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Eva, the youngest daughter of Hermann and Wally (Blumenthal) Lintzel, grew up in Berlin, Germany. Berlin was a highly sophisticated, cosmopolitan city. Jews were well integrated into Berlin's society and culture, and mixed marriages were not exceptional. Eva's mother, who had grown up in a religious Jewish home, married her father, a non-Jew, after meeting him at a resort. Her parents raised Eva, her brother and sister without any religion, but the children were very close to their Jewish grandmother. The family celebrated Jewish holidays at the grandmother's house. Eva's father was a prominent engineer with a major German company, and he provided a comfortable life for his family. Eva had many friends, and she loved to go bike riding, camping, sledding and skiing with her family.
All this began to change after Nazi Germany passed its "Nuremberg Laws," in 1935. Eva and her brother and sister were classified as "half-Jews." Half-Jews were supposed to have most of the rights of regular German citizens, but were limited by various regulations. Eva could no longer play with the mostly non-Jewish children in her neighborhood. She was constantly harassed with anti-Jewish propaganda, and she felt that something terrible was wrong with her because of her Jewish heritage. She was taunted and shunned.
In 1942, her fifteen-year old sister was no longer permitted to attend school because she was a half-Jew. She was required to report for hard labor. Her older brother was sent to work in the salt mines. Half-Jews were extremely vulnerable at all times. If their behavior was interpreted as being "Jewish," they could be reclassified as full Jews. That would mean deportation and death. Ten year-old Eva was sent out of the city by her parents to protect her from the air raids, food shortages, and the general hostility of the people around them. Eva's Jewish grandmother and her two young aunts were deported to death camps. Her mother, because of her status as the wife of a non-Jew and mother of half-Germans, was protected. She died, however, of poor health, in 1944. Eva returned to war-torn Berlin. Towards the end of the war, the bombings and food shortages became intolerable. But when Russian troops occupied Berlin in April 1945, thirteen year-old Eva no longer feared for her life.