The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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20 September 1933

Salo Horn‘s New Year greetings to his mother

In 1933 the Jewish New Year festival of Rosh ha-Shanah began on the evening of 20 September. The Nazis had been in power for eight months, during which Jews had been stripped of their rights and ostracized, persecuted and expelled, arrested and murdered. It was therefore with trepidation and uncertainty that German Jews, both individually and collectively, looked toward the new year—the year 5694 on the Jewish calendar.

The gravity of the situation is reflected in the affectionate New Year‘s greetings that seven-year-old Salo Horn sent to his mother. The family had gone through some difficult times. In 1929 Sara Horn had separated from her husband and moved with her three children from Saarbrücken to Frankfurt am Main. Here, Salo and his brother, Bernhard, who was three years older, lived in the Jewish children‘s home run by the Flersheim Sichel Foundation. Their mother earned a living for the family as the proprietress of a men‘s clothing store in Frankfurt‘s historic center. Salo was quite worried about his mother and promised in his letter to be "more diligent and better behaved" in the year to come. He prayed for God‘s support for himself and his family. He decorated his letter with a Star of David, a Torah scroll and a shofar, the ram‘s horn that is traditionally blown during the New Year‘s service in the synagogue.

Five years later, on 28 October 1938, Sara Horn and her three children Rachel, Bernhard and Salomon were deported from Germany to Poland as part of the Polenaktion ("Polish Operation"), during which approximately seventeen thousand Jews of Polish nationality were expelled from Germany within the space of a few days. Together with a large number of other Jews, the Horn family was forced to wait for several hours in a railway tunnel at the border in Upper Silesia before being told abruptly that "by the grace of the Führer" they would be allowed to return home. During the November pogroms a few days later, Sara Horn‘s shop in Frankfurt was looted and destroyed.

In April 1939, the family finally received a visa for the United States—four years after filing an application. Sara Horn and her three children left for America from the French town of Le Havre.

Aubrey Pomerance

Categorie(s): childhood | emigration | Frankfurt am Main | religious life
Salo Horn‘s New Year greetings to his mother, Sara, Frankfurt am Main, 1 Tishri 5694 (20/21 September 1933)
Gift of Rose Beal, née Horn

In America

Salomon Horn (1925–2007) joined the US Army at the age of eighteen and fought in the Pacific until the end of the war. He then studied psychology in Los Angeles and served as a consultant to the government authorities. From 1957 to 1980 he worked as a school teacher. After retiring, he took courses in various subjects at the University of California in San Jose and in 1996 began teaching there himself. His specialty: ballroom dances.

Sara Horn with her children Rachel, Salomon and Bernhard, 1930s
Private collection of Bruce Horn