Wednesday, 14 August 2013
Kristall Nacht didn’t crystallize anything for Clara Lehrs
The night of the broken glass. That night 9-10 November 1938 also crystallised the beginning of the Holocaust. Synagogues were burnt, windows of shops owned by Jews had their windows smashed, the shops were looted and in some cases already Jews were pulled out of their homes. This may have been the final push to make Clara’s daughter Käthe and granddaughter Renate want to leave Germany. The Kindertransport came into operation shortly after this and Renate was able to come to England towards the end of January 1939 on one of the especially arranged trains that evacuated just under 10,000 Jewish children. Clara’s sons Ernst and Rudi had already been in England some time by now. Clara was still determined to stay.
In the book I have Clara watching the fires burning from one of Stuttgart’s seven hills. Even if she didn’t actually do this, she must have been aware of what was happening.
Yet still she refused to leave. Could it really still have been that she truly believed herself to not to be Jewish? Or that human nature was just too good to allow any atrocities to continue? Surely a more deeply-seated belief system must have driven her.
I think this is something that I shall be exploring by writing in the next few weeks.