Bad things happens when good people stay silent. Dr David Berger is speaking out.
Above is a photo of my grandmother, Margot von Bentheim, taken with my mother in the Spring of 1925. She would have been 60 when I was born, but she died at the age of 35.
A Jewish refugee from the Nazis, she committed suicide, alone, despairing and destitute in Chile in 1941, leaving a six-year-old girl with no Spanish – my aunt – to be brought up in an orphanage.
The girl was not found again by the family for nine years, by which time she could no longer speak German, but was able to apologise, in Spanish, for not having been able to prevent her mother’s death.
Meanwhile, Margot’s own mother and sister were sent to the concentration camps, which they survived, but which her sister’s husband and two sons did not.
On my father’s side is also written the history of Jewish persecution in the first half of the 20th century. The family fled west at the turn of the century to escape the Russian pogroms. The lucky ones, the prescient ones perhaps, kept going and ended up in Britain and America.
The ones who stayed in mainland Europe ended up caught in the maelstrom.
One day in 1942, gentle, dignified Uncle Solomon and his wife were taken from their apartment in Marseilles and vanished into the ‘Nacht und Nebel’ of wartime Europe. Their fate remains unknown….[..]