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Going to London and a holiday in Hastings


Memories of Kristallnacht
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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In addition to my memories of climbing the tree to see Hitler and the thing in the playground, I also remember the night they called Kristallnacht, the night of the broken glass, where all the Jewish shops were attacked. There was a Jewish shop in the street where we lived and they smashed the plate glass window, and they wrote, 'Jew, Jude, Jude', and the Jewish stars, what are they called? The pentagram, no, it's not a pentagram. What is that called?

[Q] Star of David.

Star of David. The Star of David. Pentagram. That comes somewhere else. The Star of David was daubed in white paint on the window. I do remember that. But, you see, that is something that they did to the Jews, and we weren't Jews. So I have this strange sense that it was the injustice of it that bothered me. You know, why do you persecute us? We're not Jews. It's that that bothered me. It wasn't the fact that a sort of general... well, I was too young for a start, you know, at 11 or 12, you don't think about the injustice of persecuting any section of the community. You think: well, why me? Because I am not a Jew!

Born in Germany, cinematographer Walter Lassally (1926-2017) was best known for his Oscar-winning work on 'Zorba the Greek'. He was greatly respected in the film industry for his ability to take the best of his work in one area and apply it to another, from mainstream to international art films to documentary. He was associated with the Free Cinema movement in the 1950s, and the British New Wave in the early 1960s. In 1987 he published his autobiography called 'Itinerant Cameraman'.

Listeners: Peter Bowen

Peter Bowen is a Canadian who came to Europe to study and never got round to heading back home. He did his undergraduate work at Carleton University (in Biology) in Ottawa, and then did graduate work at the University of Western Ontario (in Zoology). After completing his doctorate at Oxford (in the Department of Zoology), followed with a year of postdoc at the University of London, he moved to the University's newly-established Audio-Visual Centre (under the direction of Michael Clarke) where he spent four years in production (of primarily science programs) and began to teach film. In 1974 Bowden became Director of the new Audio-Visual Centre at the University of Warwick, which was then in the process of introducing film studies into the curriculum and where his interest in the academic study of film was promoted and encouraged by scholars such as Victor Perkins, Robin Wood, and Richard Dyer. In 1983, his partner and he moved to Greece, and the following year he began to teach for the University of Maryland (European Division), for which he has taught (and continues to teach) biology and film courses in Crete, Bosnia, and the Middle East.

Tags: Star of David

Duration: 1 minute, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008