fbpx
Friday, October 30, 2020

Living in Einstein’s House

Print This Article

There was a recent report that the former summer home of Albert Einstein, in the Berlin suburb of Caputh, will be returned to the heirs of the famed physicist. The Nazis had confiscated the residence from “the enemy of the people Einstein” during World War II.

The news item took me back some 60 years. I started living in the Einstein House, as we called it, in 1935, when it served as a student dormitory for a progressive Jewish boarding school, called Landschulheim Caputh. I was 10 years old.

Even though the Nazis were tightening the vise on German Jewry, I remember my two years in Caputh as an idyllic time, brightened by some of the most innovative and caring teachers I have ever known. They created, somehow, a sheltered island amid the approaching storm clouds.

We put on a lot of plays, some classical but ones mostly written by our teachers and ourselves. I remember playing the role of Thisbe in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to an appreciative audience of parents.

Today, I recall only a few incidents when the outside reality broke through. In one, we were taking a hike through the nearby woods when we were waylaid by a bunch of Hitler Youth, who started cursing and spitting at us.

Our adult leader was the school’s physical education instructor, a burly Jew from Denmark, relatively shielded at that time by his foreign citizenship. In short order, he beat up the biggest of our tormentors, after which the rest beat a quick retreat.

A few years after I had left, the Gestapo closed the school and arrested the principal, teachers and some 80 remaining students. Few survived the Holocaust.

Skip half a century, to 1992, when the German Foreign Ministry invited me to visit the country of my birth as an American reporter, and asked me to set my own itinerary.

As an afterthought, I put down Caputh as a stop, and, one morning, a chauffeur and a guide picked me up at my Berlin hotel.

We drove through Potsdam, largely destroyed during the war, and arrived in Caputh, which had survived unscathed. The main building of the school had been renamed, before reunification, by the East German communist regime as the Anne Frank School, and housed some 24 teen-agers with learning and physical disabilities.

The principal, Joachim Frede, said that he didn’t know what the building was used for during the war, but, in 1945, it was reopened as a home for war orphans, before being put to its present use in 1982.

I asked Frede to take me to the Einstein House, which, with four other buildings scattered throughout Caputh, provided living quarters for the Jewish boarding school.

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Previous articleCommunity
Next articleTaking the First Step

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Pandemic Times Episode 100: Who’s Better for Israel, Trump or Biden?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. A conversation with political editor Shmuel Rosner on the upcoming U.S election, a new survey on anti-Semitism...

Trump’s Jewish Outreach Point Man Makes His Pitch

Boris Epshteyn, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump and co-chair of Jewish Voices for Trump, shared the Trump campaign’s pitch to the Jewish...

Neighbors – a poem for Torah portion Lech Lecha

Please let there be no quarrel between me and between you… Please part from me; if left, I will go right, and if ...

Amal and George Clooney Honored at Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance 2020 Gala

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance honored Amal and George Clooney with the 2020 Humanitarian Award at its virtual gala on Oct. 28.  Hosted...

Armenia’s deadly attacks on Azerbaijani civilians must stop

It is difficult to put into words how I am feeling today, a day that follows several weeks of indiscriminate shelling of bullets and...

Why I Get Out the Vote for My Patients

My family and my career would not be affected much by the outcome of an election. What gets me out and knocking on doors are the healthcare needs of my own patients and millions like them across the country.

Digital Platform Blends Technology and Spirituality for Easy Online Services

In 2011, Rabbi Daniel Medwin had an idea to digitize prayerbooks and project them onto a screen using a PowerPoint slideshow format. He never...

Adherents to Faith-Based Diplomacy See Political Boost for Israel

The Media Line: Josh Reinstein is the author of Titus, Trump and the Triumph of Israel, a new book just out on the power of...

U.K. Labour Party Suspends Jeremy Corbyn Over Anti-Semitism Report

The United Kingdom’s Labour Party suspended former party leader Jeremy Corbyn on October 29 following the release of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s...

60 Years of Voting, 60 Years of the American Way

This year marks the 17th presidential election in which my vote will be counted. The first was the year of Kennedy versus Nixon — 1960. It was a big year for me. I became a wife. I began my career as an educator. I turned 21. And I voted.

Culture

Amal and George Clooney Honored at Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance 2020 Gala

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance honored Amal and George Clooney with the 2020 Humanitarian Award at its virtual gala on Oct. 28.  Hosted...

Digital Platform Blends Technology and Spirituality for Easy Online Services

In 2011, Rabbi Daniel Medwin had an idea to digitize prayerbooks and project them onto a screen using a PowerPoint slideshow format. He never...

Oscar Isaac to Play Jewish Superhero

Oscar Isaac, who portrayed an Israeli Mossad agent in “Operation Finale” in 2018, will star in the Disney+ series “Moon Knight” as a Jewish...

Award-winning Documentary ‘The Last Sermon’ Set for Digital Release (with VIDEO)

THE MEDIA LINE — The award-winning documentary film The Last Sermon is set to premiere on digital platforms on December 15, Gravitas Ventures, a...

Rice Is Nice With Everything

Someone once said that rice is the food equivalent of khaki pants—it goes with anything. Anthropologists are divided over whether the popular Asian rice we...

Latest Articles
Latest

Pandemic Times Episode 100: Who’s Better for Israel, Trump or Biden?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. A conversation with political editor Shmuel Rosner on the upcoming U.S election, a new survey on anti-Semitism...

Trump’s Jewish Outreach Point Man Makes His Pitch

Boris Epshteyn, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump and co-chair of Jewish Voices for Trump, shared the Trump campaign’s pitch to the Jewish...

Neighbors – a poem for Torah portion Lech Lecha

Please let there be no quarrel between me and between you… Please part from me; if left, I will go right, and if ...

Amal and George Clooney Honored at Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance 2020 Gala

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance honored Amal and George Clooney with the 2020 Humanitarian Award at its virtual gala on Oct. 28.  Hosted...

Armenia’s deadly attacks on Azerbaijani civilians must stop

It is difficult to put into words how I am feeling today, a day that follows several weeks of indiscriminate shelling of bullets and...

Hollywood

Oscar Isaac to Play Jewish Superhero

Oscar Isaac, who portrayed an Israeli Mossad agent in “Operation Finale” in 2018, will star in the Disney+ series “Moon Knight” as a Jewish...

Jon Stewart to Return to TV in Apple TV+ Series

Emmy-winning writer producer, director and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will return to television with a new one-hour, multi-season current affairs series for Apple...

Adam Sandler Goes to Space in Netflix Film

Adam Sandler, now starring in “Hubie Halloween” for Netflix, is going to space in his next movie for the streamer. He’ll play an troubled...

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 100: Who’s Better for Israel, Trump or Biden?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. A conversation with political editor Shmuel Rosner on the upcoming U.S election, a new survey on anti-Semitism...

Pandemic Times Episode 99: When Corona Meets a Chronic Illness

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. A poignant story that captures our pandemic times, by Karin Katz. How do we manage our lives during...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

x