The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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13 July 1933

Eva Eichwald with her father on a summer holiday in Harrachov

Photo postcards like this one, which shows Eva Eichwald (b. 1928) and her father, Kurt Eichwald (1891–1948) in Harrachov, were an ideal way to send short holiday greetings to loved ones at home. However, the family decided to keep this card as a souvenir. It documents a carefree holiday spent in a small Czech town in the Giant Mountains. The photo conveys not only the pleasures of a summer day in the mountains, but also the close relationship between a father and his daughter.

Eva turned five on 13 July 1933. Together with her father, Kurt, who was a medical doctor, her mother, Herta, and her three-year-old brother, Ernst, she spent her holidays and probably also her birthday far from her bustling hometown of Berlin. At the idyllic mountain resort the family was able to forget the political and social situation in Germany for a while.

One year later, Eve began attending the elementary school not far from the family‘s apartment in Landsberger Allee, where Kurt Eichwald also had his practice. He had been allowed to keep his license to bill the statutory health insurance after 1933 and practice medicine relatively undisturbed because he had served as a field doctor throughout the First World War, first as non-commissioned officer, then as a second lieutenant. Eva‘s first few years at school were a happy time. The family spent their summer holidays abroad in Denmark or Switzerland and later in her life Eva fondly recalled these trips. In 1938, after four years of elementary school, she switched to the Königstädtisches Lyzeum, a secondary school for girls. In May 1938 her father immigrated to the United States alone, at which time her family moved to the western section of Berlin and Eva transferred to the Holdheim School, the reformed secondary school of the Jewish Reform Congregation.

It was not until 1939 that Herta Eichwald was able to join her husband in America with their two children. There Eva and Ernst continued their education, initially in New York, then in Zanesville, Ohio, where Kurt Eichwald had taken a position as a doctor. Kurt Eichwald died of leukemia a few years later, at the age of only fifty-seven.

The memories that Eva Eichwald, now Tinianow, has of this period are marred by the knowledge that several family members perished during the Holocaust.

Christiane Bauer/Aubrey Pomerance

Categorie(s): Berlin | childhood
Eva Eichwald with her father, Kurt Eichwald, on a summer holiday in Harrachov (Czech Republic), photo postcard, July 1933
Gift of Eva Eichwald Tinianow