Tuesday, 5 July 2016

A journey to myself


As most of you know, my parents, Hans and Suzanne Flatauer were German Jewish refugees - my mother came from Berlin, my father from Hanover. They met at an international Jewish conference. This was in the early 1930's, when many predicted, correctly, that Hitler's rise to power would mean persecution in some form. Although those who'd read Mein Kampf could deduce what form this was going to take; many people felt equally that the German population would see through Hitler and his thuggish rhetoric, and vote his party out.

As restrictions on the lives of Jewish citizens began, including their right to education (my mother had to leave Berlin University) and attacks on individual Jews went unpunished, they decided it was time to leave. My mother's family, Lotte and Richard Mannheim came with her and settled in Hendon, north London. My father's parents Raphael and Alma, affluent, highly intellectual Orthodox Jews, but maybe not so worldly-wise, decided to stay. They subsequently perished in one of the camps - part of Hitler's deadly 'Final Solution'.

In their absence, my parents' German nationality was taken away, as happened to all who fled Nazi persecution. They never went back, and I was born in the UK, grew up here, suffering racial taunting from time to time - age 7, I remember asking my mother why a kid in my class had called me 'A dirty Jew' when I had a bath every night. I was though, to all intents and purposes, a British citizen. I had a British passport then in time, an EU one. And so my 'story' might have run its course - until two weeks ago, when this country voted to leave the EU.

My parents were stripped of their German citizenship. Now I have been stripped of my EU citizenship. As it currently stands, I and my descendants will soon no longer be able to work, live, or study freely abroad. Once again, other people have removed at a stroke my 'identity'. But this time, I refuse to submit quietly. This time, I am going to fight back.


To be continued ...




8 comments:

  1. Carol, so many people and too many families face or have faced what you're going through now. Although it's different times and different circumstances, the sense of persecution remains the same. There are many who will fight with you. Keep the faith.

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  2. You won't be alone on the barricades, Carol - the depth of anger at all this is surely evidence that we will not stand by to see you, nor my Swedish neighbour, nor my Nepali visitors, made to feel anything but proud of who you are.

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  3. Even if I'm in the US by the time the fight takes to the barricades, I'll be behind you. Britain is part of Europe and has been for centuries...most Brits came from the continent at some point, I suspect.

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    1. The story will continue...xx and thanks for the support!

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  4. Go get'em. Or if you prefer: Go and kick some a.. !

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  5. KEEP SHOUTING ABOUT THIS, PLEEEEASE, CAROL. I didn't know about your ancestry, but perhaps this is the time that people will be shamed into listening. I have Jewish friends expressing similar sentiments.

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  6. History speaks, and people still ignore it. I have been so saddened by these last few weeks... Thank you for your insight, and there will be many who won't stand quiet x

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  7. You are not alone. I'm in the same position as your parents but not in the UK. The thought that a vote in the UK in which we had no part could rob us of the life that we have made here for ourselves over the last 25 years more than sickens me. Save me a place at the barricades.

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