Eighty years ago, Jael Botsch-Fitterling’s parents decided something was very wrong in Germany, the nation they called home. Chancellor Adolf Hitler had just named himself fuhrer, and anti-Semitism was becoming national law. Her parents and other relatives packed up and fled.
Because of that move, six years later she was born in Jerusalem in what was then Palestine. When she was 7, the land beneath her feet became Israel, making her one of the original Jews in a new Jewish homeland. All because her parents had sensed in time that Germany was becoming very dangerous for Jews.
Then, in the 1950s, they trusted their instincts again and returned to Germany. Botsch-Fitterling has never left.
But today, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks in Paris, she’s been thinking about that first decision to leave – thinking about it quite a bit, in fact.
The Charlie Hebdo attacks ended in a bloodbath inside a Jewish market in Paris with four Jewish men slaughtered. And there’d been other attacks: In 2012, a so-called “lone wolf” killed three students and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France; last May, an attacker with links to the Islamic State killed four people at the entrance to the Jewish Museum in Brussels.