Friday, 2 August 2013
Clara’s Great Mistake
Clara had too much faith in human nature. She believed that people were fundamentally good and that common sense would in the end prevail. She supposed that:
· Jewishness was nothing to do with race, only religion, and as she was not religious and anyway had converted to Christianity, she could not be labelled Jewish.
· Her son had fought bravely in the Great War so Germany should be glad to retain him.
· Times were hard and some Jews and other wealthy people ought to be made to share a little more.
· Lots of Nazis were deluded but couldn’t help it. Life had been difficult. It was no wonder people started behaving this way.
· It was fair enough that she was made to sell her house, even though she didn’t like it.
· Once she had sold her house, that would be it. Enough was enough, wasn’t it?
· Although she didn’t like her name being changed to Klara at least now she matched her granddaughter.
· There was some good in these people – they allowed her to live in Rexingen in some peace for a while.
· Surely they would be kind to someone as old as her when she was obliged to give them the rest of her money and move east to an old people’s home. (Thereiesenstadt then Treblinka.)
The story is a tragedy – Clara’s fatal flaw is her trust in human goodness. This stops her leaving when she could. Possibly her faith was so strong as she was such an immensely caring person herself. She remained loyal to the children in her care and in particular to the Hilfsklasse.
I’d like to think she was right. Unfortunately she wasn’t quite. Yes, most people are decent. The few who aren’t can cause havoc and can take us unawares. That is why this story must be told.