Sunday, August 20, 2006


My grandmother was a German Aryan who was married to a German Jew in the 1930's and 40's. Supposedly, Jews who were married to Aryans were "protected" from the fate of other German Jews. Both my grandmother and my grandfather were acutely aware of the delicacy of their situation -- though my father and his siblings -- their children -- had no idea. (Parents kept many things from their children during the war, since a well-meaning or innocent slip of the tongue could mean death.) My father, now 78, has become more and more curious about his parents' situation and has begun extensive research, as he plans to write a book in the future (and yes, he seems to still have quite a future!). In his research he discovered a German movie called "Rosenstrasse," which is the story of Aryan women in Berlin who quietly protested their husbands' detainment at a "holding center" on Rosenstrasse. Every day, and often through the night, these women waited outside the stark building, hoping for the timely release of their husbands -- who had been previously promised "immunity," but in those desperate later years were realizing that there was no such actual security. Eventually, through the wives protests, the Jewish husbands were quietly released.

My father tells me that the whole operation on Rosenstrasse was kept quiet -- both the husbands' detainment and their release, since any publicity would have definitely hurt the Nazis. My grandmother wasn't part of that actual protest, since she lived in Chemnitz, but she was in a "privileged mixed marriage" just as the women in Berlin had been.

My grandfather died during the war after all, as a bomb landed directly on his house. My grandmother had already died a year or two earlier, apparently of brain cancer. So, by the time my father was 16, he was an orphan. I simply can't imagine! I have two 16-year-olds, and the thought of them being orphaned... and during war time... I just can't even imagine it!

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Dixie said...

The story itself is interesting but I'm afraid the movie isn't so good. I was anxious to see it when it first came out and was a little disappointed in how the movie was done.

Anonymous said...

I loved the movie! My uncle, too, was married to a Jewish woman,which protected them for a while, but finally his wife and daughter had to go into hiding and my uncle was carted off. Thankfully, they all did survive.

Related Posts with Thumbnails