Northern Hills Synagogue-Congregation B'nai Avraham logo NHS-CBA building exterior


10:15 AM

"Living Under the Swastika"

Guest Speaker: Sonja Stratman

Sisterhood and Mens Club held a joint program on Sunday, March 1 at 10:45 A.M. Our guest speaker was Sonja Stratman, who talked about her early childhood in Nazi Germany in "Living Under the Swastika."  Sisterhood held a board meeting preceding the event.

Sonja enlightened us with her viewpoint as a non-Jew living in Nuremberg, Germany during WWII. She was born in 1927, and Hitler became Chancellor in 1933. Even though her parent hated Hitler, they urged her to go along with Nazi policies because they feared that if she knew the truth, she would let it slip and expose them. She joined the Hitler Youth and participated in sports. Her mother was forced to work in a factory, and her father was sent to Norway to procure food shipments for the Reich. Eventually, her father told her the truth when she turned 14. In 1945, Nuremberg was destroyed by Allied fire bombing, and her father told her to learn English.

She got a job as secretary at the Nuremberg Trials, then moved to the USA in 1952. She met and married her husband David, who was an optician at Davis Optical in Roselawn. She never talked about her experiences in the war until 2003, when a visit from an old friend triggered her memories of Nazi songs.

After her talk, several congregants asked her questions about her life.

Photography by Gayna Bassin.

Click here to watch Sonja's video on YouTube!


Sisterhood Co-Presidents Judy Workman and Royal Duncan.

Royal Duncan, David and Sonja Stratmen.

Sonja Stratmen.

Sonja Stratmen.

Jeff Bassin asked a question.

Oded Zmora asked a question.

Royal Duncan thanked Sonja for her fascinating talk.

Henry Fenichel, a Holocaust survivor, is friends with Sonja and David.

Everyone was so grateful for the opportunity to hear Sonja speak.


Home  |  About Us  |  PrayingLearning  | Doing |  Giving | Calendar | Contact Us | Facebook logo

Copyright © 2019 by Northern Hills Synagogue. All rights reserved.
Please send comments or suggestions to the