GHDI logo

Betty Scholem to her Son Gershom on the Situation in Germany (February-March 1933)

page 2 of 2    print version    return to list previous document      next document

Berlin, March 19, 1933

My dear child,

[ . . . ] You wrote that you want precise information! I must refer you to the newspapers. Caution is the order of the day, and no one is allowed to pass rumors around. But this isn’t necessary, since the facts speak for themselves. Lawyers and teachers have it the worst: they can be completely barred from their professions. Jewish doctors have already been shut out of the hospitals, and the national medical insurance is probably next in line. Still, the government won’t directly interfere with their private practices. [ . . . ]

I myself am really quite calm. I’m not the only one in the world I have to think of, however, and my concern for my children and grandchildren has nothing to do with paranoia or an overactive imagination, which are not something I incline toward. It’s a real stroke of luck that you’re out of harm’s way! Now, suddenly, I want to see everyone in Palestine!! When I only think of the outcry heard among German Jews when Zionism began! Your father and Grandfather Hermann L. and the entire Central Verein beat themselves on the breast and said with absolute conviction, “We are Germans!” And now we’re being told that we are not Germans after all! [ . . . ]

The streets are utterly quiet, at least in the sections of the city I frequent. But the Tauentzien, with its elegant shops, is full of the usual hustle and bustle. The number of people holding swastika boxes and collecting money has increased, though I’ve never seen anyone make a donation. I go there often because I like to meet with my gossip group at the Wittenbergplatz. I then complain about events as we sit on the silver terrace of the K.d.W. I know quite well, of course, that we still have it good as long as we can sit undisturbed and blabber at the K.d.W. [ . . . ]

Warmest kisses, Mum

Source of English translation: Gershom Scholem, A Life in Letters, 1914-1982. Edited and translated by Anthony David Skinner. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002, pp. 218-19, 222-23.

Source of original German text: Betty Scholem and Gershom Scholem, Mutter und Sohn im Briefwechsel: 1917-1946. Edited by Itta Shedletzky with Thomas Sparr. Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1989, pp. 276-77, 284-86.

first page < previous   |   next > last page