Memories of Kristallnacht: By a Second Generation Survivor.

Professor Steinberg participates in the march of the global initiative “Let there be light” in commemoration of the “Kristallnacht”

My father, Henry Steinberg, was born in Berlin, one of eight children, four brothers and four sisters. Anne (Fuhs) Steinberg, my mother was from Halle, in what became East Germany. They both went from Germany to England via the Kindertransport, met in London and married in 1948. My mother’s parents and brother came to Shanghai during the war and then to California. After I was born, we joined them. My parents were very involved in the Jewish community and supported Israel, where her father and one of her brothers lived. His four sisters and his mother were murdered by the Nazis.

My mother was 11 years old when the Kristallnacht pogrom took place. Apparently, where he was, the shock was not felt, and he went to school as usual the next day. In his autobiography, he wrote: “When I entered the classroom, the teacher sent me home immediately, since from that day Jewish children were no longer allowed to attend German schools. That was the end of my education in Germany. ”

My father was 15 years old, lived in Berlin and was a direct witness to the Nazi uproar. In her autobiography, she wrote: “If anyone has the idea that most Germans were not Nazis, Kristallnacht dispelled that myth for me and for everyone who witnessed it. In November 1938 he was 15-3 / 4 years old. I saw the Germans going crazy. Like an angry mob, they were insatiable. They just kept going, from street to street, from synagogue to synagogue. Crushing, looting and burning. The next day they had the Jews clean up the mess. All he could think of as he saw this was that they would pay for this. ”With his older brother and others, he ran to local synagogues (little synagogues) to save Torah scrolls, shofars, and other ritual objects from destruction. He carried the shofar in his backpack to England a year later and played it every year on Rosh Hashanah in our California synagogues until he was 80 years old.

My father had a basically optimistic personality, despite everything and like many others, my parents left Nazi Germany and the Shoah largely behind them, as much as possible, creating new lives for them and for us, Like kids. But when there are anti-Semitic incidents, it reminds us of what the Nazis did and their memories of Kristallnacht in particular. In our house, long after the war, we did not buy German products, the memories were imprinted on all of us. For my father, a strong Israel as the home of the Jewish people was the only answer to the lessons of Kristallnacht.

My father thought that the world had not learned the lessons of the and, worse still, many Germans and the descendants of their European collaborators, formed their own distorted versions of the Nazi era. His message to the younger generation was to be strong, to be proudly Jewish, and to stand up for what is right.

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