During the month after Guenther left, Inge continued living her life as usual, until November 10, 1938. On that day, Inge and her friend were shocked to see their synagogue in flames as they passed by on their way to school. They learned that there had been a terrible attack on Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues throughout cities all over Germany and Austria. This attack came to be known as Kristallnacht .
TESTIMONY: “Kristallnacht ”
“We saw a mob at a synagogue which was in flames.”
After Kristallnacht , many Jews who had the means and were able to find a place to go tried to leave immediately. For example, Inge’s mother was friendly with a family in an apartment downstairs, but one day she rang the bell at the neighbors, and she found that they were simply gone. They had not told anyone about their plans in advance for fear that they would be discovered and detained in Germany.
Jews came to live in constant fear of Nazi raids on their homes. Nazi officers came to search Inge’s house and took many of their belongings away. Her father had to hide his precious radio. He listened secretly to the news broadcast on foreign radio stations to find out what was going on in the world, and did not believe anything he heard through the German media, which was strictly controlled by the Nazis.On September 1, 1939, the radio announced the Nazi invasion of Poland. With the outbreak of war, air raid sirens would warn against possible bombings. With every horrifying siren in Cologne, Inge would experience terrible stomach pains. She tried to read in order to forget about her fears, but the situation did not improve.
In early 1940, Nazis rounded up Inge’s family and other Jews from Cologne and took them to the suburb of Muengersdorf, where they placed them in the barracks of an old Prisoner of War camp. The Jews were restricted to the camp and by 1941 were forced to wear a yellow star . Inge wore her star in the camp, but sometimes risked her life to hide the star and find food for her family outside of the camp. At 12 years old, Inge was already taking on great responsibilities, and great risks, for the sake of her family.
“I took risks to survive.”