<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Eisner family
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In the summer of 1989 I started a one year study project with our polish partner university Szczecin. Upon termination of the project, the University of Szczecin presented us with a trip through Poland. Thus, we also travelled to Auschwitz. The very next day I had the opportunity to visit Guttentag (today Dobrodzien), my mother’s hometown which she had to flee at a three year old child. It was a strange feeling. I have been told so many stories about Guttentag, but never I did imagine Guttentag to be a really existing town since it was due to the iron curtain spatially out of reach and, moreover, existing in a long gone period of time. But now I was standing there and it happened to be a normal polish small town. My grandfather, Wilhelm Schatka (born 1899), had been a shoe-trader at Guttentag and was said to be a rich man. He would have purchased properties for each of his six children and would have been the first man to possess a car. A former shop-assistant of my grandfather showed me around the town and at one special place she stated quiet casually that here had been the Jewish school that my grandfather would have purchased. At this very moment, I didn’t realize all the repercussions of her statement and thus raised no further questions.

I came home and started to ask questions about the Jewish school. All I got were unsatisfactory answers. My grandfather would only have wanted to help the Jews and everything would have been legal, anyway. I immediately had the feeling that I had to go back to Poland, but as a young student I couldn’t afford the journey. Moreover I didn’t have any clue how to get the information I wanted.

The following weekend, the situation escalated. The German chancellor Helmut Kohl acknowledged the western border of Poland and my father, who had had to flee from Pommerania as a five year old child, began to rant and shout out Nazi-paroles at lunch-time, like “How could Helmut Kohl be able to give away his homeland and at the end of the day the German would be a people without land.” One word gave the other and he finally shouted at me that one should not go to Auschwitz if unable to stand it. I left home and thought I would never return. My father, however, at least understood how grave the situation had been and phoned me for the first and last time in his life. We agreed tacitly never to talk about critical issues again. We both complied with our tacit agreement and so until his death in 2002, we would only talk about the weather or the food.

The death of my mother in April 2013 was followed by a break- up with my mother’s family including my only sister and a grim probate dispute. I couldn’t understand what was happening and why it was not possible to talk to each other and resolve the conflict constructively even though many dispute resolutions scenarios have been laid on the table. Hoping to be able to understand the mechanisms of the conflict, I once again did some research into the family history. I came upon files regarding my grandfather’s restitution procedures (Lastenausgleichsverfahren). These files became the starting point of an in-depth research into the family history.

After having completed the said research, I am convinced that the current family conflict can be better understood in the context of our family history. The set of values and the communications structures of many members of the Schatka family are deeply rooted in the 1930ies, making it impossible to resolve the prevailing family conflict.
Moreover, when doing my researches into the history of my own family, I hit upon the story of a Jewish family that is worth of being made into a movie, because:

  1. The transports, a Jewish married couple separately had to undergo were spectacular. Both transports became famous and showcase the crucial test the Western immigrations countries  and the Jewish people had to endure;

  2. Both, the histories of the victims and the perpetrators are documented over the course of several decades, as is the offence as such;

  3. The story isn’t focused on the already well-known Holocaust but on the years before 1941 (expropriation and expulsion of the German Jews) and the years after 1945 (restitution).

With this website I would like to honor the memory thus anybody can ever forget what happened to the family.


PS: While researching the Eisner family I got a lot of information about other Jewish families in Guttentag. I document this information in the chapter other families .