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The Yom Kippur Holiday in 1939

I remember the beginning of the German occupation. Yom Kippur of 1939. The Germans are already in Lodz. We too returned to Lodz after the strange and frightening acquaintance with the German occupier. All these years it was accepted that the German people were a cultured, developed and enlightened people. My mother, who was born in Vienna, received her German education in Austria.

But my parents also knew the Russians from the First World War who ruled parts of Poland. I always heard the nicknames my parents gave Russian soldiers. They were called "Vania" for the rude rural behavior of the Russian soldiers. After all, it was known that pre-World War II Communist Russia was a backward country, and it was only just beginning to develop.

But the short time, of a month, under German rule, we realized that difficult days awaited us. And we did not know how difficult and dangerous life would be. It soon became clear to us that the Germans were preparing plans to deal with the problem of the Jews.

I remember the first Yom Kippur under German occupation. in 1939. Germans are already in Lodz. We too returned home from the strange and frightening acquaintance with the German occupier.

Adolf Hitler, took over Germany in 1933 in democratic elections. In his book, "My Kampf" (My Battle), which was published on July 18, 1925, he details his teachings on the superiority of the white Aryan race and, among other things, also accurately lists the "solution to the Jewish problem." He demanded Germany must be free of Jews.  The whole world did not believe that he intended to do what he wrote.

From the beginning of the occupation, the Germans gave the Jews clear instructions with the restriction of freedom. Schools were closed. There is a strict ban on gathering people. They, among other things, are strictly forbidden to open synagogues, or to pray in groups.

My father was not a follower and did not belong to any court of any Rabbi. Although, he grew up in a Hasidic parents' home, he flowed with progress. He believed and prayed three times every day and went to synagogue on Friday and Saturday mornings and  also on all holidays. I always joined him when we went to the synagogue, but I was not drawn to religious belief at all.

After less than a month of German rule, Yom Kippur came on September 28, 1939. My father could not pray in the synagogue because the Germans forbade Jews to gather in synagogues as well. I found my father wrapped in a tallit praying, standing at the end of the long corridor, who was in the apartment .This time he prayed alone. Of course, he also fasts as on every Yom Kippur, a whole day of praying and fasting. It was forbidden to turn on electricity. The street light that came in through the large windows that were in the apartment, changed because of the clouds all the time. The silhouette of my father, which I saw that Yom Kippur, accompanies me all my life.

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