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Holocaust survivor Rahel Mann: "The SS man hit the child on the car until it stops screaming"


Neighbors rescued Rahel Renate Mann from deportation and hid her in a Berlin cellar. Decades later, as a naturopath, she treated a former concentration camp leader - her children could not understand that.

The apartment was on the third floor of Starnberger Straße 2 in Berlin-Schöneberg. There I shared the apartment with my mother. On the door of the apartment hung a big yellow star. For a long time I did not know what he meant.

At the exact time when my mother was picked up and deported, I can not remember. I must have been about four or five years old. She was probably at work when the SS men took her to Sachsenhausen. And I was with the housekeeper, a certain woman's father, who took care of me from then on.

Ms dad was resolute and welcoming. She lived on the ground floor of Starnberger Strasse. Her husband was block warden in the neighborhood. He never spoke to me. Father was a member of the party and would have had to call me, but he tolerated me. I was passed around a lot, but that did not matter to me. Probably, my father organized my hiding places. I was taught to be quiet, to do what I was told.

The third floor apartment where I lived with my mother moved to a new Jewish family with four children named Schulz. I did not know the right name. I had the freedom to always walk up and down between the apartment of Father and the apartment upstairs.

I must have been six when, one day - I was upstairs playing with the children - the SS came into the house. I heard the heavy boots on the wooden stairs. They hammered on the door with their rifle butts. Mrs. Schulz opened. The men came in to pick up the family with the four children.

However, they did not immediately realize that there were five children in the room. They almost took me with them. At that moment I heard her father coming up the stairs - I was so relieved.

"She belongs to me"

She grabbed me and said loud and determined: "This is my niece, who belongs to me." The men let us. My dad took me downstairs to the apartment of Mrs. Wiezorek, a widow who lived there and was just cooking lunch. At the window I saw the green Minna in the street. Father Schulz was down below. He went with the three older children to the truck.

I saw the SS man standing outside. He ordered the mother to get on the car as well. She refused. She held the youngest child firmly in her arms. I saw that people were standing behind curtains on all four floors, watching the scene.

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Witnesses of the Holocaust: "You should have let it die"

The SS man stabbed the woman with the rifle repeatedly in the back and pushed her on. Then someone else snatched the little kid from her. The child started screaming. The man hit the child against the car, once, twice, three times. Until it did not scream anymore. It was dead. I understood that. Then sirens sounded, an air raid. The SS man threw the dead child into the father's car, the wife finally got up. In no time they drove off.

With the use of the sirens and the seen it came out on all sides of me. I had to break, got diarrhea. Mrs. Wiezorek took me and washed me clean in the tub. I could not eat for days. The main thing that bothered me was the lack of understanding: why did not anyone do anything? Why did everyone stop behind their curtains instead of running down and helping?

How could Christians commit such atrocities?

During the last months of the war, my father kept me hidden in the basement. There the Russian soldiers found me on my liberation in April 1945. In May they brought my mother back from Sachsenhausen. She was physically and emotionally broken.

Until the end, she had not thought it possible that Hitler could penetrate his ideas. She had thought people would oppose the Nazis. Only after her own concentration camp time did she understand. She did not get well, is more and more desperate. And then there was this daughter, who did not have a good relationship with her, who always wanted to be somewhere else.

After the war I stayed in Germany. I came to school as the only Jewish child. Even at the university in medical school I was the only Jewess. I absorbed everything I was told to read: the knowledge of the extermination of the Jews helped me to better understand and process what happened.

Everything that I experienced during the war I wrote down in diaries between the ages of 14 and 20 years. That was the best therapy for me. But one question always remained: they were all Christians. How could Christians commit such atrocities? That's what I'm asking myself today.

The trauma will last a lifetime

Some people feel this idea of ​​revenge. I do not have that. I saw it as my task to get the Germans used to the Jews. I thought it would not be good if we all just disappear.

At the end of the eighties, a man came to my practice, which I ran as a non-medical practitioner in Braunschweig. He walked on the floor and was worried that I would probably send him away again. The man was a former concentration camp leader in a camp in Schapen. He was in great pain - stomach cancer. He would not live much longer. I treated him.

My children could not understand it. "You should have let it die," my daughter told me then. But I was not like that. I'm not like that. The man died a short time later from his illness.

But the events of that time are deep: Even as an adult woman, I repeatedly suffered this shock-like diarrhea in stressful situations. During my time in Israel - at the age of 60 I went there for ten years - the sirens also triggered this reaction during bombing raids. That's the trauma. It accompanies you for a lifetime.

When I returned from Israel, it was clear that Berlin is the most open and widest town for me. Everything is within easy reach in Schöneberg, such as the town hall, where I tell every month from my story. However, today I observe a strengthening of anti-Judaism. I think it will ultimately show what the Germans really learned from the time of the persecution of the Jews.

The witnesses of the horror: The magazine SPIEGEL HISTORY is dedicated in the current issue of the topic "Jewish life in Germany" and has visited survivors of the Shoah - Jews who escaped the killing machine of the National Socialists in very different ways and decided after the war despite everything, continue to live in Germany. Further protocols can be found in the booklet.

Source: spiegel

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