AboutAlex Levy was born in Berlin, Germany in 1936. He escaped in his mother's arms on Kristallnacht and spent the War years in hiding under an assumed identity in a Catholic orphanage. This blog chronicles that experience and what happened next.
Monthly Archives: December 2010
Life went on at the orphanage. We continued attending a very cold school on nearly empty stomachs during the winter. Summers, hunger was somewhat relieved by the theft of pears from the fenced garden. We played children’s games in the … Continue reading
After Sunday mass there always seemed to be a fresh infusion of holy pictures and rosaries into the Couvent St. Joseph, which in turn stimulated an active market in those objects. The holy pictures were pictorial representations of the saints, … Continue reading
It wasn’t always winter, as I spent some three years at the Couvent St. Joseph, but somehow winters were especially memorable. Each winter, on December 6th, was St. Nicholas Day, and all the children in the orphanage were taken as … Continue reading
Couvent St. Joseph was a Roman Catholic religious institution, and so the subject of religion inevitably had to come up, particularly as I had been charged with keeping an eye on my cousins should there be any attempts at baptism … Continue reading
Not all days in school were equally pleasant. As mentioned before, winter 1941 was one of the bitterest on record in Europe, made somewhat more unpleasant by the shortage of coal, the only heating fuel used at the time in … Continue reading
I wish I could say that I was truly miserable while living in hiding at the Couvent St. Joseph, but that wasn’t really the case. I was truly uncomfortable, yes; very uncomfortable. Always being ravenously hungry is not conducive to comfort, and neither is being lousy, dirty, itching from scabies, or being preternaturally cold, all of which were more or less natural and permanent states during those years. But there were also some very good things. I know this is inconsistent with the image of a poor, suffering child, but so it was. There were some very good things there also, and I wouldn’t want to forget or mention those in my rush to be consistent.
First among these good things was the realization that there was a school that could be attended within the convent, and Fela and I immediately rushed in to become students and finally learn to read and write. I took a desk way at the back, and waited Continue reading
I don’t remember what it was I did on that first day in the orphanage. It is simply a blank. However, I do remember that at some point the children began lining up in their little black uniform aprons in … Continue reading
The day of departure arrived. I was told to remember my new name, and was again told never to tell anyone that I was Jewish. My mother took along a bag of my clothing, and off we went by tramway … Continue reading
One day Herr Ullendorf, dressed as usual in his black velvet-collared coat, his homburg on his head and carrying his usual cane, showed up at my Aunt Paula’s apartment and told her that he thought that the children, namely my … Continue reading