Information straight from the source

Information straight from the source

"When Hitler came to power in 1933, I was ten years old", Samuels tells. At the time, he said, he didn’t understand what was going on. As a native of Hammelburg, he had his circle of friends and also got along very well with the teachers. Until 1933, the question of religious affiliation was a minor issue.
"Just because I was Jewish, I suddenly had no friends anymore", he reports. Three years later, his family had to give up their grain business in Kissinger Strasse and moved to Hamburg. From there they managed to emigrate to the USA in 1937. In World War II, he fought as an American soldier against Germany, Samuels says.
Alfred Stuhler, also a native of Hammelburg from Kissinger Strabe, had a similar experience. "Overnight the youth was incited by the Nazis against us Jews and against system critics who thought differently", he reports. He went to the sports field with military drill. "When the blood of the Jews spurts from the knife", one had sung at that time. "But some of my classmates continued to be good to me", Stuhler remembers. On the night of the pogrom he got a punch in the eye.
"In 1938, my parents hurriedly sold the house and we emigrated to Palestine", Stuhler continues. After 16 years of farming there, he landed in Austria after the war with his wife, a Viennese woman.

Return took a long time

Two worlds meet in the auditorium: the 1930s meet the 1930s and the 1930s meet the 1930s The present. With their questions, the students from the 11th grade set out to find out more. Year class on the traces of the Zeitgeist of that time. History teacher Claudia Albrecht-Schubel acts as moderator and leader of the discussion.
"Can one be proud of being a German today??", Rebecca asks. "It has become a different people in the meantime", answers Stuhler. "When were you inwardly ready to visit Germany after the war??", Lorenz wants to know. "That lasted until 1960, but many of those affected had not made it at all", says Stuhler. "Were there regrets and apologies from old acquaintances when you saw each other again?", asks Anna-Lisa. Stuhler shrugs his shoulders. Rather not.

Misery up close

Samuels reports a warm reunion with his old childhood friend Markus Hofstetter. After several decades, they recognized each other in a fraction of a second during his visit to Hammelburg. And then the high school students are interested in whether Samuels fought in American army uniform out of hatred for the Germans. "I was 21 and an American citizen, I fought for my country USA., after Hitler’s Germany threw me out", Samuels explains. And then he tells about the Holocaust Auschwitz and Dachau, where he was active as an American soldier in the camp liquidation after the end of the war and saw the misery of mass extermination at close quarters.
The students still have many questions. For example, they want to know whether a Jew had a chance during the Nazi era to publicly deny his faith and thus escape with his skin intact. "No, in the country people know each other", answers Stuhler. "Was the hatred of Jews not questioned back then??", the students want to know. Everyone had accepted it, confirms Stuhler. And Samuels adds: "We were so young then and could not have imagined what terrible war crimes the Totenkopf SS committed.
It is of great importance to ward off the beginnings of such dangers by democratic choice and to be wide awake against renewed excesses, especially now in the days of the NSU trial. Everyone in the auditorium was in agreement.

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