Most of us are proud of our birthplace, but my mother was unfortunately born in Nazi Germany. Her birth certificate has a blaring swastika symbol on it, which is an embarrassment every time she needs to produce it here in America. I suspect that people born in Nazi Germany, and stayed in Germany after the war, do not have the same embarrassment upon showing their birth certificates.
She had an extremely difficult childhood, as “war babies” often have. There is so much history in my mother’s first fifteen years. I had to scribble down all her stories, as they spilled forth from her memory. Then I set to the task of placing them in historical context, and sequential order because they were scattered and out of context as to place and time. Some of the stories were remembered from her own experience, but just as many were stories handed down to her from what her parents told her. It was with pleasure and eager interest that I researched every story as fully as I could, given the information available. I posted here after completing my historical research on each anecdote and/or story.
When my mother and her family came to America in 1955, the war had been over for ten years, but in school that first semester in America during history class the Holocaust was a major topic. It was the first time my mother remembers even learning about the Holocaust. The other kids in school called her “Nazi” and she only made one good friend. It didn’t matter to anyone that her parents were opposed to the Nazi party and were not members. I guess anyone can claim that. But it was an illusion around the world at that time that if you were German it meant you were a Nazi.
After documenting my mother’s story in Berlin, I wanted to learn more about the era. So there’s that here too.