Wally, 93

(2/3) “I was eight years old and it was a very bad time [in Germany] after the first world war. Almost all the men I saw were out of work. In our apartment building in Berlin I think there were one or two men working in all of the building. The first thing that went was free speech, free press—free everything. You had to watch very carefully what you said about politics. Otherwise you could do what you want to, but don’t mention anything about politics. That was taboo. So you learn to live with it. When it came to the Holocaust very few people in Germany knew what was happening in the concentration camps because we were so far outside of the city. We didn’t have private transportation. We had to depend on streetcars, the subway, and the bus, and they all stopped at the outskirts of Berlin. And you can’t walk for miles and miles. Also, they were supposed to be work camps and most people didn’t know about it, except of course people who were working and there. There was one lady my mother worked with, and her husband had been in the camp for several years because he was communist. He came home and everyone the next day asked her, ‘What did your husband say? What was it like?’ But she said, ‘Oh, he won’t say anything because they told him if he ever said anything, he will be right back where he came from.’ And so they intimidated the people to be quiet and not say anything.”

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