- Leon (Emilia's Brother)
- Hanna (Daughter of Emilia)
- Jonas (Son of Emilia)
(1950, Emilia is telling her kids about why WW II started.)
Emilia: I think the start of it all was after World War I ended. Your uncle was serving in the war, and he had just gotten home. He was telling me about what it was like, what the people were like. He told me about this one guy he knew that served with him. This guy had escaped out of death more times than anyone Leon knew. He almost always escaped without a single scratch on him! Sometime in the fall he ended up getting wounded though and had to leave the war for a while. But when he returned a while after, He and Leon were talking, and the guy was telling him about how awful the people of Berlin were towards the war, especially people with our religion. Leon said he became practically obsessed with the thought of Jewish people being the problem. Now Leon didn’t speak to this man much after he returned. This man’s name is Adolf Hitler.
Hanna: Isn’t he the cause of you moving?
Emilia: Yes, if we stayed in Germany, he would’ve hurt us and torn us apart for our religion.
Jonas: How can one guy make several countries turn their back on us?
Emilia: Well, this guy is very good with the way he words things. After the war, Germany was in such a bad place, we had been blamed for the entire thing. After that, a few things allowed the German people to become easier to take over.
Jonas: What were they?
Emilia: There was this treaty called The Treaty of Versailles and this treaty ruined us Germans. People had been saying that Germany had been betrayed. Germans, looked for people to blame, so they blamed bankers, Catholics, and mainly the Jews. The Weimar Republic, was moderate, but weak, and let matters get out of hand, The German economy's over-dependence on American loans caused it to collapse with the Stock Market Crash in 1929. Finally, the Depression, created tense international relations. After all that, Germany basically gave itself over to Hitler. He just started getting more and more racist overtime. He had contacted Leon again and wanted to meet up with him again.
Hanna: But Uncle Leon is Jewish.
Emilia: Hitler wasn’t aware of this. Leon meet up with him to see if he had changed but he was only worse. He had this idea of a super-race and Leon was fed up at that point and left. Anyway I’m getting off topic, a few main things happened before he was just the leader of Germany. In 1923, along with General Ludendorff he attempted to overthrow the Bavarian government with an armed uprising. It became known as The Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler and 2000 Nazi’s marched through Munich to the Beer Hall, to take over a meeting chaired by three of the most important individuals in Bavarian politics. The next day, the Nazis marched in the streets. The police opened fire on them. Hitler escapes but is captured, tried for treason and served 9 months in prison. In 1932, he became a German citizen and was able to run for president against Hindenburg. In 1933 Hitler withdrew Germany from The League of Nations and started growing the army, which went against the Treaty of Versailles. In 1934, Hindenburg died and Hitler became president. From 1934 until World War II, he took over most of Europe, but lucky me and Leon moved to Switzerland in 1934 before he became president, no one knew we were Jewish still, we kept it to ourselves, but we had started to plan moving in 1932, because they had introduced concentration camps, which from what we’ve heard, was just a death trap for anyone who didn’t fit Hitler’s “super-race.”
Hanna: How old were you and Uncle Leon?
Emilia: I was 16 and Leon was 20 when it all started. I got into a relationship with a Christian and that’s what made us leave in 1934, which is your father.
Jonas: Why did people hate us so much?
Emilia: You know, I still have no idea.