HISTORY EMPATHY COURSEWORK - LENT 1996





HISTORY EMPATHY COURSEWORK : LENT 1996


A Jew In Germany or Occupied Europe:



27/2/96
CATEGORY C


PROLOGUE (JANUARY 1935):

My name is Julian Zycheavik and I am a Polish jew. This is my diary which I have decided to write, so that I can hopefully relive my youth when I read this when I am an old man. I live in the south of Poland with my family which I adore very much since they mean everything to me. We have a small family business, a small shop, which supplies us with enough money to get by on during these hard times since the slump nearly five years ago. Life is hard but rewarding at the moment, soon there will be a new member to the family, since my wife is expecting our second child. I hope one day to see my children grow up and carry on the business which I started nearly eight years ago in 1927.

AUGUST 1936:

Today I received a letter from my sister Erika, who lives in Germany. She too followed the family tradition and set up her own shop in Germany with her husband, but in this letter she seems to be very distressed and worried. She says that life has started to become very difficult since 1933. There has been a new ruling body installed in Germany called NAZI and according to her newspapers it is led by a hero, who has come to save Germany; Adolf Hitler. These Nazis oppose our jewish religion greatly; nearly everybody does, but this is a new strain of hatred that I have no seen before.
In letter she states that some new anti-semitic rules called "The Nuremburg Laws" came into effect just this month which will practically sign her business\' death warrant. Over the pass year her shop has been fire bombed several times and even her distressed children are receiving threats from kids their own age. Her husband has even been assaulted by brown shirted thugs belonging to this Nazi party.
I hope she will write soon because I think she will not be able to cope with any more of this harassment.

DECEMBER 1938:

There is an air of uncertainty of the frost bittern streets of our city. We are currently celebrating "Chunakah", the festival of Light which coincides with Christmas. These celebrations are now hollow to us, hollow with the emptiness of absent relatives. Many of my friends like me are worried for our loved ones in Germany and Czechoslovakia. The Nazi power in Germany has grown like an petty acorn to a giant oak tree. There are daily reports in our papers about increased pogroms against our fellow jews and families in Germany. My family and I are very worried about my sister. We have not heard from here lately. My children keep asking:
"Daddy, Daddy, oh when we see aunty Erika again? Has she been gotten by that nasty Hitler man?".

I do not know how to reply to them, I just pray to God that she is safe from our new threat.
I feel immense anxiety due to the new reports of "Kristallnacht", the Night of Broken glass, which occurred two weeks ago quite near were my sister is living. The word on the street is that every synagogue in Germany has been ransacked by the Nazis. There are also rumours of immense numbers of Jewish books being burn there as well. This, according to my neighbour, is a grave omen of what is to come since he says that when you start to burn books, you start to burn people. I am not too sure what he means by this, but it does not sound good.

JULY 1939:

It has been a long and worrying summer, I am now fearing for my sister\'s life since I have heard nothing at all from her. I think she may have been harmed by those pogroms ordered by those Nazis.
Today, the Shabbat (the Sabbath), as I was coming back from the synagogue, the large ominous black letters on a news stand caught my eye:

"HITLER DEMANDS DANZIG"

It suddenly struck home, not only was sister in grave danger, but now I was becoming distressed, I thought about my wife and my children, the people