Last week I applied to have my German citizenship restored. This is because I would be German if not for the Holocaust. That is, everyone in the generations before me on both my mother and father’s sides were German and Jewish. Some of them stayed and survived for various reasons (say because their ancestors had converted a few generations earlier and according to the various rules of the Nazis they were no longer Jewish), some (my grandfather for one) were killed, and some left in time for Brazil, Israel, England, and the United States.
So I’ve provided the necessary documentation and expect to get my German citizenship before long. Why? It may surprise some, but I feel very German. I was raised with German food, German activities, and so forth. My father was a specialist in German politics and I spent a lot of time in Germany (years, in fact) as a child. I speak German fluently. My family was assimilated and so I have German relatives who are Christian because their ancestors converted and in 2005 I met many of them for the first time when the University of Frankfurt celebrated my great-grandfather who was a famous brain specialist and started the Edinger Institut there. As for my mother’s family, they were from Berlin and managed to get out so late because of our cousin Lotte Passer who was already in London. Lotte died last month at the age of 99. You can see a moving interview with her here. I’ve always been fascinated that my parents were interned as enemy aliens on the Isle of Man because England was at war with German and they were, after all, German. Another cousin Werner Isler, came to the States. An avid music lover, he passed away last month as well; you can hear his lovely piano playing here.
Over the years I’ve done many posts related to the Holocaust. Here are a few of them: