone, and on the whole it was getting more and more difficult once Hitler came. I went to school, I was very good at sport, and I used to win things and, in the end, because I was Jewish, I couldn’t do it anymore and every year it was more and more difficult. And then, when I got to about 13, I think it was, I had to leave the school. I went to a Jewish school.

We could no longer really go on holiday in Germany, because everywhere they had those notices: ‘Jews not allowed’ and I actually remember, you know, we had somebody to look after us as children, and this girl was blonde, blue-eyed, and she was Jewish, and we went to a swimming pool which I think a week before had been alright to go to, and they put a notice up: ‘Jews not allowed’ and I said ‘I’m going home, and she said ‘come on, come on, I’m blonde I look Aryan’, and I remember being terrified. And nothing happened to us, but never again, I just didn’t chance it, you know.

Thirty-three… it’s interesting. My father, having sort of lived through the sort of brutality of Eastern European sort of …people. Particularly the Cossacks, and all, and various other organisations and where the Eastern European Jewish communities were from time to time seriously attacked, even massacred and so forth. They always felt - had a great feel of insecurity. And that of course when my father came to Germany, I mean primarily in order to keep the family going back home. But… having already from a very early age, left his, his birth- his country of birth, there’s always a sense of insecurity. And people have asked me many times, “Why is it that you left immediately in 1933?” The majority of people left much later.

they [ her parents] had contact with somebody who was a …a non-Jewish lady who was working for the Resistance. And she was the lady who was instrumental in finding a place for my brother [who was a baby] to be hidden. And also he was very blond, blue-eyed, so they thought that would be very much easier than with me, being very dark- haired and dark-eyed. So they didn’t even think about me being hidden. But he was then sent to people out of Amsterdam. And…. I was told that whoever was going to ask me what had happened to my brother- because the people who knew my parents, they wouldn’t have asked. They knew what has happened. But people who didn’t know them I had to say that we had lost him somewhere on the way. And it was mainly after, when we went to Westerbork, really.

And then one girl was called Hilde Zenk; she was my best friend. But she never, ever… did anything; whether she was a Nazi, I don’t know. Because she never, after Hitler came she never talked to me again. And that was because she was my real friend, I thought.Very.[upsetting] Ja. Because she was my first girlfriend and my only, more or less only girlfriend. Yes. And that was quite hard to swallow; you know, couldn’t quite understand. And she never sort of spoke to me again.

[Going on holiday] very near Forte dei Marmi. And…and we went there. And we had been there one day, I have a photograph with my mother written the dates at the back, or, with my mother and my brother and I in the water, on the beach there. But that was basically only for one day, because on the evening of that day, a Carabiniere which are part of the police of course, came and said, he said, "You shouldn’t be here and you know it, because Jews are not allowed." He said, “I’m just telling you, because tomorrow morning I’ll come to send you away.” So of course we left the same night. So, as a child, there were these instances that… this change in your daily life that of course you notice and you feel something also in the air. The grownups talk about the problems.

The person, well she was a teacher, but she was more. She was in charge of the class that I was in. She was - had been an illegal, illegal Nazi. There were lots in Vienna. People who belonged... because you know the party was illegal... under Dollfuss. But a lot of, sort of, pro-Nazi people - especially amongst the teaching profession. They were, they came out suddenly. They had been. And I remember she said there was a...a little talk she gave and she said, “No Jew has ever fought in any wars for us.” And I remember saying, “My uncle and my father did. I have photographs to prove it.” And she said, “Rubbish.” She didn’t do anything to me, but she sort of shut me up.

So, it was a school holiday around that time. And a few days after Eichmann arrived, I went- I met a classmate, and I said to him, “I'm looking forward to going back to school.” And he said, well, he was going to go back to school but I'm not, because his father told him that I'm a dirty stinking Jew. So although I was ten, I started to cry. And I rushed back to my mother. And that was when she told me that we, in fact, come from a Jewish family. And, and a few days later there came out vast... posters, detailing the anti-Jewish legislation. You had to hand in your bank accounts, and your precious stones, and any gold, and hand over motor cars, and cameras, radios, carpets - anything of value. And of course we couldn't go to school.

when it came to Crystal Nacht, my father was rounded up, together with other Jewish men. And he was incarcerated for... a week or so. During which time I remember my mother ageing by about ten years. I mean she was a young-looking woman, but...but that was a terrible time. He got out eventually, because at that time, the Viennese or the Nazis, still respected the war record, right? And when he came out, he told us, perhaps a little bragging, that when a young Nazi tried to speak to him, right? He told him to stand “Hab Acht”, which means to “Stand to attention! You’re speaking to an officer!”, right? So I mean he, he- and I must admit that him having told us this, all during the war, when we in England really weren’t told anything of what was going on, right? All during the war, I felt quite confident that he would be alright some... that somehow or other, on the strength of his war-time record and his general ability to handle things. But of course I was wrong.

Forever [losing her mother in the Holocaust cast a dark shadow over her whole life]. It makes me wish really what Heine [Heinrich Heine] said: “Better never to have been born.” You know when Heine said: ...”Sleeping is good, dying is better. Better never to have been born.” And I wholly agree with that.

Yes. I had to open [the door to her father's dental surgery in Breslau]- I was given the job of opening the doors later on when there was- when the Germans didn’t allow Jewish... assistants. Actually he called me to help him at the- at the... place you know when, when, when he was working on a patient. And let them in and then take them- take over certain duties like cleaning the instruments and so on. And that was- I felt very grown-up by then.

Jews were not allowed to have... fork and knife and anything made of silver that fitted into a basket - huge basket that was. And we both carried that to the police station. It was very bad. We felt dreadful. But no we didn't have any nasty remarks on the way. So we were without the silver. So what? And one can do with- you know, one can eat... as long as one gets one's life.

Well Kristallnacht was in a way- yes, it’s- I went to school as normal on my bike. On the corner of our street was a- a- the toy shop. Which was there until fairly recently, strangely enough. It's been a toy shop all these years. Only recently has it been changed. When I came out, there was a- one of the glass windows- one of the windows had been smashed. Which- well it could have been an accident. I don’t know. I saw it. And there was- used to be a game called- English it’s called Ludo – “Mensch ärgere dich nicht”. And there was this thing flapping in the wind and it says: “Mensch ärgere dich nicht.” But I- I could still see it. When I get to school, go- commotion, smoke coming out of the building, teacher outside the school, “No school today.” Didn't know why. “Go home.” And- whatever. Well, you didn't have to tell a boy twice, “Go home. No school.” Wasn't such a pleasure for me, you know, that’s always- a day off is very good. So I thought, well, before I go home I’ll go and visit my uncle the butcher, you know, which is not very far from there. When I get there - completely destroyed. Windows smashed, inside there was a large shop with ma- all marble - smashed to small pieces. And then suddenly I said first the shop on the corner where we lived, then the school, now this. There’s something obviously wrong somewhere

My parents didn't know where I was for the first four weeks until my cousin, who worked at the same factory with me, told my mother that I was taken away by the Gestapo. But they didn't hear from me and they didn't know where I was until we were able to write a card that we are where we are, that we were being looked after very well and it was for our own protection. Clever thing!

The worst thing was knowing what happened in the concentration camp and being told not to talk to anybody. I didn't even tell my parents; I didn't tell my sister. I didn't tell anybody what is happening in the concentration camp because you had to sign a pledge that if you ever talked about it you would be back, and you wouldn't be released any more.

And then I was designated a dental mechanic by the German authorities. …although I wasn’t one. But that saved my life. First, that was a special privileged occupation, like watch makers. So, I was lucky, I was indoors, ‘til the deportation came.

According to history books, only synagogues were burned down that night on the 9th or the 10th 1938. But history books I’m afraid, have got it slightly wrong, because that night of terror was far, far worse than anything that they describe in the history books. It wasn’t only synagogues that were burned down. They broke into all the Jewish homes, because they knew exactly where all the Jewish people lived. With their pickaxes … broke open the front doors, they hacked out the windows, the window frames. They slit open the feather beds, because in Germany you had feather beds at that time. Not a piece of furniture was left standing. Not a cup or a saucer was left whole. It was a night of terror which to this day I have not forgotten.

And, as you know of the 9th November 1938, well the day after 9th November 1938, all Jewish children were expelled from the German state schools. And I still remember, I was walking through the village and the school inspector said, ‘Why aren’t you at school?’ and I said, ‘I’m Jewish, and I’ve been expelled.’ And he did not reply a single word! I still remember that.

People went illegally to Switzerland and to Belgium. Some got turned back. You got stories "Don't go there for that. Don’t go there for that." You really didn’t know where to go. If you got to Czechoslovakia Hitler follows you round, so you were no better off.

The fact that I could read, I could see the anti-Jewish slogans everywhere and the fact that you just mixed with your own kind, and you couldn’t mix with anyone else– I don’t know, it was always there– I suppose it started, obviously, in ’36, when I was twelve years old, but I was– we must have been aware of it before then.

When I was seventeen, one year to go to matriculation, the Germans occupied Hungary, so I never went to the last class before graduating from school. …All the anti-Jewish legislation they put into practise in Germany over years, and in less and less time as they occupied various countries, and by the time they got to Hungary, it worked like clockwork.

My mother… realised that the Germans were approaching and people were being rounded up and sent off. There was only one chance and that was to leave Brussels. I was a small baby, so she picked me up …and she set off on foot to try to get …to England. She walked for 6 weeks along the road, carrying a baby. Very, very brave and managed by walking from port to port to get on, I am told, what was the last boat that got back to England without being bombed or stopped. She was made a big fuss of and there were articles in the paper about this brave young woman who had managed to save her baby and get back to Britain.

Yes, I remember the- I had the visual memory of a newspaper the day after the Anschluss... which came out with a monster headline “Umschwung!” or something. It was not a Nazi sympathising newspaper, and I think they disappeared from view very rapidly. I remember people marching in the streets. I remember Jewish women being made to scrub pavements which was a- One could see from our window. I don’t honestly think... I was bright enough to be affected deeply by it all. I just sort of accepted this is what was happening and... eventually got on a train and got out of it

But we had to move schools; that was quite clear. The first week after the Anschluss, when I went back to school... I immediately assumed my role as prefect next to the teacher. Ignoring signs and whispers from Jewish children in the front row, “Come down. Come down.” I was that stupid. And I waited until the teacher actually said, “Well, I think you can’t be prefect any more. Why don’t you sit there...” or something. So in retrospect, I was astonishingly either innocent or stupid or both – about the whole... Nazi business.

When Hitler- started rising, don’t forget, we lived 10 kilometres on the Polish side from Germany. And since there was horrific unemployment in Germany, people used to come over and whoever could employ and help them, they did. But from nothing, you could feel some sort of something was growing. All of a sudden people used to come from the countryside, demanding things or grabbing things or cursing, openly cursing.

I can tell you exactly [about the Anschluss]. I was at school, we were in class as usual, the middle of the morning, our schoolmaster said to us, ‘Will you please all get your coats and go home as quickly and as quietly as possible?’ And that was that. Now, at the back of the school there was a Jewish street and you could see the tanks and the soldiers already on that street. I remember going home very, very quickly and then all I remember is that we all became much more afraid.

Professor of Art History Wilhelm Pinder, … was Hitler’s advisor on art. He was a brilliant lecturer, he was a brilliant man, but he rewrote the history of German art. Everything was German. And that of course went on in Hamburg later- The libraries were cleared, every book which had Jewish authors, there were book-burnings. And that was in ’33. The university was a shambles because all the time you had to listen to speeches and you had to parade around. But of the art historians, there were really no Nazis. We visited Berlin and chairman of the students of Art History, appeared and he was wearing an SS uniform, and we thought he was going to a fancy-dress party.

My father knew about Kristallnacht. We knew a lot of what was going on, and people did. The fact that people said they didn’t know, if you wanted to know, you would know, and my father wanted to know. For my mother, it was hard for her. We got poorer and poorer. Probably my father’s finances were involved to some extent. The war came.

The family had opened up a business branch already in 1934 in London, and every year they used to go, and as usual they left in February. When the Anschluss occurred, they were actually in London. I remember, the day after the Anschluss, 12th of March, there was a phone call from my uncle, and I remember my auntie shouting through down the phone, “Don’t come back, don’t come back! Get us out of here.”

When he looked for somewhere in England where he could send his children when the Hitler threat came, he said, ‘We’re Jewish and we’re not ashamed of it. On the other hand, if families that are non-Jewish offer to look after the children, we will be just as pleased as long as they find love and friendship.’

1936 or thereabouts. …Getting ready for school one morning before my parents got up, the doorbell went, two men came in and said they wanted to speak to my parents. The maid saw what was going on and hurried me off to school. These men from the Gestapo arrested my parents to take them down to the B’nai B’rith Lodge headquarters, in the centre of Berlin. The members of the lodge were all lined up in a row, standing, and nothing happened. There was no food, no water and, when somebody wanted to go to the toilet, they had to raise their hand. And one of the men standing in this row was Rabbi Doctor Leo Beck, who was head of the Rabbinical Institute in Berlin, a very learned, very respected, very revered rabbi, who survived the war and later came to London. Anyway, they came home, and that was the impetus which made them decide to leave, it was time to leave, it was a red light.

I can still remember when the Anschluss was about to happen, I remember I cried like nobody’s business because Austria was about to be invaded by Germany. I mean, it was nothing to do with being Jewish; it was all about being Austrian.

I had a very good job and my lawyer was very happy with me, I worked hard, day and night. Until one day, in my seat there was a letter, he wouldn’t come and say it personally: “Sorry you are dismissed, by order of the Nazi Party”. So, he didn’t come out and shake hands with me or nothing, he was frightened of the secretary who was a born Nazi. You see, it is most impossible to understand what happened, unless you were amongst it.

They [her doctor father’s patients] were from all walks of life, from the labourer to the farm workers to the counts of the manor. There was this boycott day which I will always remember, when the Nazis stood in front of our house and forbade the patients from coming in.

I had to leave school - I was politically very precocious. In my school where half the pupils were either Jewish or not Nazi, we used to play a game when there were school meetings. You had to sing ‘Deutschland, Deutschland über alles’ and ‘Die Fahne hoch’ and we had a trick by shouting ‘Deutschland, Deutschland über alles’ in such a way that the Nazi anthem sounded rather feeble afterwards. I have been one of the people who organised that, and that was one of the reasons I was removed from school even earlier than I had to go. It was intimated to my father that he had best remove me, but eventually everybody went.

1933- And the following form teacher I had was a fanatical Nazi and he did everything he could to instil Nazism into his pupils. Although, I must say, he was not hostile towards the few Jewish pupils who were there. But he certainly was a fanatical Nazi. One thing I remember, there was a great big plaque with a huge swastika, colourless, but into it you knocked nails. I think you paid a small amount each time you knocked in a nail, and each was one of three colours - red, white and black - and it eventually made the swastika. And, as I say, he talked about Hitler and how wonderful he was.

My brother had to leave Germany. One of the first things they did, they expelled people from the Reichsschrifttumskammer, which he had to become a member of in order to write. You couldn’t become a member if you were Jewish. So he went to Prague because that was the only place where you could go and write in German. He already had a name, so he went over to the Prager Tagblatt.

In 1936, the Olympic Games were held in Berlin. Shortly after that we all went back to school and suddenly I noticed that none of my mates would have anything to do with me. I felt very odd and I spoke to one of them. And to give him his due, he was very honest. I said, ‘Fritz, what’s going on? We’re all good friends here but nobody speaks to me’. ‘Yes’, he said, ‘I’ll be very honest with you. My father said I mustn’t play with Jewish kids anymore’. And that was traumatic. Suddenly I was ostracised. Suddenly all my friends- I saw them, you know, as close as you are to me, for instance, but they wouldn’t speak to me.

We were manufacturing and selling them (cigars) while my brother was in Dachau in the concentration camp, in order for his wife to buy food for herself and the family. They released the people eventually. Some never came back because... were elderly and possibly died of heart attacks or even starved with cold. Very hard surrounding where Dachau is in winter, and by the end of November, it came into December it’s winter. I can assure you.

As to the anti-Nazi agitation or action, I got in touch with the League of Nations youth union and I addressed them in ’35 or so. And tried to put over what was happening in Germany. And I met a reaction which was total silence. They just didn’t understand what I was talking about. They thought I was coming from the moon.

When they stopped us from going to school, I was thirteen. I knew how to darn stockings beautifully; it was like a weave. Someone had a great big pile of stockings to darn... I was occupied with that.

My mother went round the house with the Gestapo to make sure they didn’t plant things and afterwards accuse us of having things. And my sister- I remember my sister screaming “Don’t take my daddy away!” - in German of course - “Don’t take my daddy away!”

At the Anschluss, things became more serious because a Jew in those days had no rights. Anybody could attack a Jew - in front of a policeman - and he would take no notice. So whoever wants to have a go at you and attack you did so. My brothers were chased a number of times which made them realise that you can’t live like this.

The [school] director got us all into the assembly hall. He had this pact with the janitor who fiddled with the radio and it crackled and crackled. And the janitor would say every time: “Sorry, but the radio’s broken”, and they all clapped and went back to the classroom, never listening to Hitler’s speech. So you had little anti-Nazi tricks. You had to have a director who was courageous enough to do it, and a janitor who worked with him. And girls who didn’t go home and denounce the director.

I’ve got an exercise book, which I had aged eight, in the spring of 1933. The teacher was obviously somebody who was completely enthusiastic about the Nazi takeover and straight away pushed out all this: how great the war was, how heroic Germany was and- subtext being, ‘We’ll have another go, and this time we’ll win’.

[About his father, Ludwig] Two Gestapo officials came and took him away. Then the thing after that was that my father had this big library. Partly it was because he was a collector of antiquarian books, but the bulk of it was his library. He also had an enormous number of review copies being the publisher, and so on. They came and took most of it. A removal van came with large cases, and people who knew what they were doing took the books and put them in there.

I remember quite vividly staring out of the window, with my nose against the window, and there was a Gestapo man on the other side of the road in a doorway, watching our house.

When things got bad and my father was not allowed to work anymore, a German doctor was put into our surgery in a bigger part. Our flat was divided. We had to live at the back and this other doctor had the surgery in the front. My father had to come up the back stairs which was such an indignity for him. He took it all in his stride and made no preparations to emigrate whatsoever.

We had a centre for Jewish youth right next to us which had huge glass windows. In ‘38 around the time of Kristallnacht that was all smashed up. My parents, they’d gone to try [to] send us children off, to get papers. They were away, but we were next door when this home was completely smashed up. We were sitting - all three of us - anxiously, while this was going on. And my middle sister who was the calm one said, ‘Let us knit or crochet or do things while this is going on.’ She thought to try to calm us down until our parents came back again.

[after Kristallnacht, Berlin] I came to the place of work, which was a scene of utter destruction. The glass was shattered; the books from the displays strewn on the pavement and inside didn’t look any better. The place had been looted and practically destroyed. So my last task was to clean up all the mess outside and inside and it was also the end of my job as a delivery boy.

My father’s surgery had to move out in 1938. He was a dental surgeon. He took over what had been my room and made it into a surgery… until the 10th of November, when he was arrested and taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he stayed for 4 weeks. They’d taken him down the front stairs. I don’t now remember what my mother told me, but it was a pretty horrendous time.

As years went by, I was firmly convinced that my place was in Germany and that the Nazi hordes were there on ‘auf Abruf’ [on call]. That any day Mr. Chamberlain would march in at the head of his troop with his umbrella and chase the Nazis away. That was what I thought, and it was very foolish, but there it was. And that made me stay as long as possible.

[about Kristallnacht] I was up in the night and I went to the Babelsberger Strasse [Synagogue], and I saw what happened. And that strengthened my belief: this cannot be forever. The people who produced Dürer, Goethe, Kleist, a cultured people like the Germans would wake up any day. It was total delusion. The only thing I can say to make it explicable is that my love for everything German was greater than my common sense.

After the Kristallnacht, there was a time when my father and I slept in a different place every night because he didn’t want to be caught, as it were. And the interesting thing is, it was exciting. My father went to live in a hotel. I lived with my grandparents. And in due course on something like the 25th of August, 1939 we went to Amsterdam - because there was at least a theoretical thought that Holland might stay neutral.

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