My dad’s first memory is hiding under a table 80 years ago tonight, when Nazis took his dad to Dachau on #Kristallnacht.
His parents, my Omi and Opi, always considered themselves more German than Jewish, so they didn’t think they’d get swept up in the madness.
Opi was taken to city hall with other Jews and lined up against a wall. He thought he was going to be shot.
He always remembered when they got to Dachau there were pajamas with Jewish stars waiting on their cots. Obviously not a spontaneous thing.
He was very lucky. His family got him a fake Uruguayan visa and he was out of Dachau six weeks later. “Before Christmas,” my dad recalls.
They eventually got on a boat to Chile in October 1939. My dad got scabies on the way over. But they made it to safety.
Of course millions of others weren’t so lucky, including a lot of our relatives.
Omi and Opi lived long lives. They moved back to Germany when the government gave incentives to Jews!But “the Nazi times” defined so much.
That saying about how you might not care about politics but politics cares about you...yeah.
A kind of funny story: my mom’s parents were also Germanized Jews who got out earlier and celebrated Christmas every year on Long Island.
When I was a kid we thought my dad might be allergic to turkey or ham, because every year at Xmas dinner he got terrible stomach cramps.
One year driving home in our lime green Ford Torino station wagon my mom asked him my he got so sick every year at Christmas.
My dad (who tends to keeps things in until they explode) goes: BECAUSE WE’RE JEWS! That was the end of Christmas for the Grunwalds.
Anyway I’m not very religious but I’m very fucking Jewish. I think a lot of Jews feel like that. And we notice there are still Nazis. END
You can follow @MikeGrunwald.
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