Renate Edler was born on 25 July 1925 in a thunderstorm at Jena. She was premature and she was not expected to live. The local priest was sent for straight away so that she might be christened. He was a little drunk. He named her Klara Renate although her family had wanted her to be Renata, spelt the Italian way with Clara, with a C, as a second name and in honour of her two grandmothers. She always claimed that the priest’s mistake helped to save her life.
The family moved from Jena to Nuremberg. Renate then went to the Wilhelm Löhe School. This was a school for girls run according to Lutheran principles. Renate had no idea that she was Jewish but all of the teachers who knew about her helped her family to keep this a secret from her and from the authorities. Nuremberg was possibly the worst place for a young Jewish girl to live in the 1930s. The huge rallies were held there and the prolematice race laws were created there.
She had the opportunity to go on a school trip to Italy. For this she needed a passport. Her father took her to the office where children’s passports were issued. He had a fearsome row with the officious young man there. Her father wanted her correct name on her passport. Naturally, she had to have her name as on her birth certificate. They were sent round the corner to get an adult passport as she was already old enough. When she needed to leave Germany in 1939, she already had a passport though an identity card would have been enough. However, there was much confusion about this and having the passport already possibly made processing paperwork quicker.