A German Evangelical Minister’s Reminiscences of his Youth in North Transylvania
At the time of Holzträger’s early youth in the town of Zepling, relatively few Jews were seen in North Transylvania. The Jewish tradesmen and local peasants were on good terms until 1943. In 1936, aged nine, he was mistaken for a Jew and badly beaten by four local youths. His mother taught him that the Jews were responsible for Christ’s crucifixion and by the age of eleven he was a virulent antisemite, as was most of the Christian population. At high school and gymnasium, the curriculum included racial antisemitism. The Evangelist Church enthusiastically supported the National Socialist party. In the media the Jews were portrayed as conspirators. Yet the Jewish physician treating Holzträager’s impoverished grandmother did so without requesting payment. In mid-1944 the Jews were transported to Auschwitz, where most were gassed. The non-Jewish population claimed that they did not know about the atrocities being carried out against the Jews. Holzsträager refutes this as he himself heard reports as early as 1942. Towards the end of the war, Holzträager gradually grasped the Nazi evil and fled with his family to upper Austria.