Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Anne Hirschle - July 21, 2006

Life before the War

Well, let's go back just a little bit...


...and tell me a little bit about your life before 1936, growing up in a...


...as a Jew in a German city.

Right. Uh, I think I became aware that something was going on uh, my parents didn't say too much to me but I, I remember in school-I think one of my first memories that something strange was going on was when we were told-I must have been about seven or eight-we were told that we should practice saying, "Heil Hitler," marching past the tree but the Jewish children were supposed to just stand on the side and not say, "Heil Hitler." And I, I didn't quite understand this but I, I, I gathered from what I overheard at home that Hitler was not a good thing and that-oh, but I do remember one thing that uh, German children um, were wearing little brown-the Hitler Youth-little brown suede jackets and, and my mother told me I would not have one of those little brown suede jackets, but my mother-my sister who was five years older than I said to me uh, "We can show them," and she had me march past-I don't know if you know what that is, a ???, it's, it's, it's pillars, they have like this advertising actually in the street.

Like-kind of like a kiosk almost?

Yeah, that type of thing. And um, she said to me, "We'll show..." and we were wearing little grey jackets, I remember. And, and my sister said to me, "We can show these people in their brown jackets that we can march too." And I must have been about seven and she was five years older. She had me march up and down past this, this thing-this kiosk thing-to show that we too could march. So we realized we were different, but we didn't know exactly why we were different. I mean, that, that was not-except I also remember that my mother always said-we weren't very religious, but on high holidays we went for-to services and my mother always said, you know, "Dress down and don't show off and be quiet and don't make yourself conspicuous." But that may just have been her, her nature. But that-I remember that she seemed to think it was important not to be conspicuous in public as we went to services on the high holidays.

So your family was more assimilated then, or...

My family was extremely assimilated. Um, my father and his brother had both served in the German uh, army. My father's a dentist and my uncle, his brother, was quite a high officer. And uh, we-my family had Jewish friends, non-Jewish friends, Jewish patients, non-Jewish patients. It was totally assimilated.

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