Deep Roots in Germany

Cattle Breeders from Cloppenburg

"They were just like any other citizens."

"My [maternal] grandfather's family was in the cattle business... and he supplied the principality with the horses they needed for the town [of Cloppenburg]. He was very-admired and well-respected.

There were about 15,000 people in the town. There were nine Jewish families. And they had a synagogue. They had a cemetery as well behind the synagogue. They were upper-middle class, and they went to a parochial school – my mother and her sisters. They were taught by nuns-- about a ten minute walk from their house. And they were just like any other citizens. They were German, they were Jewish, and they had a good relationship with their neighbors. And they lived a very comfortable life.

My grandfather and my grandmother would take the girls to synagogue on Saturday morning, and then they would come home for a bit of a nap, and then my grandfather would often take the girls for a carriage ride, and they would go to get ice cream, or candy, or visit somebody-- either a relative or friends in the town."

Editor's note: Cloppenburg is a town in Lower Saxony, not far from the Dutch border with Germany. Like Berman's father and paternal grandparents, Berman's mother and her family had deep roots in a small town in Germany. Berman's maternal grandparents chose the town of Cloppenburg as the location to start their family of four girls for its good business prospects and proximity to their extended family in the larger town of Oldenburg. Berman's mother, Ruth Simon, was born in 1925, three years after her older sister, Edith, and 15 months before her middle sister, Hilde. Their youngest sister, Ilse, was born in 1928.