In the summer and fall of 1936, my grandfather traveled to Germany. I have posted a couple more of his pictures below. These photos are in my family’s possession. If you download them for any purpose other than personal viewing, please contact me at email@example.com.
My grandfather’s father, Edward H. Harris, Sr., gave a speech before a newspaper publishing group in June 1936 entitled “Foreign Air Propaganda is a Threat.” Three years earlier, he specifically mentioned Adolph Hitler’s broadcast over two American radio chains in June of 1933 as an example of how “foreign nations have an opportunity to put their propaganda before the American people” through the relatively new medium of radio. E.H. Harris, Sr. spoke out against Hitler’s propaganda, and I’m sure he would have been horrified and outraged had he lived to learn of the atrocities Hitler committed.
My grandfather, Edward H. Harris, Jr., had the privilege of witnessing history in the summer of 1936. At 18 years old, he traveled to Europe and–as far as I can tell from the photos and the visa stamps on his passport–got to see the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. I can’t imagine the horror he felt only a few years later when the ultimate atrocities of Hitler’s Germany were revealed.
I purchased a book not long ago called The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn. In it, the author reflects on the impact the holocaust had on his family. He begins by telling how his older relatives would burst into tears upon seeing him, because they were reminded of his great uncle Shmiel who was killed by the Nazis. In the story of my family, Nazi Germany is a moment in history; for Daniel Mendelsohn’s family, the Nazis changed everything. I haven’t had time to finish the whole book, but what I’ve read of it is powerful.
The impact of the Nazis was horrific. May such atrocities never be repeated.