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November 9, 2012 11:39 am

The Jewish Man Who Was Hitler’s Neighbor

avatar by Zach Pontz

Adolf Hitler.

A striking article on the BBC’s news magazine website tells the story of Edgar Feuchtwanger, a former neighbor of Adolf Hitler’s in an affluent Munich neighborhood.

Feuchtwanger recalls early memories of seeing Hitler in the street, describing the quixotic notions he had as an 8-yr old being so close to power.

“It all sounds so cosy when I talk about how I lived in the same road as Hitler, like it was not a big deal,” he told the BBC. “But it’s so difficult to think that people you saw almost on a daily basis were responsible for turning the world upside down.”

Feuchtwanger began to incorporate Hitler into his daily routine. He would walk by his residence in the hopes of spotting him, and once even approached the door to see if he could spot his name on the door-bell.

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Other Jewish families were moved out of the neighborhood on Hitler’s orders but for several years Feuchtwanger’s family was undisturbed.

But, as the BBC article explains: On November 10, 1938 “that false sense of security was crushed. Early in the morning, the 14-year-old Edgar heard officers from the feared Gestapo arrive at the family home. The previous night had seen the first wave of organised Nazi violence directed against Jews across Germany and parts of occupied Austria.”

Kristallnacht, or the night of broken glass, changed Feuchtwanger’s world forever. The Gestapo arrested Feuchtwanger’s father, who was taken away to Dachau. “They did not mistreat him,” he told the BBC. “My mother was terribly brave.” Feuchtwanger’s father was fortunate. He returned from Dachau six weeks later and in 1939 the family fled to England.

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