April 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
April 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Politz Day School Commemorates Kristallnacht and Reunites Old Friends

Politz Day School of Cherry Hill recently had the opportunity to hear from Fred Behrend, a survivor of Kristallnacht, on the 80th anniversary of that terrible day. On Kristallnacht, Behrend stayed in the city of Cologne, Germany with a family named Baum, whose father was a cantor and whose children were Margo and Heinz. Behrend captivated the students when he shared his memories as a 10 year old boy in Germany, the morning of November 9, 1938. He told them how his initial reaction to seeing his school in flames was childish delight in being free from classes! That quickly changed upon arriving back at the Baum home, when the deportations started. Behrend was able to escape through Cuba, never knowing if his friends Heinz and Margo had survived.

On November 9, 2018, 80 years after Kristallnacht, he found out that they had. While speaking to the Politz middle school, Behrend mentioned that he had stayed with Cantor Baum in the city of Cologne. Rabbi Avraham Glustein, head of school, remembered that he was at a bar mitzvah with Dr. Henry Baum. Dr. Baum spoke passionately to his great-grandchild about his own father, who was a cantor and a baal koreh (Torah reader) in Cologne, and how 80 years after the Holocaust his great-grandson was carrying on the tradition. Putting two and two together, Rabbi Glustein called the father of the bar mitzvah boy, who put him in touch with his grandfather. After confirming that Dr. Henry (Heinz) Baum did indeed host Fred (Fritz) Behrend, the two men spoke to one another for the first time in eight decades!

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles