Peter Gay's Memoir, My German Question

598 Words3 Pages
“Homeland is something one becomes aware of only through its loss, Gunter Grass.” In Peter Gay’s memoir, My German Question, he articulates what it was like living in Germany with the presence of the Nazis or in his own experience the lack there of. Peter lived in a family that didn’t directly practice Judaism and most German families didn’t perceive them as Jews until the Nazis defined what a Jew was to the public. The persecution of other Jewish families in Germany where far worse than what Peter experienced growing up. There was a major contrast between how Gay’s family was treated and how other Jews who actively practiced the religion in Germany were treated which played a contributing factor for why the family stayed so long before they left.
Peter Gays and his family lived under Nazi rule before it got to the point were people were being put into ghettos and shipped off in trains. They were a typical German middle class family that really had no reason to leave once Hitler and the Nazis came to power. They knew very little about whether or not they would even be under the category of Jews because they didn’t practice it. Peter gay writes, “we German Jews had to live
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For instance Gay describes the curly hair that his cousin had and how this feature would fall under the category of the Nazi propaganda of the “Jew” that spread throughout Germany. Peter’s immediate family didn’t fall under the stereotype of looking like a Jew. “Nature and my parents seem to have prepared me well for the hazards of daily life under the Nazis. I had blue eyes and a strait nose, brown hair and regular features—in short, like my parents, I did not ‘look Jewish’ (Pg. 57).” A definite factor that supported them staying in Germany was that they were not being subjected to the hardships on a day-to-day basis for being Jewish based on the fact that people wouldn’t identify them as Jews at first
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