WEST GERMANY: Ballad of the Small Caf

In August 1958, when 37-year-old Kurt Sumpf opened a café in the little town of Köppern near Frankfurt, he performed what was in effect a silent act of faith in the "new" democratic Germany. The son of Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution, Sumpf had chosen to return to Germany after spending most of his life in Israel.

But unlike Kurt Sumpf, many of Köppern's citizens were not willing to forget the bad old days. At school, Sumpf's ten-year-old son Peter was regularly greeted with the jeering chorus: "Jew-pig, Jew-pig." One evening soon after Sumpf's arrival, a gang of toughs led...

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