Erna and Alfred Kaufmann with Erich Wolf in Haus Waldfrieden in 1932, Erna Dorn née Kaufmann remembered more than 60 years later. "I would have loved to go dancing, but the Jews were no longer allowed to."
Samuel Kaufmann died in 1919 of a viral flu, his wife Paula, née Aach, then ran the stationery and bookstore in Bad Bertrich and fed their three children: Ernst, Alfred and Erna.
During the Nazi era the shop was boycotted and on 8.8.1935 “Jude” was painted on the shop window with lead white paint in large letters, the same on the road embankment in front of the shop.
In 1936 the sign with the inscription “Jews unwanted” was put up in the state swimming pool of the health resort. Ernst Kaufmann fled in the same year, first to Sweden and later to the USA.
Alfred and Erna Kaufmann moved with their mother to Trier in April 1938 and prepared to leave for the USA. While Alfred Kaufmann was able to emigrate a few months later, the women’s departure was delayed. Erna Kaufmann went to Stuttgart several times to get their papers in order. Finally, her mother was refused entry to the USA because of an eye disease. Waiting for an operation, Paula Kaufmann stayed with a friend in Trier and strongly advised her daughter to flee. At the end of 1939 Erna Kaufmann emigrated to England. Her mother and her friend were deported from Trier in 1942 and murdered in Minsk. After the war Alfred Kaufmann returned to Germany for a short time as an American soldier.
Mrs. Erna Dorn née Kaufmann took part in the meeting week in September 1995. During this week she told about her life in Bad Bertrich:
“Before the Nazi years we had few difficulties. My brothers and I went to school in Bad Bertrich for eight years. After the takeover everything changed. We children lost our friends. The shop was no longer visited.
In 1938 my mother had to give up the business and moved to Trier, where she lived with a friend until she had to leave Trier by force in 1942. Then we heard nothing more from her. My uncle Felix Kaufmann also lived in Bad Bertrich. In 1936, he was able to emigrate with his family to South Africa, where his two daughters still live today.
The conversations with the students, the interest and sympathy for her life caused Mrs. Dorn to go to the lectern at a reception given by the District Administrator Dr. Balthasar in Beilstein for the first time in her life and give an impressive speech.
She thanked him warmly for his hospitality and his interest in her fate.
“This is the most wonderful week of my life.”
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)