b. Nuremberg, Germany, 1922
I stood before the burning shul and watched as the firemen protected the surrounding buildings, being careful not to put any water on the isolated curls of smoke rising here and there from the devastated sanctuary that once was our shul.
I stood before the burning shul, unbelievingly, in deep shock, empty of strength, gutted, as was our shul. A murder had been committed, symbolic as it were, soon to be followed by the near annihilation of our people.
Slowly my senses returned in a wave of anger. I clenched my fists, my eyes
filled with tears of outrage. My silence screamed: “Kooma Adonai, veyafootsoo oyvecha …” “Rise up, Lord, and scatter your enemies …”
But the clouds did not part, the shofar did not sound, the strong hand and the outstretched arm did not appear.
It was not the year of the Lord. He had averted His face.
On Friday, November 11, 1938, around six o'clock in the morning, they came for us.
We had lived in a state of apprehension since the previous day, when our shul had been burned to the ground and Jewish places of business destroyed. We had entered a twilight zone between memories of earning our keep at our occupations and the fear of becoming game during hunting season.
When I opened the window of my room and looked out into the mist-laden, dark street, I saw two men with flashlights approaching our house. They were dressed in long leather coats and felt hats, the uniform of the Gestapo. They entered the gate in the fence, approached the front door of our house and rang the bell. My mother and grandmother got up immediately and I went downstairs to open the door. A sense of foreboding hit me.
The men flashed their identification badges and one said, “Geheime Staatspolizei. Is there an Arnold Blum living here?”
“You are speaking to him.”
“How old are you?”