Timewitnesss pit about right-wing violence: "Hatred is the last step"

Timewitness mine about right-wing violence

The Nazis persecuted Ernst Grube because he was a Jew, the Federal Republic, because he was a communist. He asks the state to do more against the law.

The Holocaust survivor Ernst Grube in front of his terraced house in Regensburg

Ernst Grube survived as a young boy the Holocaust in Munich. Today he lives in Regensburg Photo: Dominik Baur

taz on the weekend: Mr Grube, in Halle, a Nazi tried to cause a massacre in a synagogue. How are you when you hear such a message?

Ernst Mine: Of course, that was very close to me. Immediately personal memories came up – to a large part of my family, which was killed by the Nazis. I would never have imagined that there would come a time when right-wing propaganda and the violation of human rights were part of everyday life. But by now it does not surprise me anymore. We have been seeing this development for years. It is only ever clearer that too little is done against right-wing violence. But we Jews and the men in danger must be careful that we do not let ourselves be pushed into a victim role now. Instead, we have to ask: how is it possible that things are repeating today, albeit in a different form?

Do you have an answer for yourself?

I think we can go back very far. This began with the fact that after 1945, the basic ideological ideas of the Nazis in many areas only continued to exist: anti-communism was maintained, Nazis were restored to their old functions, they continued to act on the basis of decisions and laws of the Nazis. In this respect, one must not be surprised if this development was just inherited in a certain sense and so the ideology of the day still lives on in the minds of the perpetrators of the second and third generation. Of course, if in some parts of Germany a quarter of the population and more vote for a party that now supports this Nazi ideology, that is of course more than alarming. But what does the state do about it? Months ago you have found this list of deaths with 25,000 names in right-wing extremists. Everyone was horrified, but that's about it. No one is talking about it today.

The state would have to go through harder?

Yes, in any case. Only he has the means. He has to observe and destroy these networks. And he has to face the approaches of right-wing extremist thinking. Right-wing terrorism not only affects us Jews, it also affects Muslims, Sinti and Roma, immigrants who have long been citizens, migrants, refugees, to name but a few. And democratically active from all spectrums. When I hear that refugees or even people born here with a Muslim background in Saxony sometimes no longer dare to send their children to playgrounds or go out to the streets at night, that depresses me a lot.

Are you afraid of a repeat of the story?

At least there are parallels. For example, in 1938 at the Évian Conference, 31 out of 32 nations refused to accept more Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria – at a time when the brutality of the persecution, especially in Austria, was clearly visible. And we have a similar situation today when it comes to refugees. We watch as they drown in the Mediterranean. Only thanks to a strong public and above all the courage of the captains of the private rescue ships, we are now at least a small number of people. We are talking about human rights and allow them to be hurt at all levels. We know that the people of Afghanistan live in dire poverty and are in constant danger to their lives and lives. Even so, every month a larger group of people are sent back from the state.

What is your biggest concern?

origin Grube was born on 13. 12. 1932 in Munich. He is a painter, he has learned from his father. The mother was a nurse. Later he worked as a vocational school teacher. Since the beginning of the 50s he is a member of the DKP.

today lives in Regensburg pit and is still politically active. He speaks up when it comes to sea rescue, police duty law or culture of remembrance. The Holocaust survivor regularly visits school classes and tells his life story.

attitude Grube is president of the camp community Dachau, co-chairman of the Förderverein für Internationale Begegnung, chairman of the board of trustees of the Stiftung Bayerische Gedenkstätten, member of the board of trustees of the Evangelical Reconciliation Church and on the political advisory board of the Nazi Documentation Center of the City of Munich.

That this hatred increases. Hate is the last step to violence. And I follow with incomprehension how superficially the responsible authorities react in part to this development. Since insults are no longer accepted for display and downplayed. Even judges dismiss the most evil insults as freedom of expression. On the other hand, there is also the fear of a war, which rises with every tweet by Donald Trump. As a child, I experienced both, exclusion and war. They did not even let us Jews into the air-raid shelters. I still remember how once I hid in Munich in the Old Botanical Garden, in a shrubbery: I heard the whistle of the bombs and all the crashing explosions around me.

They know what fear is.

Yes, I was scared. Although we did not share the brutal fate of most of the Nazi Jews – thanks to my father, who despite great pressure as a gentile did not divorce and thus saved the lives of my mother and us children. But I experienced exclusion, I saw terror. And I know how fear can faint you. Therefore, I can understand well how many refugees feel with us. The young people are sometimes taken out of bed at night and deported. I understand when some are hiding.

When did you first realize that you live in a country where you have to be on guard?

I could not yet classify the first harassment I received. There I was five years old, we lived in Munich in a house that belonged to the Jewish community – right next to the main synagogue. In 1938, the Nazis destroyed the synagogue, confiscated the houses all around in the context of the so-called Aryanization and quit the tenants. When my parents did not leave the apartment because they could not find accommodation so quickly, we were shut off from water, gas and electricity. And because they did not know where to go with us, they gave my brother, sister, and myself to a Jewish orphanage.

Was your family very religious?

No not at all. My parents were close to the communists, especially my father. For the first time in this home, I have really experienced Jewish life. This was a very nice time despite the separation from the parents. The home was a refuge for us children.

By 1941, half of the children were deported.

Symbolic place for the confrontation of the superpowers before the fall of the Berlin Wall, today a trashy tourist playground: How the Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin could lose weight, read in the taz on the weekend of 9/10. November 2019. Also: The Holocaust survivor Ernst Gruber on the danger of right today. And: CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak on the bad state of his party and the fragile coalition. Always from Saturday at the kiosk, in the eKiosk or in the practical weekend subscription. And on Facebook and Twitter,

There we felt: Our community is now destroyed. Above all, I remember the despair. The supervisors of course tried to calm the children, telling them it would not be so bad, but then tears flowed. I see ourselves there still on the first floor, the friends, who should be deported, still got a packed lunch. That was the point where, for the first time, I became really aware of the harshness of the Nazi regime. And of course we asked ourselves: Will we meet again?

The children were shot only five days later.

But we did not know that until after the war. In the spring of 1942 there was another transport, and then the children's home was dissolved. At the end – we were still 12 of 46 children – we came to a barracks camp in the district Milbertshofen. That's when I saw people being tormented. I still remember an old boiler house on the site. There the Nazis were desperate, imprisoning old people; they hung on the barred windows and screamed and lamented. Later we came to another camp before we were allowed back in March 1943 to the parents in a two-bedroom apartment.

Did you have any hope at the time?

Our hope was that the Germans would lose the war fast enough. Since we secretly heard Radio Moscow, we knew that the Wehrmacht was on the decline. But above all, there were two things that occupied us during this time: One was the fate of our mother's sisters who had been deported with their husbands and children. We had to assume that they were killed, which was true then. The other was the question of how to proceed with ourselves, whether the protection of the Father would suffice.

In February 1945, you were also deported – with the penultimate transport to Theresienstadt.

My mother was supposed to come to the Gestapo headquarters with us children "for work". Of course, it was clear to us that we should be taken to a camp. And we thought we would not come back. We were then taken to Theresienstadt. There they took everything away from us first and put them away from each other's families. I was in a room with ten other boys. In the evening we sat together and talked about our situation. What do the Nazis intend with us? What will they do shortly before the end of the war?

Luckily, Auschwitz was already liberated wherever it usually went from Theresienstadt.

Yes, that's the only reason we survived. And because we were deported so late, we have not experienced the worst of times in the camp. Of course we were very scared, but at the same time there was hope. From the end of April we were waiting for the liberation.

How do you remember the moment of liberation?

That was on the 8th of May. Suddenly someone shouted: The Russians are here. And everyone ran to the gate. I jumped on such a car and hugged a Red Army soldier.

After your return to Munich they made an armband that said "KL Theresienstadt". What did you intend to do with that?

The idea was: we have to tell what we have experienced. But nobody wanted to hear something. The only exceptions were former prisoners, mostly communists and trade unionists.

To which you soon belonged yourself. How did that happen?

Of course I was influenced by my parents. But then I got to know my future wife Erika Binder, who was already in the FDJ back then. She was the daughter of Otto Binder, who had been executed together with other family members from the Olschewski Binder resistance group in 1944 in Stadelheim. About them I came into the organization. And as a painter's apprentice, I became involved a little later in the union youth. The resistance to the remilitarization of Germany has also played a major role in my politicization. So there should be built a new army – and with whom? With Hans Speidel, with Adolf Heusinger, so all these generals who led the fascist war. Which allowed us to persecute and kill Jews.

And then you came in the fifties once again in the sights of the state, this time the Federal Republic.

It was absurd. The Nazis have already arrested me, and then the same happens in the Republic of Adenauer. I had to go to jail in 1954 after participating in a demonstration. It was about closing times on Saturday, then a big thing in Munich, over weeks have demonstrated tens of thousands, the police has used water cannons for the first time. They came riding, with steel helmets and rubber coats, reminiscent of the Nazi era. And at such an event, a police officer is riding towards me, swinging the stick and pouncing on me. Then they arrested me for "resisting the state power". What could I have done to resist a bludgeoning police officer on the horse? At the trial, I got seven months. I had to serve them until the last day. And that was harmless compared to my second prison stay.

How did that happen?

In 1958 I was sentenced for illegal work in the KPD. That was forbidden in 1956. And we, six former concentration camp inmates, wanted to distribute material from the KPD with a flyer campaign in the center of Munich, but were betrayed by a spy. And there we stood before the Federal Court in Karlsruhe in front of these judges, who were all already under the Nazis judge, and were sentenced to one to two and a half years imprisonment. I myself was given a year, but was released after I had been in custody for nine months – four months in Bonn in absolute solitary confinement. My cell was a meter wide, just fit a bed.


Solitary confinement?

Yes, without justification. Later I should even get a job ban. That was in the seventies, and I taught as a vocational school teacher for apprentice painters. I then had a conversation in the town hall; to which I took my star of the Jews and put it on the table. A little later, the prohibition was withdrawn.

Is it true that you are still being watched by the protection of the Constitution?

Yes. I am a member of the Association of Persecuted Persons of the Nazi Regime (VVN) and this organization is being monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution on the pretext that it exerts a left-wing extremist influence, inter alia, by me and the VVN would work towards the elimination of democratic conditions. Even if both are not true. Right from the beginning, the VVN was an organization whose aim was to prevent the resurgence of fascism and to support concentration camp survivors in their new environment. In 2011, I was even named in the constitution protection report. Although they later omitted the name because of my many friends in civil society, I still observe them. You have to imagine: I work in many organizations and committees, which deal with memory, often I am there on the board, I am chairman of the camp community Dachau. And I am elected chairman of the board of trustees of the Foundation Bavarian Memorials, a state institution. And at the same time, this state sees a constitutional enemy in me.

But as a communist, would you name yourself?

I am a communist, but not in a rigid doctrinaire sense. Although I am in favor of a new society in which there is real freedom and where capital is not the direction, I have no problem with it when others see it differently. The bridges to other people are very important to me. First of all, party affiliation does not matter.

. (TagsToTranslate) Kristallnacht (t) Holocaust (t) KPD (t) Antisemitism (t) life (t) Society (t) taz (t) tageszeitung

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