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…AND THEN THEY CAME FOR ME

08-06-2009

Nick Griffin

Following the BNP’s success in winning their first two European seats, we were sent this piece written by Ann Lewis - born Hannah Berndt – the mother of a regular Stirrer reader. She recalls the rise of the Nazis in her native Germany.

The National Socialists came to power at the beginning of March 1933 when I was six-and-a-half years old, and we left Germany in September 1937 when I was almost eleven.

During those four-and-a-half years I gradually became aware of some of the practical effects of the Nazis’ antisemitic policies. Our parents kept their worries to themselves and did their best to protect us from unpleasantness, but they could not shield us from everything that went on around us.

I can remember the election which took place on the 5th of March 1933, and can recall the feeling of tension and foreboding among the adults in our circle during the days that preceded and followed it.

It is strange that I can remember this when I have forgotten so many other things; perhaps those days impressed themselves on my memory because they represented a watershed, not only for my family but for millions of other people.

My father took me with him when he went to vote, and this too was strange. He must have guessed what the outcome of the election was to be, and I think that he must have wanted me to remember the day.

We walked along to the polling station which had been set up in a school in Goethestrasse, perhaps ten minutes’ walk away from where we lived. The polling booths were in a big dusty-looking gymnasium where climbing-ropes were suspended from the ceiling and Indian clubs stood ranged against a wall.

I can even remember the position of the polling booths, close to the door where we entered the gymnasium.

This was the last time that my parents were entitled to vote in a German election – as soon as the Nazis were in power Jews were disenfranchised….

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