European Jewish Life before 1933
After my parents left Europe, what happened by 1933 that immediately changed the course of history? Germany’s Nazi party was democratically elected to power by over 33% or 14 million voters. Living in Germany at the time were over one-half million Jews, who comprised a very small one-half of 1% of the total population.
Jews first came to Germany from the Holy Land with the Roman armies following their conquest of Jerusalem. Jews had lived in Germany for 1,612 years.
Beginning with the crusades in 1096, conditions for Jews in Germany became treacherous. There were persecutions and death; they were force to live in ghettos; they were pillaged and massacred; they were forced to convert; they were expelled; they were accused of poisoning wells and causing the bubonic plague; they also were accused of blood libel.
It is easy to understand why Jews fled eastward to countries like Poland where they established new Jewish communities in big cities and shtetls.