Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood during the Holocaust

By Anita Brostoff; Sheila Chamovitz | Go to book overview
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Herr Schluemper
Arnold Blum
b. Nuremberg, Germany, 1922

After emigrating from Germany to the United States, I joined the army. Through my work as a liaison with the Germans in Blumenthal, a small town between Vegesack and Bremerhaven, I got to know a German Social Democrat. It was he who first told me about a local Nazi, Herr Schluemper, who had bragged about his participation in the events of the Kristallnacht.

My sources in Blumenthal told me that Schluemper had been cleared after a perfunctory denazification trial by the British, to whom had been assigned the Bremen enclave for postwar administration.

This aroused my interest and I made some discreet inquiries about town as to Schluemper's reputation. Everyone who knew him confirmed that he had been a bad actor, an active Nazi who had bragged about beating up Jews and plundering their property during Kristallnacht.

I decided that Schluemper would have to be tended to, and that I would do it. Personal interventions of this sort were frowned upon by the United States Army. I had to be very careful to avoid being discovered. I borrowed a field jacket without insignia of rank or unit identification patches from a friend, and found a cap without branch of service piping. I strapped on a German P-38 pistol in a shoulder holster and put on the field jacket over it. I also put on army gloves to protect my hands, since I did not want to rip my skin if I hit the man in the mouth. The pistol was only intended as a precaution in case he should prove to be more than I could manage with my hands alone.

I took the duty driver into my confidence and asked him to take me to Schluemper's neighborhood, which I had reconnoitered before. I asked the driver to leave the engine running until I got back.

We arrived about two hours after dark. I got out of the command car and walked back to Schluemper's house. The entrance was on the side. I entered the garden gate by the sidewalk and walked back till I found the door and rang the bell.

After a short while, a light went on inside and a teenage girl opened the door. “Good evening, miss. I am looking for Herr Schluemper's house. Am I in the right place?”

“Yes, you are, sir.” “Could I speak to him, please?”

-270-

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Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood during the Holocaust
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