Sharing Memories of Berlin Childhood

Article excerpt

It began on the night of Nov. 9, 1938, the 48 hours of

government-sanctioned terrorism in which dozens of German Jews

were killed, tens of thousands were arrested to be sent to

concentration camps, 200 synagogues were burned, thousands of

Jewish businesses were smashed.

Nov. 9, 1938, is called Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) because

of the heaps of broken glass left behind by the Nazi plunderers.

Some historians see Kristallnacht as the beginning of the last

horrendous phase of the Holocaust in which, in the war years

1939-1945, millions of European Jews died.

The Schybilski family, Jewish, yet living a comfortable life in

Berlin, literally slept through Kristallnacht. They did not know

what had happened until they woke up and learned of the deaths,

the smashed way of life, and learned that the father of the

family was a wanted man. They knew it was time to leave Germany.

"We left Germany four days after Krystalnacht. We were very

lucky we were able to leave," said Marianne Buchwalter, the

Schybilski daughter who was 14 when her family came to America.

They came to Oregon, where Buchwalter still lives, through an

odd circumstance.

Some time in the mid-1930s, Buchwalter's uncle saw an ad in a

German newspaper placed by someone in Oregon who wanted to live

in Hitler's Germany and offered to exchange property in America

for property in Germany. Buchwalter's uncle took him up on the

deal.

So, when Buchwalter's family left Germany, there was a place to

go.

Buchwalter, who has written a book recalling her family and her

early years, Memories of a Berlin Childhood (Premiere Press

International, $17.95), will tell her story at 11 a.m. today at

the Jewish Community Alliance, 8505 San Jose Blvd.

Buchwalter, a retired psychotherapist, said during a telephone

conversation from her home in Portland that the book covers more

than her Berlin childhood.

"I'm talking about all the people in my life and what happened

to them," she said. …