Tuesday 30 January 2018

In Exile - what happened to one German Jewess



Clara Lehrs was able to secure accommodation in a private ghetto in Rexingen.
There had always been a large Jewish community in Rexingen.
In 1938, several Jews left from there for Palestine and established a community in what has now become Israel. This was the only successful group emigration from Germany during the Nazi time.
Rexingen is home to one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Baden-Württemberg.
The Jews first arrived there in the sixteenth century


It was presented to the Red Cross as a model camp – it was made to look a bit like a holiday camp.
Clara was only in Theresienstadt for one month- August to September 1942.
15,000 children were educated in this camp despite schools being forbidden.
It was designed for 7,000 but 60,000 lived there.
The camp had a huge impact on the nearby town.
Many old people, including Clara, paid a lot of money for a nice location within their new home. They thought they were going to a spa. 


The construction firm Schonbrunn did not know at first what they were building.
Jewish people worked in the camps – those with red armbands undressed people and those with blue received them from the transports.
Old people, disabled people and other weak people were shot in the back. 
When the gas chamber was constructed inmates were told it was a bath.
The incoming deportation trains generally consisted of 50-60 cattle wagons containing six to seven thousand people in total.


What do you understand by “ghetto”?
How might a “private” ghetto operate?
Which advantages might Rexingen have over a city centre ghetto? 
How could you make camps like this seem pleasant?


Wednesday 17 January 2018

Being Jewish


Liberation form a death camp


Jews had been hated for a long time.

Since medieval times they had been distrusted e.g. Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.
Even Martin Luther didn't want them 
However, in the 19 century in Germany they were given much more support. Read the extract form Clara's Story on the right.    
When the Nazis took over in 1933 Jews  made up 0.8% of the population i.e. about two people would be Jewish in a class of 30 students   

Nazi Persecution of the Jews Timeline

1933 Jewish shops and businesses are boycotted. Jews are barred from being civil servants or working at a university 
1935 Jews are barred from the armed forces. The Nuremberg laws are enforced and Jews are no longer German citizens
1935 Doctors cannot work at German hospitals.
1937 The Buchenwald concentration camp is built.  
1938 – 9/10 November is Kristallnacht – Germans destroyed Jewish business and Jews are given the bill.
All businesses have to be given up to Germans.
Jewish children can now only go to Jewish schools.
1939 The first ghetto is established in Czechoslovakia.  
1941 The first extermination camp, Belzec, opens
1945 Death marches begin, and are fortunately followed by the liberation of camps 

An extract from Clara's Story  

“What did Frau Hellerman mean about the law being on our side now?” Clara asked Wilhelm later.
“It’s not always been easy for Jews,” her brother replied. “A lot of people don’t like us. But now the law says we have to be treated like any other citizen.”
This was so difficult to understand. They were just like everybody else, weren’t they? So why did they need a law to make them the same as everyone else? 
“Is it just because we don’t believe Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah? Is that why people don’t like us?
Wilhelm laughed. “It’s not that simple, actually. You’ll understand one day. Listen. You’re just in the first stage of your life. Just enjoy it and don’t worry so much.” He turned and left the room.  
It was so annoying. Why did they all treat her like a child? She was almost twelve and would have to pin her hair up soon.       

Why did some Germans hate the Jews?

Discuss these reasons. Do they make sense?  What else can you think of?
They didn't think Jesus Christ was the Messiah.
They had all the best jobs.
They were too rich.
They didn't look German.
They had some funny habits.
They were arrogant.