The Holocaust Historiography Project
Inge’s Visit to a Jewish Doctor

Inge’s Visit to a Jewish Doctor

Inge is sick. For several days she has had a light fever and a headache. But Inge did not want to go to the doctor.

“Why go to the doctor for such a trifle?” she said again and again when her mother suggested it. Finally her mother insisted.

“March! Go to Dr. Bernstein and let him examine you!” her mother ordered.

“Why Dr. Bernstein? He is a Jew! And no real German girl goes to a Jew,” Inge replied.

Her mother laughed.

“Don’t talk nonsense! Jewish doctors are all right. They are always chattering nonsense about it at your BDM [League of German Girls] meetings. What do those girls know about it?”

Inge protested.

“Mother, you can say what you want, but you can’t slander the BDM. You should know that we BDM girls understand the Jewish question better than many of our parents. Our leader gives a short talk about the Jews nearly every week. Just recently she said: 'A German may not go to a Jewish doctor! Particularly not a German girl! Because the Jews want to destroy the German people. Many girls who went to a Jewish doctor for healing found instead sickness and shame!' That’s what our leader said, Mother. And she’s right!”

Her mother grew impatient.

“You always think you know more than the grown-ups. What you said just isn’t true. Look, Inge. I know Dr. Bernstein well. He is a fine doctor.”

“But he is a Jew! And the Jews are our deadly enemies,” Inge replied.

Now her mother became really angry.

“That’s enough, you naughty child! Go to Dr. Bernstein right now! If you don’t, I'll teach you how to obey me!”

Her mother screamed and raised her hand.

Inge did not want to be disobedient, so she went. Went to the Jewish doctor Bernstein!

Inge sits in the reception room of the Jew doctor. She has to wait a long time. She looks through the journals which are on the table. But she is most too nervous to read even a few sentences. Again and again she remembers the talk with her mother. And again and again her mind reflects on the warnings of her leader of the BDM [League of German Girls]: “A German must not consult a Jew doctor! And particularly not a German girl! Many a girl that went to a Jew doctor to be cured, found disease and disgrace!”

When Inge had entered the waiting room, she experienced an extraordinary incident. From the doctor’s consulting room she could hear the sound of crying. She heard the voice of a young girl: “Doctor, doctor leave me alone!”

Then she heard the scornful laughing of a man. And then all of a sudden it became absolutely silent. Inge had listened breathlessly.

“What may be the meaning of all this?” she asked herself and her heart was pounding. And again she thought of the warning of her leader in the BDM.

Inge was already waiting for an hour. Again she takes the journals in an endeavor to read. Then the door opens. Inge looks up. The Jew appears. She screams. In terror she drops the paper. Frightened she jumps up. Her eyes stare into the face of the Jewish doctor. And this face is the face of the devil. In the middle of this devil’s face is a huge crooked nose. Behind the spectacles two criminal eyes. And the thick lips are grinning. A grinning that expresses: “Now I got you at last, you little German girl!”

And then the Jew approaches her. His fleshy fingers stretch out after her. But now Inge has her wits. Before the Jew can grab hold of her, she hits the fat face of the Jew doctor with her hand. Then one jump to the door. Breathlessly Inge runs down the stairs. Breathlessly she escapes the Jew house.

In tears she returns home. Her mother is shocked to see her child.

“For God’s sake, Inge! What happened?”

It is a long time before the child can say anything. Finally Inge tells about her experience with the Jew-doctor. Her mother listens in horror. And when Inge finishes her story, her mother lowers her head in shame.

“Inge, I shouldn’t have sent you to a Jewish doctor. When you left I regretted it. I couldn’t relax. I wanted to call you back. I suspected suddenly that you were right. I suspected that something would happen to you. But everything came out all right, thank God!”

Her mother moans, and tries to conceal her tears.

Gradually Inge calms down. She laughs again. “Mother, you've done a lot for me. Thank you. But you have to promise me something: about the BDM … “

Her mother doesn’t let her finish.

“I know what you want to say, Inge. I promise. I'm finding that one can learn even from you children.”

Inge nods.

“You're right, Mother. We BDM girls, we know what we want, even if we are not always understood. Mother, you taught me many sayings. Today I want to give you one to learn.” And slowly and significantly Inge says:

The Devil, it was he
Who sent the Jew-doctor to Germany.
Like a devil he defiles
The German woman, Germany’s honor.

'The German people, they'll not be sound
Unless very soon the way is found
To German healing, German ways,
To German doctors in future days.