Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Inge Deutschkron

talked on BBC Radio 4 this morning. A teenage Jew who hid during World War two courtesy of Good Germans, [about 10,00 were hid apparently] she went to England after the war, reunited with her father who had managed to get out before it was too late, and recently returned to live in Berlin as a result of her book, "Ich trug den gelben Stern", "I wore a yellow star", published in English under the title "Outcast", being dramatised for the stage.
Asked why she returned, she said it was in part because she wanted to explain things to young Germans who, she found, were willing to listen and ask questions unlike the post war generation who acted like the Three Monkeys [my expression]. She felt the need to tell these young Germans that many Germans who lived in the Nazi era were prepared to help Jews and that the moral is it is always possible to help because people did.
The downside to her story was that when she entered UK, post war, she was issued with an enemy alien passport, even though her father had been resident for 5 years. She had to endue British people calling her a Nazi.

Inge Deutschkron
was born in 1922 in a small town near Berlin, but grew up in the capital. Her parents were both members of the SPD (Social Democratic Party) and made a stand against the National Socialists. Although the Deutschkrons were not one bit religious, in the view of the Nazis they were jews, because of their ancestors. Being political and jewish, Inge and her parents were persecuted soon after Hitler seized the power.

In 1939 Mr. Deutschkron could escape to Great Britain where he waited for his family to come, too. But there was no opportunity to flee, because Hitler had just started the war against Poland! Inge and her mother survived the Holocaust by escaping from deportation. They were hidden by different people from January 1943 until the end of WWII in May 1945.

After the war Inge Deutschkron became a journalist. From 1958 till her retirement she wrote for the Israeli newspaper MAARIV first in Germany, later in Israel. Although Mrs. Deutschkron finally emigrated to Israel in 1972, in 1990 she started to commute between Tel Aviv and Berlin in order to tell about the Holocaust and her own story.

Mrs. Deutschkron turned out to be a fascinating storyteller and an extraordinary humorous person while visiting the German group in Berlin. For interested readers we recommend to watch out for some of Inge Deutschkrons books!

Learning from History


Inge Deutschkron: "Offene Antworten" (Open Answers)

In the past years, Inge Deutschkron has often been invited to schools to talk about her life as a young Jewish girl during the Nazi era, and especially about the years when she and her mother escaped the threat of deportation by hiding from the Gestapo with the help of Berlin friends. Numerous letters from students between the ages of 10 and 16 (which are often quoted in the book) show what a great impression her personal story, and the openness with which Inge Deutschkron answered all questions, made on young people.

At the beginning of the nineties, with the rise of neo-Nazism and increasing hostility toward foreigners, these discussions took on a new meaning; they were no longer »only« about history, but also about today's political reality. These discussions, and the countless letters she received, gave Inge Deutschkron the impression that this new generation is much more open and sensitive toward the history of National Socialism and the persecution of Jews than were earlier generations. More open for questions of German guilt, conformism and looking the other way; more sensitive toward minorities and other nationalities; and especially more curious to learn about people who swam against the current of history, with courage and often with humor.

Inge Deutschkron, born in Finsterwalde in Brandenburg and raised in Berlin, survived the Nazi era by going into hiding with her mother for two years. After the war, she worked for several organizations in England, including the the Socialist International. Later she became the Bonn correspondent for a well-known Israeli newspaper. In 1972, she moved to Tel Aviv. She has published numerous works, including »Ich trug den gelben Stern« (“I Wore the Yellow Star”), »Denn ihrer war die Hölle« (“For Theirs was Hell”), »Sie blieben im Schatten« (“They Remained in the Shadows”) and »Emigranto« (“The Immigrant”). Today she lives in Berlin and Tel Aviv.

Inge Deutschkron: Offene Antworten: Meine Begegnungen mit einer neuen Generation (“Open Answers: My Encounters with a New Generation”). Berlin: Transit Publishing House, 2004. ISBN 3-88747-186-5. EUR 9,80 (Germany).

Find out more: http://www.transit-verlag.de/

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