"Treason or Honor" - The Story of Germans Who Saved Jews
by Gad Nahshon
The German Information Center, together with other organizations, sponsored the screening at the German House (NYC) of a short documentary film Treason or Honor.
This film is the pioneer work of Sy Rotter, the president of Documentaries International Film and Video. Essentially, in this film, Rotter presented the oral history of a few Germans who risked their lives during the Holocaust Era (Shoa) in order to save Jews. Of course, these righteous gentiles could not change the total picture of the Holocaust but they can serve as models for Germany today, and their heroism inside Nazi Germany should be integrated into the German educational system.
This idea has been discussed by the panel of experts and by the guests who came to this event. The guests were welcomed by Dr. G�nter Gruber, director of the German Information Center. The moderator was Eugene Dubow from the American Jewish Committee, an executive and an expert of German-Jewish relations. Among the guests was also the German Deputy Consul General Stefan Schl�ter.
The panel and the guests used this screening to discuss the issue of altruism and the universal message of this film. The following is one memoir from Treason or Honor: "My name is Dorette Luedecke, born in Magdeburg, Germany to a Jewish mother and a Gentile father.
After my parents divorced, my mother and I, an only child, moved in with my Jewish grandparents in Berlin, where I grew up. As I lived in a Jewish home and registered at the local synagogue, I was declared a Jew. In 1939, I was expelled from the public school, before the entire class, with classmates spitting at me and calling me a Jew Sau. By 1941, I wore the yellow star and took on the name of Sara, like other Jewish children. My grandfather immediately notified my father, who was then remarried and had children. Proceedings were started to declare me a "Mischling Grade 1."
It took more than a year for the "Arisierung;" after that, I was able to take off the yellow star and my new name, Sara. Still, I was harassed by the neighbors. In the meantime, my grandfather had died, and my grandmother was deported. My mother was called up for forced labor. At the age of 12, when the children of Berlin were evacuated to safer cities due to the bombing of Berlin, I was left alone to shift for myself. Because of my age, my mother was permitted to come home from the factory outside Berlin, from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
A new ordeal faced me when my mother was picked up from her factory in 1944 for a transport to Theresienstadt. I, alone, this time contacted my father, and again, he was able to help - by giving money to the party (he was not a member) - and my mother was released after a month. By the end of 1944, my father passed away. Since without his protection we were more at risk, we went into hiding.
Two days before the liberation of Berlin, my mother and I returned home, feeling secure, because it would be over soon. We were found by the S.S. and were supposed to be shot - they let us go!!"
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