Miriam Feder home


What is a country?

(Carole’s father, Rudy, musing in 1937, Germany) Is my country a part of my blood, my bones, is it the safe feeling under my feet? Or is it the place my family has lived for generations—even after it strips away our rights and treats us hatefully?

What identifies me as German? Is it my culture, my language, my neighbors or neighborhood? When I fought in the war for my country, as a young man, that made me realize that this country was important to me. I could die for my country: so many young men did—even friends of mine. It was terrible war–”the Great War.” We lived in trenches that were filthy, endless, cold and unforgiving. Fortunately the war ended before I was sent to the Eastern Front—that would only have been worse still. But now I knew I was a German—now that people wanted to kill me for it. I saw the very best in my countrymen and the very worst.

You know, we are not even citizens anymore. It’s bad enough to have to carry papers with the Swastika all over them and to see all those arm bands everywhere. But I am not even considered German. Such an insult. I cannot imagine; it is hard to believe. How can this go on for five years now? Certainly it cannot get worse.