Inge Franken

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fehrbelliner92:kosmala [2007/10/07 11:27]
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fehrbelliner92:kosmala [2007/10/07 11:32]
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 Alice’s written account of her life in hiding, which forms the basis for this account, begins at this point. Eva Nickel points out that her mother gave different versions after the war, that her story changed over time, that some episodes were added and others omitted. Alice’s written account of her life in hiding, which forms the basis for this account, begins at this point. Eva Nickel points out that her mother gave different versions after the war, that her story changed over time, that some episodes were added and others omitted.
  
-On that Saturday, 27 February 1943, her husband’s boss, who was not a Nazi, as she emphasises, came to tell her personally that Adolf Löwenthal had been “picked up” that morning from his workplace. He was deported to Auschwitz a few days later, on the 32nd transport from Berlin.(( ​Löwenthal, Adolf, born 11 April 1886 in Küstrin, Metzer Strasse 19; 32nd transport on 2 March 1943, died in Auschwitz, missing.)) Alice now had to fear deportation too. “And one knew only too well, one guessed, what would happen then! So, appearing outwardly calm, I got out the big bags, which had been made months before for this eventuality,​ and started to pack essentials for myself and the children.”(( ​Nickel, YVA Jerusalem, 02/622, P.1)) Whatever it was exactly that she knew or rather guessed, she did not put it into words. The father of her children, Herbert Süssmann, was also caught in the fabrik-aktion. He was deported to Auschwitz two days after Adolf Löwenthal.(( ​Süssmann, Herbert, born 11 April 1913 in Berlin, Mitte district. 34th transport to Auschwitz on 4 March 1943; died in Auschwitz, missing. Cf Gedenkbuch, P. 1266)) ​+On that Saturday, 27 February 1943, her husband’s boss, who was not a Nazi, as she emphasises, came to tell her personally that Adolf Löwenthal had been “picked up” that morning from his workplace. He was deported to Auschwitz a few days later, on the 32nd transport from Berlin.(( ​7Löwenthal, Adolf, born 11 April 1886 in Küstrin, Metzer Strasse 19; 32nd transport on 2 March 1943, died in Auschwitz, missing.)) Alice now had to fear deportation too. “And one knew only too well, one guessed, what would happen then! So, appearing outwardly calm, I got out the big bags, which had been made months before for this eventuality,​ and started to pack essentials for myself and the children.”(( ​8Nickel, YVA Jerusalem, 02/622, P.1)) Whatever it was exactly that she knew or rather guessed, she did not put it into words. The father of her children, Herbert Süssmann, was also caught in the fabrik-aktion. He was deported to Auschwitz two days after Adolf Löwenthal.(( ​9Süssmann, Herbert, born 11 April 1913 in Berlin, Mitte district. 34th transport to Auschwitz on 4 March 1943; died in Auschwitz, missing. Cf Gedenkbuch, P. 1266)) ​
  
 Alice’s account describes how she phoned from a fellow resident’s flat in Christinenstrasse 35 to say goodbye to non-Jewish friends – Jews were not allowed to have telephones after August 1940 – and her friend begged her to avoid deportation and to go into hiding, for the sake of the children. This man, whose name she does not give, offered to help her. Eva Nickel knows, from what her mother told her, that the phone calls were made from the Gabriels’ shop and that the helpful man must have been Hans Gabriel, the owner’s brother, or possibly Erich Klüsch, her brother-in-law. Alice’s account describes how she phoned from a fellow resident’s flat in Christinenstrasse 35 to say goodbye to non-Jewish friends – Jews were not allowed to have telephones after August 1940 – and her friend begged her to avoid deportation and to go into hiding, for the sake of the children. This man, whose name she does not give, offered to help her. Eva Nickel knows, from what her mother told her, that the phone calls were made from the Gabriels’ shop and that the helpful man must have been Hans Gabriel, the owner’s brother, or possibly Erich Klüsch, her brother-in-law.
  
-At first Alice had the feeling that to escape by “going underground” would be a betrayal of her deported husband, but finally she decided to take this step. She realised that she would probably not be in the same camp as Adolf Löwenthal and was unlikely to be able to stay with the children – these are the reasons she gives in 1955 for the decision which she had to make entirely alone at that time, although she always liked to have other people’s advice. She also states that, in that night of 27 – 28 February 1943, she considered taking the sleeping children in their beds into the kitchen and turning on all four gas taps, to put an end to all the fear and pain. However, deep in her heart she still hoped that her husband would survive, so she soon pushed this idea away.[[ Nickel, YVA Jerusalem, 02/622, P. 2]] After the war, Alice’s thoughts often returned to this idea, as her daughter Eva recalls. When her mother told her about it, it was all much more dramatic: the little beds were already in front of the cooker. Her mother only pulled them away at the last minute.+At first Alice had the feeling that to escape by “going underground” would be a betrayal of her deported husband, but finally she decided to take this step. She realised that she would probably not be in the same camp as Adolf Löwenthal and was unlikely to be able to stay with the children – these are the reasons she gives in 1955 for the decision which she had to make entirely alone at that time, although she always liked to have other people’s advice. She also states that, in that night of 27 – 28 February 1943, she considered taking the sleeping children in their beds into the kitchen and turning on all four gas taps, to put an end to all the fear and pain. However, deep in her heart she still hoped that her husband would survive, so she soon pushed this idea away.((10 Nickel, YVA Jerusalem, 02/622, P. 2)) After the war, Alice’s thoughts often returned to this idea, as her daughter Eva recalls. When her mother told her about it, it was all much more dramatic: the little beds were already in front of the cooker. Her mother only pulled them away at the last minute.
  
 Alice describes what happened next day: “At five in the morning I dressed my two girls and we left the flat before first light. As I later heard from residents, it was literally the last minute, because the Gestapo drove up at six a.m. to take us away.” An odyssey from place to place now began for the mother and her children. They had to leave their first lodging after only two weeks, for fear of being betrayed. Four-year-old Gitti had talked in front of others about her daddy being picked up by the Gestapo. Because Alice didn’t have anywhere to stay that night, she spent the night with the exhausted children going back and forth through Berlin by tram. She writes a memorable sentence: “For days, I asked various Christian friends for a place to stay, at least for one night. I found lodgings with people who I would never have believed would help. And I was also refused the smallest assistance by people who earlier, in better times, would have called themselves my best friends. They rejected me in such an insulting way that I thought I would go to pieces.”(( 11Ibid.)) Alice describes what happened next day: “At five in the morning I dressed my two girls and we left the flat before first light. As I later heard from residents, it was literally the last minute, because the Gestapo drove up at six a.m. to take us away.” An odyssey from place to place now began for the mother and her children. They had to leave their first lodging after only two weeks, for fear of being betrayed. Four-year-old Gitti had talked in front of others about her daddy being picked up by the Gestapo. Because Alice didn’t have anywhere to stay that night, she spent the night with the exhausted children going back and forth through Berlin by tram. She writes a memorable sentence: “For days, I asked various Christian friends for a place to stay, at least for one night. I found lodgings with people who I would never have believed would help. And I was also refused the smallest assistance by people who earlier, in better times, would have called themselves my best friends. They rejected me in such an insulting way that I thought I would go to pieces.”(( 11Ibid.))