Inge Franken

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fehrbelliner92:eliaha [2007/11/23 17:01]
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fehrbelliner92:eliaha [2007/12/05 11:27]
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 //Extracts from Bernd Roder’s interview with Max Eliaha Sterngast in 1994.//  //Extracts from Bernd Roder’s interview with Max Eliaha Sterngast in 1994.// 
  
-I have deliberately retained the spoken style for the most part. I learnt so many new details of the children’s home and life as a Jewish child in a hostile world from the account that I am pleased to be able to include the text in this book. +//I have deliberately retained the spoken style for the most part. I learnt so many new details of the children’s home and life as a Jewish child in a hostile world from the account that I am pleased to be able to include the text in this book. 
- [Notes in square brackets: author’s additions]+ [//Notes in square brackets: author’s additions]
  
 I was born on 30 August 1919 in the Jewish hospital in Elsässer Strasse. I have no memories of that, of course. My parents lived in Markgrafenstrasse first, not in Prenzlauer Berg. My earliest memories are of Göhrener Strasse 4 in Prenzlauer Berg.  I was born on 30 August 1919 in the Jewish hospital in Elsässer Strasse. I have no memories of that, of course. My parents lived in Markgrafenstrasse first, not in Prenzlauer Berg. My earliest memories are of Göhrener Strasse 4 in Prenzlauer Berg. 
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 There was another Jewish boy [in his class] who had had polio and had a crippled foot. There were 30 of us children in the class and I got on very well with them all. They didn’t become anti-Semitic straight after the turnaround. The next day I was still there. A week later, they decided that I shouldn’t stay on at the school. But the children didn’t change. They weren’t a bit interested. There was another Jewish boy [in his class] who had had polio and had a crippled foot. There were 30 of us children in the class and I got on very well with them all. They didn’t become anti-Semitic straight after the turnaround. The next day I was still there. A week later, they decided that I shouldn’t stay on at the school. But the children didn’t change. They weren’t a bit interested.
  
-In 1932 I moved to Fehrbelliner Strasse [with his younger brother]. There was a Jewish children’s home there in a square, Teutoburger Platz. +In 1932 I moved to Fehrbelliner Strasse [with my younger brother]. There was a Jewish children’s home there in a square, Teutoburger Platz. 
  
-I went to Rykestrasse as long as my parents were alive. After they died I just played truant and didn’t go any more. I just didn’t want to any more. By then I was living in the children’s home in Fehrbelliner Strasse. It wasn’t an orphanage, more a place to stay. My little brother Kurt and I lived there. Those were the happiest days of my life, I can tell you. I had friends there [in the children's home], not before then at home; there was a big library in the house. I could borrow lots of books there. I was really happy. I was twelve, probably between twelve and fourteen. The sisters and the kindergarten teachers there were really nice. They were kind. I was fond of them. I kept in touch with one of them by letter for a long time, during the war too. Then she emigrated to Dallas in Texas. She went on writing for a long time. Her name was Fräulein Kroner. Then there was Fräulein Laqueur, the head. I often met Fräulein Kroner. I once found her sitting at a table with her hands before her eyes. She was crying so much that I wanted to fetch the doctor. It turned out that she suffered from depression and that everyone knew. Otherwise she was very nice. +I went to Rykestrasse as long as my parents were alive. After they died I just played truant and didn’t go any more. I just didn’t want to any more. By then I was living in the children’s home in Fehrbelliner Strasse. It wasn’t an orphanage, more a place to stay. My little brother Kurt and I lived there. //Those were the happiest days of my life,// I can tell you. I had friends there [in the children's home], not before then at home; there was a big library in the house. I could borrow lots of books there. I was really happy. I was twelve, probably between twelve and fourteen. The sisters and the kindergarten teachers there were really nice. They were kind. I was fond of them. I kept in touch with one of them by letter for a long time, during the war too. Then she emigrated to Dallas in Texas. She went on writing for a long time. Her name was Fräulein Kroner. Then there was Fräulein Laqueur, the head. I often met Fräulein Kroner. I once found her sitting at a table with her hands before her eyes. She was crying so much that I wanted to fetch the doctor. It turned out that she suffered from depression and that everyone knew. Otherwise she was very nice. 
  
 I lived in one room with my brother and other children. About ten children live in the home. About fifty or sixty other children came to the home in the daytime. Only about ten slept in the home. There was a boys’ room and a girls’ room. The girls’ room window was a bit too high for me to see into. So when I went past, I used to jump up so I could see the girls. I can still remember that (laughs).        I lived in one room with my brother and other children. About ten children live in the home. About fifty or sixty other children came to the home in the daytime. Only about ten slept in the home. There was a boys’ room and a girls’ room. The girls’ room window was a bit too high for me to see into. So when I went past, I used to jump up so I could see the girls. I can still remember that (laughs).       
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 I went to England shortly before the war started, in the spring of 1939. I already had the feeling back then that it wouldn’t last much longer and that it couldn’t go on like that much longer. Up until the Munich Agreement [12th-13th March, 1938, annexation of Austria] I still believed that it would somehow pass by. But after that I was certain it would end badly. I went to England shortly before the war started, in the spring of 1939. I already had the feeling back then that it wouldn’t last much longer and that it couldn’t go on like that much longer. Up until the Munich Agreement [12th-13th March, 1938, annexation of Austria] I still believed that it would somehow pass by. But after that I was certain it would end badly.
  
-I went by train from Berlin to Hamburg and took the boat from there to London. That was one of my most interesting journeys at that time.+I went by train from Berlin to Hamburg and took the boat from there to London. That was one of my most interesting journeys  that time. 
 + 
 +//Once in England, Max Eliaha Sterngast first lived with a Jewish family, then on a training farm. After the war started, he went to work for a private farmer and wanted to work in an iron foundry again.//
  
-Once in England, Max Eliaha Sterngast first lived with a Jewish family, then on a training farm. After the war started, he went to work for a private farmer and wanted to work in an iron foundry again. 
 I thought that I could be more help that way. Then I really was given a job in a foundry which worked for the Navy. I mostly made propellers there. Then I wanted to join the army; after all, I was already working for them. However they didn’t let me go. After hearing about Dachau and all that, I wanted to fight as a Jew. I wanted to go, but they didn’t let me. I was in England for eight years altogether. I thought that I could be more help that way. Then I really was given a job in a foundry which worked for the Navy. I mostly made propellers there. Then I wanted to join the army; after all, I was already working for them. However they didn’t let me go. After hearing about Dachau and all that, I wanted to fight as a Jew. I wanted to go, but they didn’t let me. I was in England for eight years altogether.
  
-Later, Max Eliaha Sterngast had contact again to a Zionist organization which suggested that he work in the illegal Aliyah. He enjoyed living in England, but was living alone among strangers. The Zionist organization was a substitute for his father and mother, so he agreed. In 1947 he went first to France and then to Palestine. He met his older brother again there. His younger brother was already dead by then. Sterngast spent some time in a kibbutz and then joined the Israeli army.+//Later, Max Eliaha Sterngast had contact again to a Zionist organization which suggested that he work in the illegal Aliyah. He enjoyed living in England, but was living alone among strangers. The Zionist organization was a substitute for his father and mother, so he agreed. In 1947 he went first to France and then to Palestine. He met his older brother again there. His younger brother was already dead by then. Sterngast spent some time in a kibbutz and then joined the Israeli army.//
  
-I was there during the whole of the War of Independence. Then I was released from active service but was in the reserves for at least twenty years. Then I was worked in a foundry again. After my daughter got asthma, we had to move here to Gedera. But there was no foundry here and I worked in a large hospital for the chronically ill. I had to work as an unskilled worker.+I was there during the whole of the War of Independence. Then I was released from active service but was in the reserves for at least twenty years. Then I  worked in a foundry again. After my daughter got asthma, we had to move here to Gedera. But there was no foundry here and I worked in a large hospital for the chronically ill. I had to work as an unskilled worker.
  
 The Red Cross informed me about what had happened to my family. They wrote that they were picked up and taken away to an unknown destination on such and such a day, probably to the east. The Jews who were still left in Berlin were all taken away in the same night, unless they managed to go underground first. Some of them were hidden too. The Red Cross informed me about what had happened to my family. They wrote that they were picked up and taken away to an unknown destination on such and such a day, probably to the east. The Jews who were still left in Berlin were all taken away in the same night, unless they managed to go underground first. Some of them were hidden too.