THE HOLOCAUST - FROM A DISTANCE
A talk given on November 4th, 1994 in the auditorium of the Palmer Museum of Art by Julius Held for the Program of Jewish Studies of the College of the Liberal Arts, Penn State University, University Park, PA.
When we talk of the Holocaust, we generally have in mind those infamous places of mass-murder of which Auschwitz has become practically a synonym though we know that there were others equally horrid. At one point in my narrative Auschwitz will indeed be mentioned, but it is not, cannot be the subject of talk like this. What I can do and have, if somewhat reluctantly, agreed to do, is to fit a few personal vignettes into the entire tragedy that befell Jews during the twelve years of the Third Reich. My own life was never physically threatened, nor did I ever see a concentration camp from the inside. From my youth I remember German anti-Semitism as an unpleasant, but not particularly worrisome fact of life, balanced, as it was, by many bonds of friendship across the lines, characteristic of life in small towns, and of the schools where I was trained. Maybe I should sketch briefly where and how I grew up. My parents had a dry-goods and ladies-wear business in a town of 4000 inhabitants, about thirty-five miles east of Heidelberg. Its name is Mosbach, and it will play a role in what I am going to say. The business had been founded in 1829 by my great-grandfather, Samuel Altmann. Thanks chiefly to my grandfather, Moritz Held, it had become the leading store of its kind in town.
In 1929 we celebrated the 100th anniversary, and the town celebrated with us. “Us" means my slightly older sister and me; my father had died in 1919, eight months after returning, a sick man, from 3 1/2 years of military service in the German Army during World War I. While he was serving variously in Belgium, Northern France, and the Baltics (Estonia), my mother had carried on, but she herself died in 1926. At her death I had nearly three years of study at various universities behind me, but felt that under the circumstances I ought to help my sister managing the family business. After one year, and the recognition, shared by everyone working in the firm (there were about six employees) that I lacked all the qualities of a businessman, I returned to my studies and in 1930 got my Ph.D. My sister married soon thereafter, but by the mid-thirties the situation in Germany had deteriorated to such an extent, that they decided to give up the business. In 1936 (now also with a three-year old son) they succeeded going to Palestine, settling in a town founded chiefly by German Jews; but life remained a struggle as long as they lived.
In 1931 I was admitted to a two-year apprenticeship at the State Museums in Berlin, serving in three major sections, the last being the Gemaldegalerie in the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, where I worked two doors away from its then-director-Max J. Friedlander, a famous specialist in early Flemish art. Whatever career that might have opened up for me came to naught soon after April 1, 1933 when I received a brief note from the Generaldirektor that my activity for the museum had to stop immediately. Friedlander - who was also Jewish-lasted a few years longer, but I still have a melancholy letter he wrote me on August 10, 1939 (he had retired a few years before) that he was ready to move to Amsterdam, where old friends would help him find a place. Luckily, he survived the German occupation and I saw him again several times after the war; he was 91 years old when he died.
The rest of the year 1933 I continued in Berlin, spending several months to see if I had any talent as a restorer of paintings (I had not), also beginning to learn English, and finishing some writing obligations. Most important however, was the acquaintance with a New York businessman who was interested in collecting works of art and to whom Friedlander had recommended me as a reliable adviser in his purchases. It was he who suggested that I should go to the States to "look around." I arrived in January 1934, provided with a visitor's visa; and early in September of that year I entered the U.S. with a permanent visa that I had received from the American consul in Montreal.
The year 1933 that I still spent in Germany remains vividly in my memory. The Nazi-movement had evidently become familiar to me long before, but its truly sinister nature was recognized only when Hitler had become Chancellor early that year (January 30, 1933) and in March had proclaimed himself supreme "Fuhrer" (following Mussolini, who had adopted the title "Il Duce"). The first sign of what he was up to came almost immediately: April 1 was declared to be a nation-wide "boycott" day, mainly, but not exclusively, aimed at Jewish businesses; storm-troopers in their brown uniforms were placed in front of the doors of Jewish businesses, stopping people from entering. At the same time mass dismissals of Jewish professors from German universities, and expulsions of Jews from all official positions, including, for instance, even from veteran's organizations, took place. And more and more often storm-troopers marched through the streets singing bloodthirsty songs one named for Horst Wessel, one of their "fallen heroes", a line of which goes like this: "wenn's Judenblut vom Messer spritzt gehts noch einmal so gut" (when the blood of Jews splatters from our knives we'll feel twice as good). Another went: Hang the Jews, stand them against the wall. In Mosbach, as I heard from my sister, access to the store was also blocked on April 1, but for a while things quieted down somewhat and some people showed their opposition to the new regime by demonstratively shopping in Jewish businesses; later they asked if they could come through a rear door so as not to be seen entering. (The wife of a dealer across the street kept a list of, and denounced those who entered from the front.)
Increasingly new laws and ordinances were passed, often by local authorities, especially after 1938, when federal guidelines were promulgated in Nuremberg, depriving Jews of most, if not all protection of the law. To give you a few examples: Jewish physicians were no longer permitted to treat non-Jewish patients; only Jewish lawyers could represent Jews. There were often petty local rulings, such as that Jews can no longer use municipal swimming pools; or get prescriptions at local pharmacies. Owners of restaurants would place signs at the door: Juden nicht erwunscht (Jews not welcome). In 1938 a Federal law required that each Jewish man had to add the word "Israel" and all Jewish women the name "Sara" to their names.
The destruction of the Jewish communities in other countries, especially the East, after they had been occupied by Germans in the war was as cruel and as radical as was the ultimate fate of the German Jews. Yet there was a difference. For millions of Polish Jews, for instance, the German fury came suddenly with the force of a natural disaster, like a devastating flood or a major earthquake. For the Jews of Germany it came incrementally, over a number of years with ever new ways of petty chicanery, humiliation, and violence. It can not be stressed too much, that for a number of years while the screws of civic restrictions were being tightened, valiant efforts were made by Jews to create their own schools, their own cultural activities, and their own charitable organizations.
The truly violent phase of persecution began with the so-called Kristallnacht of the 9-lOth of November, 1938. It is probably the single best-known event marking the start of the long martyrdom of German Jewry. Although officially explained as a spontaneous reaction of the German populace to the shooting, by a young Polish Jew, of a minor employee of the German embassy in Paris, it was in fact a coolly planned and meticulously organized attack, above all on almost all synagogues in Germany, most of which were burned. Many Nazi-hoodlums also used the opportunity to break into houses and apartments, beating up its occupants and demolishing whatever they could lay their hands on, pictures, lamps, antique furniture, china. In a report about the rampage during the Kristallnacht in Heidelberg, I read that when begged by the elderly occupant of an apartment to save the medicine-cabinet on which he depended for his health, one of the intruders took special care to pulverize anything that was in it. What happened in Mosbach I learned much later, in part from a few local people who had been there and were willing to tell me what they remembered. One of them also gave me a typed page containing a statement written by an unnamed witness who in 1938 had still been a pupil in high school. There were still c. 40 Jews left, some of whose houses were ransacked, and the owner beaten up. To the best of my knowledge, none of them escaped "the final solution", among them the Rabbi of the congregation with his wife and two young daughters of 13 and 10 years. He and his family had fled to the Netherlands to what they had hoped was a safe haven, as had also one of the best friends of my youth, with his young wife. They all were picked up when the Germans occupied the Netherlands and eventually were shipped to Auschwitz.
On one of my visits to Germany in the 1970's, I came across a richly illustrated book on the history of German synagogues, from medieval beginnings to their destruction in 1938. Among the illustrations I found a picture which is not the record of a burning synagogue, but of an event that took place at the same time; I was shocked when I saw that it rendered a familiar sight: the Market square (Marktplatz) of Mosbach. (Photo shows the burning of the contents of the Synagogue on the Marktplatz Nov. 10, 1938) In fact, although taken from a window of the town hall (Rathaus), the photo rendered pretty much the same view as that seen from the front part of our own house, which faced the Marktplatz. The text beneath the picture explained the action: before setting fire to the synagogue, all portable contents including, I presume, the sacred scrolls, were piled up on the Marktplatz and set on fire, in the presence not only of large numbers of curious citizens but many high school students, who had been commandeered to attend this final cleansing of the town of anything tainted by Jews and Judaism. This act of gratuitous vandalism, in its kind unique in the events of the Kristallnacht, had previously been unknown to me; and I decided to obtain a print of that photo and possibly some more information about the event. I traced the picture to the Archives of the State of Wurttemberg in Stuttgart and there I met a Dr. Paul Sauer, the chief archivist who, as I found out, in the late 1960's had published four substantial volumes on the persecution of Jews in the States of Baden and Wurttemberg. When I asked Dr. Sauer whether I could obtain a print of that picture he said, I could not only get one, but that there were many more photos recording the same event. He did not know by whom, and for what purpose they had been taken. They had been found in the Mosbach offices of the public prosecutor, after the fall of the Hitler regime.
Since the synagogue was located in the center of the town, surrounded by half-timbered houses, the local fire-brigade had been ordered to stand by to hose them down, and eventually to extinguish the fire - another indication that the whole act of destruction had been planned, and approved, by the local authorities.
In the late 1930s, my private life, in far-away New York, was filled with other concerns, above all the necessity to build a career in a new land and in a new language. In 1935 I had received a Carnegie research grant and with it an invitation to teach one graduate course each term at NYU. In 1937 Barnard College hired me on an annual basis as a full-time lecturer. I began to do some research, resulting in a few articles in American periodicals and I also had received some invitations to lecture, particularly in Canada. In 1936 I had married, and our first child, a girl, was born in 1938. Yet I could not help following the dangerous drift of events abroad, and the reactions they found over here. 1938 was not only the year of the Kristallnacht. It was also the year of Chamberlain's fateful trip to, and surrender in Munich; Hitler's annexation of Austria; and the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. On the one hand I was occupied with growing professional and private duties. On the other I could not help thinking of, and worrying about the fate that seemed to be in store for the people in Europe, and the many personal friends and relatives among them. It so happens that precisely in that ominous year of 1938, I began keeping a diary of events. With this talk in mind, I recently opened its pages to see to what extent they reflected the political developments and the growing danger, not only for the Jews but for most people of Europe. Yet that apparently was not what had prompted me to keep daily records. The diary opens, on July 14, with that lapidary sentence: "Labor started somewhere around one o'clock this morning." (Our daughter actually took some time; she was born on the 16th of July). And for several weeks thereafter these most private concerns took precedence over the affairs of the world. Yet soon enough the Hitler menace drifted also into the pages of that diary. With the seemingly unstoppable expansion of Hitler's domain and, after 1939, his early successes of war, and America's initial aloofness from the European troubles, the fate of the European Jews became truly alarming and began to affect deeply not only the Jewish refugees but the American Jews as well. Messages of despair and requests for help multiplied, and many came also my way. Yet there were many hurdles blocking the way to immigration. I am sure you are familiar with most of them. Jews who wanted to come to the U.S. first had to file an application for a visa at an American consulate, where they were then given a waiting number. These numbers soon ran into tens of thousands. Then they had to be provided with affidavits of support in which American citizens with sufficient means (which had to be documented) bound themselves to prevent the newcomers from becoming a public charge. It was extremely difficult to get such affidavits since Americans were understandably reluctant to promise, if necessary, to support people whom they hardly knew. Moreover, as a rule, three such affidavits were required; I myself wrote a few despite my still small earnings, and at least in two cases - for which additional affidavits had been secured - the candidates for whom they were written, managed to come over. My most rewarding case did not have to do with immigration to the U.S. It concerned three unmarried, middle-aged, frail, and impecunious members of a Mosbach Jewish family (two brothers and a sister) who wrote to me that they knew of a well-to-do relative in New York with whom, however, they had not had any contact. Could I get in touch with him and tell him of their plight? What they really wanted was to go to Palestine. That man's name (like theirs) was Hanauer (Jerome H.)
It turned out that Jerome Hanauer was a partner of Kuhn, Loeb and Co., and he was more then well-to-do. I made an appointment with him (I think it was my first contact with Wall Street) and found him very receptive. In due course the three Mosbach Hanauers were installed in Haifa, and in 1949 I saw one of them there again. Later on Jerome Hanauer also helped two other German relatives of his, who had chosen me as their intermediary, to come to this country.
Worrisome enough as the European situation was, the situation in Palestine had also deteriorated and in 1940-41 Arabs tried to block Jewish immigration by force of arms. There were daily fire-fights between Arabs and the Jewish settlers and my timid sister had to learn how to clean a rifle. In other words, wherever one looked, one saw deadly dangers for people with whom, a few years before, one had shared a normal peaceful existence.
Of the various activities that eventually led to what the Nazis referred to as the final solution of the Jewish problem, I want to tell you of one chain of events that may not be as well known as the deportations to the death camps in the East, but in which I was emotionally involved. On the orders of three "Gauleiters" (district leaders), of Baden, the Palatinate, and the Saar c. 6,500 Jews living in these southwestern regions of Germany were informed on the morning of October 22, 1940 that they would be picked up the same day for deportation; they could take with them no more than 50 kg. of luggage and no more than 100 Marks in cash. In the few hours (and in some cases it was even less) these unfortunate people - not knowing where they would be sent, and the many elderly ones of course not even able to carry the full allowance in weight- gathered all kinds of things, some of which eventually turned out to be quite useless, and walked out of the apartments and houses where most of them had spent their entire lives. They were first loaded on buses and taken to major railway stations (one of them being Karlsruhe) and from there in crowded trains to the French border, where they were handed over to the French police. (You must remember that shortly before, in June 1940, France had signed an armistice; and the Vichy regime had no way to refuse the unwelcome "visitors"). In fact, at the urging of the Gestapo, the French had previously rounded up several thousands of German Jews and political opponents who had fled to France, and taken them to a large camp in Gurs, in the southwestern part of France, at the foot of the Pyrenees. Capable of housing up to 15,000 people, the camp consisted of cheaply constructed barracks, which had been built to house, for a while, the many Spanish Republican refugees who had fled to France when Franco had won the Civil War in the spring of 1939. Into this camp the French now dumped more than six thousand Jews which they had taken from Baden and the two other states. The local authorities were totally unprepared for the sudden influx of such large numbers of men, women and children of all ages and all states of health. In the confusion (this I read in Dr. Sauer's book) most of the luggage (generally cheap suitcases) was thrown on a pile and left there for days in the rain (the region being known for its moist climate) so that much of the little that had been taken along had become totally useless. The barracks, c. 20 x 80 feet, had no windows, only hatches that were closed at night; electric light was turned on only a few hours in the evening.(Photo shows the interior of a barrack at Camp Gurs, France)
Men and women, even if they were married, were separated in different parts of the camp. There were thirty people to a barrack, no furniture - they first bedded down on straw, only later on bags filled with straw. Each barrack had a stove, but not enough firewood. A thin soup and a piece of bread were provided twice daily for weeks on end. These soups were either of turnips, or cabbage, or pumpkins. Latrines were in a separate place and people had to walk there on muddy paths; very soon there were all kinds of illnesses and intestinal disorders, and there were cases of people dying in the mud on the way to the privies. Administration was at first in the hands of the French Army, later of the local authorities and their police. Things became somewhat better when the Red Cross and the Quakers began to send help and some children were taken from the camp and placed with French families. Their parents remained in the camp and almost certainly never saw them again.
I am giving you all these details because I had a special interest in that camp. As I later found out, there were no less than seven elderly relatives of mine in the camp, all of them cousins either of my mother or my father. The first one of whom I heard, and whose fate moved me greatly was a lady from the town of Pforzheim, a cousin of my father's and well known to me, as a fine pianist (in fact, she had made a living as a professional piano teacher). Her name was Johanna Roth but we usually called her Hansel.
Gradually, with the help of American organizations, among them Self-Help, the Red Cross and the American Friends Service, contacts with Camp Gurs were established, and mail could be exchanged, though one could never be sure that all went through. At any rate, when I had obtained Hansel's address I began writing to her, and managed also to send her some money and food-parcels, some of which indeed did arrive. I was determined to try to get her out. Since some other relatives in this country were willing to add their affidavits to mine, I had high hopes eventually to add Hansel to our small household. It was not to be. As you may know, in the summer of 1942, the Germans occupied all of France and in July and August of that year the Gestapo organized (not without help from French authorities) transports of Jews from various parts of France, including Gurs, towards the East, as part of the "final solution," which by then had become the official German policy. Hansel Roth was among the deportees. In a volume ("Gedenkbuch") summarily listing all the victims of Nazi-persecution from Baden and Wurttemberg, published in 1969 by the Stuttgart Archives these are the dates given for her: "Johanna Roth, May 28, 1883. October 22, 1940. Gurs. August 10, 1942. Auschwitz. Verschollen." (Disappeared without a trace). Who knows, she may have died during the long train trip to the East. She was 59 years old. I still have a good many of her letters, sent from Gurs, written in a minute script on single and fragile sheets of paper.
She never complained and - not too hopefully - was pleased when she knew what steps were being taken. The first of her letters is of January 21, 1941, evidently in reply to one from me, in which I had asked for all her personal data, as well as those of her parents, her own activities, and if she had any criminal or political records (there were none of course). Her last letter was of June 14, 1942, acknowledging a letter by me, of the middle of May. She mentions that she enjoys the warm weather and the sight of farm animals she evidently could see outside the barbed wire fence.
A brief statistic: the total number of Jews from the State of Baden (not counting the Palatinate and Saar) deported in October 1940 to Gurs was four thousand four hundred sixty-four. Two years later, three thousand one hundred eighty-three, or 71% were dead, either from illness, malnutrition and general neglect while at the camp, or as the result of the second deportation, to the death camps in the East.
In retrospect, I wonder if I should, or could have pushed her case more forcefully. The real trouble I fear, was with the bureaucracy in Washington. My formal application accompanied by all kinds of documents, and the additional affidavits, was mailed in the middle of November 1941 to the Department of State in Washington. Four months later, March 27, 1942, when I had not had any reply, I wrote again stressing my great concern and interest in the case. The answer was a form letter from the Department of State of June 11, 1942, stating that (quote) "A preliminary examination (under paragraph, so-and-so etc.) had not resulted in a favorable recommendation to the American consular office involved." However, it continued, I was free to file an "Application for Appearance before the Interdepartmental Visa Review Committee" in Washington. I did file such an application immediately and was informed on June 25 that a hearing was arranged for 9:30 a.m. on July 3rd. By that time we (my wife and our young daughter) were already for the summer on our "farm" in Marlboro, VT (which I had bought the year before); but I quickly made the necessary travel arrangements and in the morning of the 3rd faced the representatives of four Government agencies (Department of State; of Treasury; of Defense and the FBI), who interrogated me for few minutes. When it was over, I had the feeling that it had gone well.
Yet it took nearly another three months before the Department of State informed me on September 25 that approval for an immigration visa for Miss Roth had been given, and that the American charge d'affairs in Marseilles had been notified accordingly by wire. By that time nearly a year had passed since I had begun the action to have Hansel Roth admitted to this country; but when the visa was granted, it had of course come too late.
I have two pathetic reminders of the ending of that sad story. My last two letters to Hansel, the second one of which contains the news of the granting of the Visa, were returned to me. The words "parti sans addresse" (departed without forwarding address) were penciled on the envelopes.
(Two letters by JSH to Hansel Roth returned with remark: "partie sans adresse", after final transportation to Auschwitz) By that time I had already had a letter from Ella Auerbach, an officer of Self-Help of Central European Refugees, that on July l9th, Miss Roth had still received $30 (which I had sent) and had written "many warm thanks and greetings" on the receipt, but that her name had also appeared on the list of deportations from Gurs. Ms. Auerbach ended her note saying "we know what this message will mean to you." She probably had to write such letters only too often.
Even though the full extent of mass-murder that we now call the Holocaust became known only later, much of it had filtered out through all kinds of private channels, but our government was slow (if not actually reluctant) to give credence to these reports. Moreover, by then the attack on Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941) had thrust us too into the global war and the fate of the European Jews was eclipsed, even among American Jews, by the emotional strains and dislocations brought on by the war. As an art historian, I also was deeply affected by the losses (for instance in bombing raids) of great works of art. But for years I still scanned the pages of the "Aufbau", a newspaper written primarily for the German - Jewish immigrants, for the names and fates of people I had known. And for a long time my correspondence was filled with communications to provide, and receive, news about survivors, and learn more about those who had perished.
Survivor: that word has its own associations, some of them potentially troublesome. What could justify my survival in the face of the unspeakable sufferings and miserable death of millions whose only "crime" had been the same as mine - that of being a Jew? To some extent, it may have been "survivor's guilt" that motivated me in the actions about which I want to speak in conclusion of this talk.
You remember that I had not known about the burning of the contents of the Mosbach synagogue until I saw the picture of the circular assembly on the Market Square in a publication on the history of German synagogues. That must have been about the summer of 1979, forty-one years after the event. While I had known of the burning of the synagogue, and accepted it as one more crime of the twelve years of a criminal regime, the sight of the odious action on the Marktplatz somehow kindled again the anger and pain that had been dormant for so long. I realized that the dead could not be brought back, but one thing could still be done: to make sure that their memory and particularly that of Mosbach's Jewish community would not be forgotten. By then, ruins of the synagogue had long been removed and the owner of a nearby business had bought the area (that the town had taken over), and built a garage for three cars on its ground.
It seemed to be a long shot, but I thought an action could perhaps be taken to acquire the area and change it into a memorial to the suffering and death of the Jews of the town. As a matter of fact, in the 1960s, on the initiative of a teacher in Mosbach's high school, a group of young people had put a small plaque on the outside wall of the garage, mentioning the synagogue which once had stood there. I wondered if not more could be done, and on November 3rd, 1979 I wrote a long letter to the then Mayor of Mosbach, in which I first identified myself, since he surely had never even heard my name (he himself, by the way, hailed from the Sudetenland, the area Hitler had wrestled from Czechoslovakia, and he knew little about Mosbach and its history). I outlined in some detail what I had in mind. The reply was a bit lukewarm, but with the help of a professor of the University of Heidelberg I obtained a meeting with the Mayor, at which the official architect of the town was also present. (I was accompanied by a young lawyer from Heidelberg who was the son of a former employee of our Mosbach business). It was the town's architect who took a decisive role it the negotiations that followed, and who was able to tie the project I had proposed into existing plans for the urban renewal of the old part of town. For the next years, the project had its ups and downs and there were times when it seemed to go under, but in the end what I had hoped for was indeed realized, more or less as I had envisioned it. The garages were torn down and a solemn dedication of the "Synagogenplatz" was scheduled for the 9th of July, 1986, nearly seven years after I had written my first letter to the mayor.
(Program of the Ceremony of the Inauguration) That mayor, by the way, had in the meantime been replaced by a younger man who took a more active role in the undertaking. I had requested for myself the privilege of donating the plaque that was to be placed prominently on the area, chiefly to secure for myself the right to formulate its wording. This is what it says (in translation):
This place is dedicated to the memory of the Jewish citizen of Mosbach. In twelve catastrophic years they were deprived of their human dignity; driven from their homeland or transported into death-camps. Their house of worship, that stood here, was destroyed on November 10, 1938, its furnishing publicly burned on the market square. Forget it not. (The Hebrew words say: To long lasting memory).
At the dedication ceremony, the mayor and an official representative of the organization of German Jews addressed the assembled people and I said a few words, too, and the local orchestra framed the proceedings with well-chosen selections of classical music.
My contacts with the town had become very close, and I was not surprised when, two years later, the mayor asked me to come once more as the guest of the town, to be the main speaker on November 10th, 1988, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Kristallnacht. While I had spoken only briefly at the dedication of the Synagogenplatz, I felt that I should use this opportunity to reflect more coherently and at some length about the significance of this anniversary, and perhaps also, in a small way, discharge my debt as a survivor, and lift some of the burden that I, like most survivors of the Holocaust, have been carrying.
This year has been the first in a long time that I did not go to Europe. Needless to say, my previous trips had other, less private, and more professional reasons. Travel, however, is becoming more burdensome and I am less and less willing to sacrifice my domestic routines to the excitements of distant places and foreign contacts, no matter how rewarding. As far as Germany is concerned, I am also following with some apprehension the political developments there. I have the assurance of the current mayor of Mosbach, (the third in office since I began to promote the plan), that none of the new rightist trends have been noticed in my home town, and the Synagogenplatz is still, what it has been now for eight years, a fixed part of the tour of the old town, which with its many half-timber houses has actually become a well-known tourist attraction. Yet we all know that there have been signs of a revival of the vicious ideology that was responsible for the destruction of Jewish life in Germany, and the death of a great majority of German Jews. Memorials of all kinds have been established in many other towns, and as far as I can see, the awareness of the horror of the Holocaust has become greater in the younger generation; the older ones tended to suppress the thought. Of our old house in Mosbach only the rear section still stands, though much modified. The front part was torn down and replaced by what even the town's architect considers an aesthetic horror. Recognizable for me is only the main door of entrance, unchanged since the days when I would enter and exit from it daily, on my way to school or to play.
Will I ever see it again? Well, as the saying goes: time will tell.
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