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Interaction between Jewish and non-Jewish children

The relationships between Jewish and non-Jewish children varied and were influenced by a number of factors.

Preexisting antisemitism played a role. Cities like Berlin could be fairly tolerant whilst antisemitism in rural areas could be much stronger.

It was also affected by how close and frequent friendships between Jewish and non-Jewish children were to begin with. Commonly, children played together on the street, but family friendships were rare.

Another factor that influenced children’s experience at school was character and resilience. For example, how did Ruth David’s life at school differ from her older sister Hannah’s?
© National Holocaust Centre and Museum

After the release of the “Racial Laws” in 1935, many parents told their children to cut off contact with Jewish friends. Around the same time, more than 50% of teachers had joined the National Socialist Teacher’s League and increasingly encouraged the racial segregation of children. Under pressure from the Hitler Youth, more and more children severed friendships and began to harass Jewish children inside and outside school.

Bernard Grunberg’s ordeal at school intensified over the years. How does the changed attitude of parents and teachers influence the behaviour of the children in class? What does this mean for Bernard?
© National Holocaust Centre and Museum

Popularity in class and personal resilience could cushion the effects for some but overall Jewish children increasingly suffered the effects of social isolation.

What is the driving force behind Bernard’s reaction to the harassment in class? How typical is his behaviour for children in general?
© National Holocaust Centre and Museum