Interview with the contemporary Josef Nolte
To give a better insight into his youth during the Nazi regime to the ninth class of the Maximilian Kolbe Gymnasium, Mr. Nolte described his biography from 1923 to 1937.

Mr. Nolte: „At first you must know that I have seen two governments: Till 1933 the Weimar republic and the Nazi regime. I was born on the 15th of February, 1923 and experienced my school life from Easter 1929 to 1937.“

Student: „Certainly you knew a Jewish family, didn't you?“ 

Mr. Nolte: „Yes, I knew the Jewish family Silbermann, who were successful in Porz with their company for insulating material of the electrical industry Meirowsky. Today the company Meirowsky is known as Dielektra. Own appartments were put to the employees in Meirowskystrasse, today's Ohmstrasse.“ (Mr. Nolte made a sketch.)


Student: „Did you know the Silbermann's personally?“

Mr. Nolte: „The fond of children Mrs. Silbermann who brought toys from Cologne for poorer children invited me to the play in the biggest apartment which I had seen up to now, with three children. The biggest fun was the home cinema and the electric railway which normal families could not afford. If the weather was nice we played in the big garden behind the house. To maintain this, they let two workers from the company Meirowsky work in it. Also a maidservant was working for the company Meirowsky. In addition I must say that Jews were never put as a maidservant.“

Student: „Why didn't Jews work as maidservants?“ 

Mr. Nolte: Because Jews celebrate the Sabbath on Sundays on which they are not allowed to work, they were not employed as maidservants.“

Student: „Did you also know other Jewish families or enterprises?”

Mr. Nolte: „The butcher Albert Tobias was one of the best known Jews in Porz. Very much integrated Mr. Tobias was a member of the shooting club. At the shooting gallery of the company Meirowsky he showed his skill and was chosen the commander.

At the fair Mr. Tobias, who was popular by children, with little money enabled them to use the fair attractions as for example motorcycle driving, coconut shying and riding the caroussel free of charge on Mondays. When we collected money for Heide-children as carolers, he gave Mettwurst to us and 20 other altar servents. Because he had fought in the First World War and had earned an decoration, he thought to be spared by the Nazis. Still he as well as the other Jews disappeared from Porz and Zündorf.“

Student: „Were you present at a Jewish celebration?“

Mr. Nolte: „The Silbermann's invited me to a bar mizvah dinner. The properly dressed family led me in the dining room which was illuminated by the hanukkah menorah. Mr. Silbermann read from the Torah and bowed every time the word Jahwe, the Jewish name for God was mentioned.“

Student: „Did you go to school with Jews?“

Mr. Nolte: „I attended a Catholic Protestant school but also children of other religions could be students there. I suppose that the Jewish children from Zündorf and Porz all went to a special school.“ 

Student: „How has the picture of the school changed?“ 

Mr. Nolte:„ Till 1933 the deputy headmaster, Josef Broch, at the Catholic school of Porz which I was a student at, was strictly Catholic and played the organ and harmonium during the services. When the Nazis gained power, one could recognize how Mr. Broch developed to a man who hates Jews. He appeared with brown party uniform and instead of the book now we read the magazine "Der Stürmer", published by the SS. Bit by bit other teachers also changed to the brown party. The school subject racial anthropology was added. Everybody had to prove that there were no Jew one had as ancestors. If there was one, , you'd be discriminated and not valid as an Aryan. It was an advantage if girls had blond hair. From the 6th class boys and girls were separated. The girls were taught by Mrs. Meffert and the boys by Mr. Broch. I can remember one think in detail: We had to learn anti-semitic poems by heart . Such like this one:

Krumme Juden zogen hin, (Crooked Jews moved here,)
Krumme Juden zogen her, (Crooked Jews moved there,)
Juden zogen durchs tote Meer, (Jews moved through the dead sea),
Die Wellen schlagen auf und zu, (The waves hit them,)
Und dann hast du deine Ruh. (And then you have some peace and quiet). J

The boys were lured by water sports, riding associations, walking and tent campy to the Hitler youth, the Jungvolk. Nevertheless, I never was with the Jungvolk, but with the biblical youth. This was the reason, why I was expelled by the school: I was seen as politically incorrect. This was noted on the report and led to receive no good apprenticeship training position.“



Protest by the priest of Gremberghoven against the high-handed instruction of the mayor of Porz that members of the Jungvolk were not allowed to be altar servants.

Student: „Which profession way did choose?“ 

Mr. Nolte: „Thanks to the relations of my father I got an apprenticeship training position in Agrippastrasse in Cologne. My boss at that time owned in the two housesin the Kammergasse, inhabited by Jews who traded by purchase and vending.“

Student: „Can you report us something about the Kristallnacht in Cologne?“

Mr. Nolte: „In Porz we didn't notice it at all. When I went to my work by tram on the next day, I heard what had happened last night supposedly. Also the air betrayed that something bad had happened. On the way to the bank I saw what that was: Destroyed shops, broken objects lay on the street. SA men, policemen and civilians ran chaotically around … it was so awful. I went on and saw the burn down synagogue. For days one still saw the destruction.“ 

Student: „Did people prejudices or envy on Jews before the Nazis came into power?“

Herr Mr. Nolte: „No. We were a big community, but of course there probably were exceptions“

Student: „Have Jews appeared in public?“

Mr. Nolte: „By force the Nazis made them wear the Yellow Star (Star of David), and by posters in front of Jewish shops (see picture).



People that bought at our friends shop from Albert Tobias were noted, as well.“

Student: „Was the SS accessible to Germans only?“

Mr. Nolte: „Nazis have taken Yugoslavia and Bosnia and searched soldiers for them over there, too. From the Ukraine so-called Hiwis came to help them.“

Student: „Did you know about what was going on in the concentration camps?“

Mr. Nolte: „On the vocational school the KZ's weren't discussed. Also at the front with the military I didn't know anything about it. After the release from captivity I heard details about the processes in concentration camps for the first time.
Do you have other questions?“

Student: "No thank you, you've explained everything to us in detail and figuratively."

The students applaud enthusiastically, while Mr. Nolte is leaving the classroom.

Melanie Peters und Kristina Scharpel