“We Are Picked Up”
The arrests in October 1940 began without warning during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) holiday.
The families barely had time to pack the few things which they were permitted to take with them. Even after years of marginalisation, the fact that the arrest and removal was carried out in full view of their neighbours was a further humiliation.
Kippenheim, 22nd October 1940: Kurt Salomon Maier was attending the Jewish school in Freiburg when his father called to say he must come home quickly. He was still carrying his school satchel when he approached the police van with his family. Years later, when looking at this photograph, he was particularly reminded of his grandfather who, walking in front of him, could only walk with difficulty and could not carry a bag. In his autobiography he annotated this photograph with the words: “We are picked up”.
The German-Jewish exile newspaper Aufbau was founded in 1934 in New York and was the most important source of information for the Jewish refugees in the USA worried about their relatives that had remained in Europe. On the 1st of November 1930, a short article appeared on the deportation from southern Germany to the unoccupied area of France. The newspaper judged that this should be understood as an act of “blackmail”, with the aim of inducing the Jewish population to leave Germany more quickly.
As one of the two people that made up the executive board for the compulsory ‘Reich Association of Jews in Germany’ organisation, Otto Hirsch was regularly summoned to report to the Berlin Gestapo. Here, he protested against the deportations, requested information on the whereabouts of the people, asked how he could help them, and wanted to know if any further deportations were planned. Otto Hirsch was murdered in Mauthausen concentration camp in June 1941.