Refugee Describes Beatings He Suffered, Attacks He Witnessed, Synagogue Raid
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Refugee Describes Beatings He Suffered, Attacks He Witnessed, Synagogue Raid

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A refugee from Germany whose body bore horrible scars, the result of Nazi violence, yesterday told a Jewish Daily Bulletin reporter of the scenes of horror he had witnessed among his fellow Jews in Germany.

“Oh yes,” he said, “I can tell you plenty, I can even give you the names of the people and the dates of the occurrences, but please don’t use the names, it will only mean torture for those unfortunate ones still in Germany. And please don’t use the dates either, or the incidents will be traced and a bloody revenge taken on people who have already suffered enough.”

He was a short, stocky, baldheaded, Polish Jew who had lived most of his life in Berlin. No, he would rather not say exactly how long he had resided there. His sick wife and daughter were still in Germany. But he had his papers with him and was perfectly willing to show them, if the information was not to be made public. He had been a manufacturer, but it was best not to specify the nature of his business.


“Let me tell you what happened to me,” he said. “and then I will tell you some of the other sights I saw. Sometime in April my cousin obtained a visa enabling him to go to Palestine. In the evening I went over to his house to help his wife pack their belongings. My cousin was in hiding and dared not enter his own home. While we were engaged in the packing, several armed policemen, accompanied by a group of Nazis knocked on the door and demanded to be admitted. When they entered and asked what we were doing, I explained and when they asked whether the additional month’s rent had been paid, I told them that I had no money. The only answer was a terrific blow on the head that still causes me severe pains.

“When I recovered, one of the policemen ordered two of the Nazis to accompany me home to get the money. As we reached the doorway of my home, one of the Nazis stabbed me. I fell to the ground unconscious and lay there until my family carried me into the house. The wound opened up the scar of an old operation and caused many complications. I was ill for many weeks. Finally I managed to escape from Germany with only 200 marks in my possession. Now I am utterly destitute. I was a rich man once, but there is nothing left now. I am penniless.


“But let me tell you of outrages I witnessed,” he continued. “The evening before the boycott started, I saw large groups of Nazis on the street in which I lived. They carried crowbars and ripped off all the signs on the doors of Jewish business and professional men. These were replaced with filthy obscene signs of all descriptions, proclaiming the fact that Jews lived there. Earlier in the evening a young Jew was brutally beaten with pieces of iron pipe, right in front of my door. I saw a Jewish doctor who lived across the way from me run down the street with Nazis following him and beating him with steel rods. A tailor who lived a few doors from me was forced into a cafe by a gang of Nazis. He was never seen alive again. Two days later his body was fished out of a canal.

“Early in May occurred the mass raids on the Grenadierstrasse, where many of Berlin’s Jews live. In one Temple, the Nazis removed the Torahs and tore them into little pieces. The Jews who were present were forced to sit in rows and the Nazis cut their beards off. The sexton of the Temple had his beard cut off and a piece of his cheek was brutally torn off at the same time. Many were taken to the ‘Brown House’ where they were terribly beaten and compelled to sign statements saying that nothing had happened to them. Later the Nazis phoned the homes of the victims and asked if anything had happened to any member of the family. Invariably the answer was no.

“Every Jew on the street and in every house was searched and robbed of every cent he had. Old men and women of over 80 were arrested and taken to jail. Many were held for more than ten days before they were finally released.”

So it continued, every other phrase or so was “he was brutally beaten,” or “he was taken to the Brown House” or “no one knows what happened to him.”

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