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The first descent into the Gates of Hell –Part 2
A Rabbinical Student in Berlin Prison
Thus it came to pass that my father found himself sitting behind the bars of a Nazi prison, convicted by a party-appointed judge, a mechanic and a postal inspector.
It had become impossible for my father to support himself while pursuing his studies and his activities in a Jewish community which no longer had the resources once at hand to employ such a gifted young leader. He took a break from his studies in Berlin and travelled to Zurich where he had an opportunity to tutor private students while he decided what his next step would be; he was desperate to get back to Berlin and finish his studies and perhaps because he had then held Polish citizenship it was easier for him to move in and out.
In summer of 1935 he met some acquaintances in Zurich who were also anxious to be able to continue in business to support themselves. There was a deal to be made with a woolen goods factory in Czechoslovakia but the principal seller was in Berlin; since Weinberg was planning on going back to Berlin, would he please deliver some cash there for them. After all, as a non-German , they told him, he was exempt from the strict currency controls that Treasurer Schacht had just set up and should have no trouble delivering the funds.
What my father did not realize was that at least one of the participants was himself a tool of the same Nazi regime which was using its control of the economy to grind down the Jews of Germany.
My father made the trip back to Berlin and met with the businessman who was to have received the funds. The Gestapo agents were waiting next door.