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This marked the first major territorial expansion for Germany in the run-up to World War Two. They became subject to the hundreds of regulations and decrees already affecting those in Germany and which continued to grow. The legislation radically limited where they could work or study, what they could own, who they could marry and even where they could live and go. The aim was to deprive Jewish people of their rights, to the point that they did not qualify as citizens. He later described to me watching Jewish people in Vienna being humiliated by being forced to perform tasks such as scrubbing the streets.

Many synagogues and Jewish shops were destroyed in his neighbourhood on Kristallnacht or Night of the Broken Glass in November This period of violence, orchestrated by the Nazi authorities, also marked an uptick in the arbitrary arrests of Jews. Many inmates were sent from there to concentration camps.


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The rest, a lucky but scarred , or so, managed to escape the country before the war started in September Hedwig would be among those, and the first in her immediate family to make it out. But this is where the record went quiet because neither Hedwig nor Kurt spoke much about their experiences from that time.

Following their deaths in and respectively, I had resigned myself to the fact that the circumstances of their escapes to the UK would remain a mystery.

But it turns out that Hedwig had kept a detailed record of this terrible time in the form of letters that, until earlier this year, only she and Kurt had known to exist. I wanted to help an Austrian historian Dr Friedrich Polleross, who had once interviewed surviving family members for a book.

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He needed photography to illustrate his new book that focused on the vanished Jewish families of the Waldviertel. Then beneath where the album had lain, the lid of a battered s-style white and gold chocolate box that I had never seen before caught my eye.


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I lifted the lid carefully to find yellowing letters written in unfamiliar and impenetrable handwriting, packed inside haphazardly. Sifting through the letters that were mostly addressed to Hedwig and from the s to s, I could make out that many were signed Kurti and were dated between March and July Impatient to reveal their secrets, I set about finding someone to transcribe them that week. Once the transcriber got to work- feeding small batches of letters back to me over the course of a few frustrating weeks - the touching, nerve-wracking and troubling story began to take shape.

Instead, he tries to console her. It soon became apparent that for some weeks or months before Hedwig left, Kurt had been enrolled at a weekly boarding school in Vienna. His contemporaries with three or four Jewish grandparents were considered fully Jewish, whether they identified as such or not, and had been thrown out of mainstream education.

My father thought he could convince Hitler against the extermination of jews, says Wächter’s son

As the letter transcripts arrived in order, I started to appreciate that Hedwig must have weighed certain factors when deciding whether to leave, and her decision was not as cold-hearted as it first appeared. There were some safeguards in place for Kurt. But later letters reveal that the teenager was able to spend some time not dwelling on his predicament.

But the safeguards were not going to last, with dire consequences as the next batch of letters would reveal. Kurt hated his school and not just because of the slop he complained of being served at mealtimes. He reminded Hedwig constantly not to address any letters to the school, but his precautions were in vain. Otti offered Kurt a refuge from his troubles on weekends, and subject to the success of her own attempts to escape, offered a solution to the increasingly pressing problem that the school would be closing for summer, leaving Kurt without accommodation.

Around that time, Kurt reports that his father demanded that he break off contact with his mother or face consequences - a demand made when or perhaps because mother and son were highly vulnerable.

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When Kurt rejected the demand his father's anger was such that he told Kurt never to contact him again. It appears that my grandfather was now taking his anger to new levels and giving vent to his anti-Semitism. Kurt tells Hedwig that he cannot approach his uncles for help because he fears for their safety even more, presumably because unlike Otti they had Jewish spouses.

With nowhere to turn and dwindling financial reserves that also meant his clothes were disintegrating, Kurt writes on 24 May that he would be seeking out a park bench to sleep on. So why did she seem to urge Kurt continually to try to see his father in the face of evidence of intimidation and rejection?

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If there was a plan, it was to try everything and anything to extract Kurt. From the beginning of her exile, Hedwig had been trying to get him a work-based visa and the kind of financial sponsorship necessary for this, or a place on a Kindertransport as her dependant. She was arguably better placed to do this when based in the UK. But it must have been exceedingly difficult with a full-time job, living in rural isolation and not speaking a word of English. However, it was two months and many anxious letters before a possible candidate, a farm, would be found. Paul Lazarus Stiftung.

History Today. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Meine deutsche Familie" [The Jew with the Swastika. My German Family. Archived from the original on September 8, Deutsche Juristen im amerikanischen Exil — in German. Retrieved 21 March Berlin : Trafo-Verlag.

Table of Contents

Lebendiges Museum Online. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Languages Add links. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Feldrabbiner in the German Army, president of the Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden , survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp [11]. German lawyer and World War I veteran [13]. Feldrabbiner in the German Army [14]. Member of the German Reichstag , killed in action [1].

Leutnant , Father of Anne Frank [15]. Feldrabbiner in the German Army, murdered at Auschwitz concentration camp [8]. Leutnant , Adolf Hitler 's superior officer in who nominated the latter for the Iron Cross [6]. Feldrabbiner in the German Army [17]. Feldrabbiner in the German Army, murdered at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Awarded the Iron Cross at Fort Souville, was later killed in action with the 3. Feldrabbiner in the German Army [8]. Julius Marx. Leutnant , had his war diaries published in [2].

Derniers numéros

Feldrabbiner in the German Army, opened a Jewish school in occupied Kowno during the war [19]. Leutnant , Fighter pilot in World War I [16]. Fighter pilot in World War I [16].


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