Emigration as an option

Hilda Wohlgemuth Peiser's citizenship was annulled

Many families sought opportunities to emigrate and by the end of 1934 about 20,000 Berlin Jews had done so. The trick was to get out with any of your assets, which were subject to confiscatory taxes or forfeiture. Hilde’s husband Peiser was able to move his business to Holland and soon after they moved there themselves. On the Ringel side, Helga’s cousin Wolfie Shatner fulfilled Hermann’s dream and left for Palestine with a group of Zionist pioneers. 

Early in 1935, fresh street violence brought personal assaults on the Kurfürstendamm and mob actions targeted at ice cream shops. By summer, the Nazis cleaned up their act while hosting the Olympic Games in Berlin. The Olympic stadium was close to Charlottenburg, and Hermann was able to get tickets through his Jewish sports club for several events. Helga went and later remembered cheering for the African-American Jesse Owens. 

When the Games ended, the hammer came down on German Jews in the form of the Nuremberg Laws, issued in September, stripping Jews of most citizenship rights, prohibiting intermarriages, and banning commercial interaction between Jews and Germans. These laws would provide the legal foundations for all of the repressions to follow.

One consequence of the law was that it immediately stripped citizenship from German Jews who had left the country and were living elsewhere, which is why Hilde Peiser shows up in a database of people whose German nationality was annulled in 1935. Hermann’s sister Rosa Shatner, the widowed mother of Wolfie who went to Palestine, fled with her daughter Margot to her in-laws’ home in Belgrade in Serbia. His other sister Bette and her two daughters were able to get out to London. 

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