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Kristallnacht was on the 9th of November. Before that on 28thOctober ... about 11 days, 12 days before, it was what they called the Polenaktion, Polenaktion, was when Germany decided that after Poland issued a decree that anybody who has not lived in Poland for five years or so will use their Polish nationality, and wouldn’t get a passport. Then there was a scramble for Polish passport by all these stateless Jews, who came from Poland, and I remember queuing outside the Polish consulate waiting for passports and in the end we were given passports so we had Polish passports. So when they made this decree about not allowing Jews to come back to Poland, because it was very antiSemitic, the regime in Poland. They made this decree because they were afraid they would get flooded with Jews. So once the decree came about, Nazi Germany decided to get rid of all the Polish Jews before Poland closed the borders, so on 28th October there was the Polenaktion, and they rounded up all Polish citizens, and don’t forget that Germany was so orderly, everything was recorded in the police station, exactly who was living there and with the name and date and date of birth and married and children and everything. They made lists, and those lists were prepared, it must have been a week or a few days before, maybe over a week before, and anybody over the age of 15 was on that list, but only men, in Berlin they only took men, in Poland they took whole families, and also the age difference, they didn’t like in Berlin, so in Berlin they only took the men over 15, so in the night or early morning, it was still dark, of 28th October, the police knocked at the door and asked for my father to come to the police station, and from there they went to an assembly place and then they went in lorries and were taken to the Polish border and at night they were pushed over the Polish border by foot into Polish territory and there the Poles stopped them and interned them, well not interned them but assembled them all into one place called Zbonszyn and in German called Neu Bentschen and this is where they stayed for about six months. And so there was just my mother, my sister and myself left, and when I woke up my mother told me “Father has been taken away.” the minute we heard that I went into, not hiding, I went into, to stay with my father’s cousins across the road because we lived on Brunnenstrasse already but they were still in Fehrbellinerstrasse, around the corner, because they had Turkish nationality. They did arrest people in the street as well, asking for papers. My luck was that I was 15 on 27thOctober, and the list was older than that, so I wasn’t on the list so they didn’t take me. It was all beshert.

My grandfather and all the Grünbaums family, they all thought they were being clever and had Polish passports. And they thought that they wouldn’t do anything to them, but they were wrong because Hitler sent them all back to Poland. Even young – even some young children. They went to Lützowstraße, the ones
younger than me. There’s a story there. So, they all went back. I remember them going to the station in Cologne and I remember all the people go through our street, walking to the station. I can see it now. And all my family with their Polish passports, they all sent them back. I don’t remember the date. But I know I was there, because I remember them, seeing… And – but most of them went to Auschwitz anyway, from Poland.

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