During the routine cataloging of the personal archive of Eva Michaelis-Stern (1904-1994), one of our archivists stumbled upon a chilling document, in which Michaelis writes about her interrogation by the Gestapo in 1937. Michaelis, one of the founders of the Youth Aliya office in Berlin, was summoned to appear before Adolf Eichmann, at that time the head of the Jewish department in the Nazi secret police apparatus.
Apart from the interrogation itself, the document offers a glimpse into the reality lived by the Jews in Germany on the brink of the Holocaust. It shows how, despite immense efforts by Zionist activists to continue their daily lives, fear simmered beneath the surface, and the watchful eye of the Gestapo managed to slowly erode their sense of belonging to a country they had lived in for centuries.
The document, which reads like a short suspense story, also tells of the fickleness of human nature and of the thin line between friendship and animosity.
(Code: A440\26 | Courtesy of The Central Zionist Archives)
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