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Anastasia Sara Abramowski Interview While She Was Living in Germany and Under Hitler's Control

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Interview – Anastasia Sara Abramowski with Dominic Meier – from Switzerland journalist

October 23 1938

Dominic Meier: Hallo und herzlich willkommen, Hello and welcome to everyone who is tuning in today. We are extremely lucky to have a special Jewish guest with us today to share her experiences while she was living in Germany and under Hitler’s control. Thank you, Doctor Anastasia Sara Abramowski for joining with me today here in Switzerland.

Doctor Anastasia Sara Abramowski: No, thank you for allowing me to come here today to express my opinions as a female Jewish doctor about Hitler.

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Dominic: Anastasia Sara can you tell me a bit about yourself

Anastasia Sara: My name was Anastasia Abramowski but since the Nazi Party authorities declared in August 1938, that by January 1st, 1939, Jewish men and women bearing first names of non-Jewish origin had to add Israel or Sara, to their given names. Since I was a woman I adopted the name, Sara. I was forced to carry cards that informed people I came from a Jewish family and my passport is stamped with an identifying letter J. I felt a bit left out and neglected. To be branded as someone who is inferior and not worthy of life and respect. My family and I were living in Munich, Germany which is located near the border of Austria and Switzerland. When I was younger I always wanted to be a doctor to help people, it was my passion and my dream. I always looked up to Dorothea Erxleben, who was the first female doctor in Germany. I worked heard and finally became a doctor.

Dominic: How did you and your family arrive in Switzerland, under the current situation?

Anastasia Sara: When Adolf Hitler became the chancellor of Germany on the 30th of January 1933, many Jews were fleeing from Germany into Switzerland, I heard as many as 2,000 people. We wanted to leave too, but we were afraid and financially struggling due to Hitler’s regulations. However, we had faith and determination and we left to start a future here, in Switzerland on the 5th of September 1938.

Dominic: I have heard that the Nazi party are sterilizing women and men, what is this about can you tell me all about it.

Anastasia Sara: There are many laws involved with forced sterilization on women and men. The first law was enacted on the 14th of July 1933, which was only six months after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. It was on that day, the 14th of July 1933, that the Nazi dictatorship fulfilled their disgusting dreams by enacting the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring, which is based on a voluntary sterilization law drafted by Prussian health officials in 1932. The laws were authored by Arthur Gütt (a doctor/physician) who is the administrator of public health affairs, Ernst Rüdin, ( a psychiatrist) and Falk Ruttke (a lawyer). The Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring which is known as Sterilization Law. It allows German physicians to perform forced sterilization which made it impossible for the person to have children. It was sad to see many women being deprived of their right to have children. I think, 300,000 people have been sterilized under this law. People seemed to be of Aryan race are greatly valued by the Nazis, whereas those considered to be of a lower race, or socially undesirable are discarded and punished. Both men and women underwent this horrific procedure. I had heard that at the end of 1934, 27,958 women had been forcibly sterilized.

Dominic: Who are being Sterilized?

Anastasia Sara: The sterilization program was to target those people who apparently have a slight hereditary illness. These people were among society and were labelled to be dangerous. Many women and men, from different walks of life, are being sterilized, however, Jewish individuals are more targeted. Women who were Asylum inmates, are the thirty to forty per cent of those sterilized so far. Individuals which belong to racial groups labelled inferior are the main victims of being forced into sterilization. I have seen many Jews, handicapped individuals, Gypsies, mentally ill, deaf and blind people. I have heard that 400,000 African-German teenagers have been affected

Dominic: Do you know why they are doing this?

Anastasia Sara: I believe the sterilization policies that are currently in Germany at the moment are influenced by eugenics. The Nazi’s took Charles Darwin’s idea of natural selection and substituted it to society. They believed that the human race could be enhanced by controlled breeding. Another reason for sterilizing men and women was so that the hereditary illnesses could not be passed on to offspring, and it would not contaminate the Volk’s gene pool. When Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany on the 30th of January 1933, he began to look to create a Volk community.

Dominic: How is the procedure carried out?

Anastasia Sara: The usual method of sterilization is vasectomy for male and ligation of ovarian tubes for women. More than thousands of people died as a result of the operations, it was mainly women due to the greater risks of tubal ligation.

Dominic: Have you been sterilized?

Anastasia Sara: Yes, I was forced to be sterilized. I hoped that one day I would have a child of my very own. I remember waking up and my stomach was hurting. I looked down, and I had stitches in my stomach. It was the most painful experience. I saw other women around me crying in pain and crying for the fact they will never be able to have children. Many women did die from this procedure. So far about 5 per cent of the woman sterilized have died.

Dominic: I have also heard that Jewish Doctors are no longer allowed to treat patients. When did this happen and what is it all about?

Anastasia Sara: When Hitler unjustly took power, his programs of social Darwinism and racial hygiene, which included the removal of all Jewish and female doctors from their service in April and June of 1933. During these months the new German laws also restricted the number of Jewish students at German schools and universities. Later on, further legislation sharply decreased Jewish activity in the medical and legal professions. They stopped Jews from being educated and stopped them from working in their profession. Decrees restricted payment of Jewish doctors from public health insurance funds. It was so bad that the city of Berlin prohibited Jewish lawyers to work on legal matters. They mayor of Munich forbade Jewish doctors from treating non-Jewish patients, and many schools denied admission of Jewish students to medical school. Male Jewish doctors could still treat non-German patients. However, some Jewish doctors could not work at all and many emigrated. Hundreds of Jews fled out of Germany before they were dismissed from their positions. One of my close friend went to Britain. It was a welcoming place for refuge Doctors. I wanted to leave, but once again it was too risky. I have heard The United Kingdom has set up the Academic Assistance Council (AAC), where there is a goal it to help find refugee Doctors jobs.

Dominic: How do you feel about these two regulations, what are your beliefs and opinion on them?

Anastasia Sara: The society back in Germany, especially the Nazi’s are very sexist. Not allowing any female doctors to treat people, not allowing them to do what they have worked hard to earn. To stop all female doctors from working but still allowing the male doctors to work. I believe this is injustice and wrong. Just because we are women, doesn’t mean we can’t do the same jobs as men. Stopping all Jewish doctors from their work including male doctors is just vile because it also stops Jewish patients from receiving health care as most German doctors did not want to treat them. Stopping Jewish female doctors from working is wicked, but it is another thing to stop women from having children. I strongly believe this is a cruel act, to prevent a woman from having a child. To stop her from raising a child. Some women, since they were a child have always dreamed of becoming a mother, but sadly those dirty Nazi put in laws and regulations to take that dream away from them. Everyone has a right to have children and no one should have the right to forcefully make you have a procedure to take it away. Each day when I remember Nazi’s forcing a crying woman to be sterilized I feel like vomiting.

Dominic: Did you do anything in response to these regulations?

Anastasia Sara: In secret, I would treat Jewish patients who were very ill and were denied health care which was very common. Even though women were not allowed to treat patients I still did, I couldn’t give up my passions and dreams. I wanted to stand up, fight, and protest against Hitler and his Nazi party, but it was too risky. I was afraid that they will shoot me in the head like they shot many Jews without hesitation who didn’t follow their rules. However, I have heard of many other Jews forming together and united to protest against the evil manipulating Nazi’s. I have heard of the American Jewish Congress (AJC) which was formed in December 1918 by different type of community. They protested for many things including Adolf Hitler. Rabbi Wise, a dedicated liberal, was up front about his opinion on the dangers of Nazism. On January 30th, 1933, when Hitler became chancellor of Germany, he organized a mass protest rally at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. He protested this despite the opposition of the German government. The American Jewish Congress continued to organize protest rallies. Even though these protests were held in America, it contributes to that fact that us Jews can come together, united and stand up against Hitler. It gave us hope that one day we can stand up against them and make the lives of the next generation of Jews better!

Dominic: Why did you still treat patients, when you were not allowed to?

Anastasia Sara: I wasn’t going to sit around and see poor Jewish families getting sick and not receive the proper healthcare any individual should receive. I was seeing injustice and I had to do something about it.

Dominic: Well, that concludes our interview for today, once again thank you, Anastasia Sara, for doing this interview and sharing your views and informing us about what is happening in Germany. Danke und tschüss

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