“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray”

Anti-Semitic sign in Germany, mid-1930s.ARW

Whoever buys from a Jew is a traitor to the (German) people. (Sign affixed to the window of a Jewish merchant in Höxter, a market town in Westphalia in the 1930s.)

Today’s sign of bigotry comes from northern Germany, where it adorned a Jewish-owned shop on the main square of a small market town in the mid-1930s. “Don’t buy from the Jews,” it says; if you do, you’re a traitor. Of course, it was easy to tell which shops were owned by Jews: there were Stars of David in the windows by that time; the deportations would begin only a couple of years later.

By which time my family had high-tailed it, first to Amsterdam (which fell in 1940), then to the United States, where they found distant relatives. I was born, an anchor-bay, before my parents became naturalized citizens.

“…that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.”