Oral History

Inge Sachs Rosenthal describes hearing a Nazi song in music class

Inge Sachs Rosenthal was born on May 27, 1923, in Berlin, Germany. Following Kristallnacht in November 1938, Inge’s father was sent to a concentration camp for four weeks. Afterward, the family sought to leave Germany, but were unable to immigrate. Inge’s parents managed to secure her place on a Kindertransport to England, where she was placed with guardians. Her parents, who could not travel with her, were later deported and murdered at Auschwitz. Inge immigrated to the United States in 1947. She later moved to Brazil with her husband, a fellow refugee.      

This clip shows the choice one individual teacher made when faced with antisemitic content in the classroom. Explore the pressures teachers felt under the Nazi regime, the range of decisions individuals made in the face of those pressures, and the relevance of this history now.

Transcript

I have another very plea- well, a more satisfying remembrance. At school there was a… one class which was for, for music. And all the children were singing one of those Nazi songs. And the teacher said, “Now we’ll sing the first verse, and then the second. And now we’ll sing the fourth.” So a wonderful colleague of mine asked, “Why don’t we sing the third?” So he said, “That would hurt some of your colleagues.” And that was when Jews were cut their throat and all the, the blood was dripping from the knife. So I’ve never… I don’t remember his name anymore, and I’m sure he died in the war, but I’ve never for- it’s a memorial gift to him. And this was great things to do. I mean this wasn’t just something somebody might say, that—you had to have courage to do that.          


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