Born: 1927 Hameln, Germany
Refugee : Kindertransport; United States; U.S. Army Intelligence (Germany)
“The SA (Nazi Storm Troopers) came to our house and shot out the lights, threw milk cans through our windows...we were terrified,” recalls Herman Loewenstein. “All of a sudden we were no longer acceptable citizens.“
It was known asKristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” and Herman remembers the nightmare well. On November 9 and 10, 1938, outbursts of violence, spearheaded by Nazi Special Police, occurred in German and Austrian towns and cities. Synagogues were ravaged and burned, Jewish-owned businesses were looted and their windows shattered, and Jewish men were beaten and arrested. 30,000 Jewish men were sent to detention camps.
Afterward, eleven-year-old Herman was not allowed to associate with his childhood friends. When Jewish children were forbidden to go to school in his hometown of Hessich-Oldendorf, Herman was sent to live with an uncle. In 1939 Herman left Germany through the Kindertransport program, an extraordinary rescue operation that transported 10,000 Jewish children to safe houses and foster families in Great Britain. He remembers, “I was sent to North Hampton. I can still hear the planes flying overhead.“ Herman was one of the fortunate ones; his parents came to retrieve him. They made their way to Montreal, to New York, and finally to Nashville.
At the end of the war, Herman remembers his father receiving requests for letters stating that certain officials in his hometown had never been Nazis. Those who once had turned him away now needed him. “Ironic, isn't it?“ Herman muses. “They needed him now.“