Edgar Feuchtwanger Recalls Living Across The Street From Adolf Hitler

Jewish Historian Truly Had the Neighbor From Hell

Recalling a Munich Nightmare: Edgar Feuchtwanger, 88, has recently published a memoir about his boyhood.
Getty Images
Recalling a Munich Nightmare: Edgar Feuchtwanger, 88, has recently published a memoir about his boyhood.

By Benjamin Ivry

Published May 30, 2013, issue of June 07, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

In 1935, after the Nuremberg Laws were introduced, furthering anti-Semitic policies, 11-year-old Edgar became eager to join his relatives in the Holy Land, to escape the feeling of friendlessness and rejection in his grade school. Concerned by the imminent threat of war with the surrounding Arab countries, the Feuchtwangers decided not to make the move.

Instead, they took comfort from increased immersion in Jewish culture. As Edgar puts it:

“The stories are sustaining and splendid. I dream that I am David, Moses, and Samson … Then I return home by the usual route … as if protected by invisible armor. The Nazis don’t notice me, I look at them and no longer fear them.”

Only in 1938, after Kristallnacht when Edgar’s father was arrested and briefly imprisoned at Dachau, did the family resolve to leave. In 1939, Edgar was put on a train for England, armed with a few English phrases learned in a hurry, including “How do you do?… How old are you?… I am a Jew.” Once safely in England, he notes, he would no longer be required to use the last phrase in response to any interrogation by officials. Although his parents and uncle would also reach safety, not all of the Feuchtwanger family would be so fortunate. Some of them would be murdered in concentration camps, at the behest of their evil neighbor.

Benjamin Ivry is a frequent contributor to the Forward.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.