My Childhood 1924-1936

I was there.

Walter Frankenstein was born in 1924 in the Polish town of Flatow in Northeast Germany, called West Prussia. When Walter's father Max died his mother Martha continued to run the family grocery and tavern.

When Hitler came to power in 1933 the situation changed in Germany. In Flatow, the Jewish population was subject to attacks, and the Nazis stopped people from entering shops owned by Jews.

In 1936 the headmaster declared that Walter and other Jewish children were no longer welcome to the school. As there were no Jewish schools in his home town, he was sent to Berlin where, thanks to his uncle, he was given a place at a school and the Auerbach children’s home.

Walter Frankenstein (1924), Germany

Walter Frankenstein (1924), Germany


My Family

Walter talks about his family and childhood in Flatow in Northeast Germany.

1) Listen to Walter as he talks about his family and their life when he was a child. Answer the question.

  • 1a. What do we get to know about Walter's life as a child?

The Threat Against the Jews Grows

Walter talks about the growing threat against the Jews.

2) Listen to Walter as he talks about the growing threat against the Jews. Answer the questions.

  • 2a. When Hitler came to power, the life of the Jews in Germany changed. Walter and his family were also affected. What happened in April 1933?

  • 2b. What could be the reason why Walter had to become more self-confident and less afraid?

My School Years

Walter talks about his school years and the situation when he is forced to leave public school.

3) Listen to Walter as he talks about his school years. Answer the question.

  • 3a. When Walter was 12 he had to leave public school. Why?

Jewish Life in Flatow and Berlin until 1939

A slideshow that explains Jewish life in Flatow and Berlin before the war.

4) Watch the presentation explaining Jewish life in Flatow and Berlin until 1939. Then answer the questions.

  • 4a. Jews began to be excluded from German society even before the Second World War. How do we know this? Give a few examples and explain why you chose these.

  • 4b. In 1936 a major event took place in Germany and for a short period, it became important to conceal the exclusion of Jews. What happened this year, and what do you think the storyteller means by saying that "this was deceptive"?

Extra Material