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November 04, 1988 - Image 58

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

LOOKING BACK

Burned Into History

Continued on preceding page

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JEWISH ENSEMBLE THEATRE •
• •




0

• •



introduces a staged reading

BIG AL

BY SUSAN NANUS

Thursday, November 10, 1988 - 7:30 p.m.

December 15, 1988 -7:30 p.m.

Half A Man
By Esther M. Broner

February 16, 1989 - 7:30 p.m
A Kind of Madness
By Nickki Harmon

New plays by new and established playwrights
Directed by: Evelyn Orbach
Performed by: Professional Actors
Admission $5 per performance
Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit
6600 West Maple Road, West Bloomfield • 661-1000

This Program has been made possible through a grant by the
Irwin and Sadie Cohn Fund for Visiting Scholars.

Fashion, Services
Fabulous Treats!

Orchard Lake Rd. North of Maple, West Bloomfield

58

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1988

there was a shtiebel where I
had my bar mitzvah," he said.
"I could hear the destruction
— people breaking windows,
pews and tearing up the
Thrah. I was only an ear
witness. I wouldn't dare go
down to see what was
happening.
"The next morning, the
super warned us not to go out
into the street. The Jews were
in danger of arrest.
"We lived on a main
thoroughfare of the second
district and you could see
store windows were broken.
Orthodox people lived on the
side streets. The Nazis broke
into apartments, destroyed
crystal, threw furniture out
the closed windows and rip-
ped open feather beds and
pillows, shaking the feathers
out the window. The feathers
were blowing around the
streets."
Later that afternoon, Keats
said, two tall Nazis came ask-
ing for his ailing father.
"I told them I was his son.
They searched the closets for
valuables. I had some silver
mark pieces I offered to them.
They took the money, then
told me to come with them."
At the entrance to Gestapo
headquarters, Keats and the
other arrested men passed a
phalanx of Viennese who beat
them with their fists. Keats
spent two nights in a local
jail, then was put on a train
to Dachau.
"We were squeezed in, 10 to
a compartment, which held
eight people, forced to look at
an exposed light bulb," Keats
said. "If you dared to look
away or blinked, you were
beaten.
"For some reason, I caught
the attention of an SS officer,
who began beating me about
the head with his leather
gloves. He must have had a
heavy object inside them
because the blows came fast
and hard, rupturing a blood
vessel in my eye:'
After five months in
Dachau, Keats was released.
His mother had obtained for
him an immigration permit
for England. Keats never saw
his parents again.
The Nazi pogrom was set off
by the assassination of Ernst
vom Rath, a minor func-
tionary in the Germany Em-
bassy in Paris. His assassin,
Herschel Grynszpan, a
Jewish student in Paris, had
acted to avenge his parents'

Andrea Jolles is a freelance
writer in New York. This
article was made possible by
a grant from the Fund for
Journalism on Jewish Life,
supporter by the CRB
Foundation of Montreal,
Canada. Any views expressed
are solely those of the author

forced emigration from Ger-
many to their native Poland.
Vom Rath's murder led to the
organized riots of
Kristallnacht.
For
many
Jews,
Kristallnacht was a portent of
the future. They joined long
lines at the consular offices in
a desperate search for visas.
The lucky ones got out.
Most did not. -
Fred Grubel was arrested
after Kristallnacht. He spent
five weeks in Buchenwald.
A lawyer preparing to take
his bar exam when Hitler
came to power, Grubel in 1934
became the director of the
Jewish community organiza-

"For some reason,
I caught the
attention of an SS
officer, who began
beating me about
the head with his
leather gloves."

tion in Leipzig. Four years
later and newly married,
Grubel wanted to emigrate.
"But not without money,"
he said. "I was waiting to
have enough money to make
the proper deal to get out-
side."
As chief adminitrator,
Grubel oversaw an organiza-
tion in charge of schools,
welfare, immigration advice,
training for jobs outside Ger-
many — normally state-run
programs now prohibited to
Jews.
"At 10 o'clock on Nov. 9, I
got a phone call telling me
the synagogue was burning,"
he said.
"The next call was that the
community council had tried
to save the Torahs and they
were manhandled. I called
the police to say the Nazis
were vandalizing the
synagogue. The police asked
if I was Jewish and when I
said 'yes,' the phone was
disconnected.
"Early in the morning the
door opened. Two gentlemen
in uniform were standing
there. They had called a
locksmith to unlock the door.
They said I should come with
them.
"They took me to the office
of the Jewish community
center where I turned over
the keys. They took me in a
car and we passed the main
synagogue, which was still
smoking. I saw for the first
time the rage of the German
people and how they felt
about the Jews."
Grubel was sent to Buchen-
wald, where the barracks
were just being built. De-

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