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William Atkins @WillAtkins01
, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
A little story. Here's a photo of my grandmother, who died before I was born, napping against a stook in Essex (think it might be barley?). Or pretending to nap.
It was taken by my grandfather, who was an amateur photographer. I like her hairdo, the clasp on her canvas satchel & the old-fashioned stooks.
Then there's the newspaper she's lying on rather self-consciously. (I can imagine my grandfather arranging the paper in such a way that the headline is visible.)
It's the Daily Herald, which folded, so to speak, in 1964. I've often tried to work out what the headline says. If you zoom in you can make out the words 'Night of Terror' &, I think, 'Berlin'.
Last night I decided, for reasons you may understand, to investigate. It was very straightforward. Using those 4 search words & the newspaper's name I quickly found the front page @BNArchive (see the little figure with its arm up?).
The date is 16 August 1935, just over three years before Kristallnacht. The Nazi demagogue and founder of Der Stürmer, Julius Streicher, had visited Berlin to give an anti-Semitic speech to a crowd of 25,000. 'His arrival was the signal for a new outburst against the Jews.'
'Reuters correspondents witnessed the beating up of the occupant of a sweet shop,' the Herald's report goes on. 'After severe manhandling he was escorted away by the police in a dazed condition, his face purple and swollen from blows.'
My grandfather, I imagine (but who knows), wanted to record the historical moment in which this more intimate, peaceful & ordinary moment - his wife resting during a country stroll - occurred, sensing that it foreshadowed something.
The slight artificiality of the scene is the message, I think. Even as the barley (or whatever) is being stacked out to dry, the foundations of peace & civility can be collapsing around you.
Streicher was hanged at Nuremberg 11 years later 'for his 25 years of speaking, writing & preaching hatred of the Jews'.
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