Before The War

Leipzig, Germany

Oskar Knoblauch was born in 1925 in Leipzig, Germany to Ruzia and Leopold. Oskar was the youngest of three children, which included his sister, Ilse, and his brother, Siegmund. The Knoblauchs lived in an apartment house and Oskar’s uncle Adolph lived with them as well. Oskar’s father worked as a furrier, meaning that his dad would refurbish furs to their original sheen and color. Leopold along with Oskar’s uncle were able to open up a shop in Leipzig in order to provide a comfortable life for their family. For the Knoblauch family, being Jewish in Germany was not a problem, for they did not experience any anti-Semitism from their neighbors. That would all change in 1933 when Adolph Hitler became the new Chancellor of Germany.

Soon after Hitler was made Chancellor, the propaganda about Jews in Germany started to flood the streets. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were set in motion, officially segregating Jews from other “Aryan” Germans, and stripping them of their German citizenship. The climate in Germany was changing, and Oskar’s father was forced to close the shop because people would no longer purchase items from Jews. It was a hard time for Leopold, who served in the German army as a Lieutenant during World War I. Oskar and his siblings had the same problems with their classmates and teachers at school. Oskar was told that he had to sit in the back of the classroom and he was not allowed to speak while he was at school. He was kicked off the soccer team and could no longer go to the sports club, just because he was Jewish. The family had to make a decision, and because Oskar’s parents had family in Poland they decided to leave Germany and move to Poland in 1936.