April 19, 2012

Holocaust Memorial Day 2012, Yom HaShoah

I am reading a book titled Kristallnacht by Martin Gilbert, about events in Germany leading up to the Holocaust. Reading it makes me thankful that my parents had the initiative to get in a timely manner all the documents needed to emigrate. The book also made me remember my personal recollection of the day known as Kristallnacht, Nov. 8, 1938.

____________________________________Erica Stux

Daddy (that is Max) was among the Jewish men rounded up and shipped to Dachau even before Kristallnacht.

On that particular day I and a few schoolmates took the taxi that always brought us to school. On the way, we were astonished to see store fronts smashed and mechandise such as yard goods and clothing thrown helter-skelter onto the sidewalk. Arriving at school, we were told "No school today, go back home." Of course we kids had no understanding of the significance of what had happened.

Daddy was away for six weeks. The story we were later told was that someone told the authorities that Daddy's patients needed medical attention, they need him in his office. But this doesn't make sense - all Jewish medical and law offices were officially closed as of Sept. 30, 1938. Most likely, Daddy's patient Mr. Klieforth, the American consul in Cologne, interceded. So Daddy was let go and came home. He never talked about his time in Dachau. But he then redoubled efforts to get all the documents needed to emigrate.

The previous July '38 when we applied at the American consulate in Stuttgart for visas to settle in the U.S., Mr. Klieforth had written to his colleague there a recommendation to expedite matters for us. We received our visas on Dec. 15, 1938. We had previously gotten permission to be in England, but had to promise our stay would be temporary, only until our number came up to enter the U.S. Before leaving Germany, we had to turn over 20% of the family's assets, plus some other payments. We left for England in January '39.

Our furniture was packed up and put in storage until we should need it. Maternal grandparents remained living in our house in Cologne, but later they were forced to move into a small apartment. Grandpa died of natural causes in '42 or '43. Grandma was deported to Theresienstadt (we found out after the war), and died there.

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