Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Leo Liffman - May 15, 1985

January 30, 1933

What was the reaction in your household uh, January 30th, 1933?

Well, it so happened, I was not home. I was at that time working in Frankfurt but we knew already in November in nineteen hundred and thirty-two that Hitler had won. And we all very nervous. But then uh, I don't know. It also seemed that some people said it's a, it's a, it's a passing situation. That actually happened. And I didn't know what, what to think really. 'Til 1933 came, a few steps into '33 if you will, March, April...Hitler started in January 30, 1933. Then all of a sudden, a few days, it didn't take very long, notices appeared that somebody was killed trying to escape. These kind of things. Then one heard a little talk about concentration camp already. It was whispered, but one heard about it. Sachsenhausen, near Berlin, one heard about Dachau. Dachau, where's Dachau? The words were said but nobody knew anything specific about it. All of a sudden on April nineteen hundred and thirty-three, there was a culmination, a culminating point again. By letting the Jews know that you better get out of here. You're, you're done. The boycott started. It was a one day affair, two days, I forgot. And the SI at that time was very strong. The Storm Troopers. Sturmabteilung, Germany. It was very strong. The Brownshirts. They marched in front of all the stores with big signs. "Don't buy from the Jews, the Jews are our misfortune," all this kind of stuff. And if somebody walked into the store, your picture was taken, could be taken--not everybody had uh, photographic equipment--but in many stores and I know in Frankfurt where I was uh, that store, actually they closed up. And as a matter of information, I worked in Frankfurt where I think was the largest department store ch...uh, chain in Germany, Leonard Tietz uh, Corporation. They had a very large branch store in Frankfurt where I worked. And uh, after the uh, boycott, it was recommended to the Jewish employees to quit because the uh, big chain would be taken over by Aryans.

Did that happen?

Yes, it did happen. The name was changed from Leonard Tietz uh, Corporation to Kauhof Corporation. Kauhof is comparative to the American word uh, a mall. Like Somerset Mall have in the Detroit area. You know that's a, that's a Kauhof. Used to be a Kauhof. Because it was a, I think, five or six story high building at that time, considered pretty high. And you can buy anything in there from, whatever you needed from.

Was your father affected in his work?

My father was a manager of a um, small store. And he had to uh, leave also because the store was uh, sold. And then to find work was not that easy.

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