Letters from Leopold

As would probably be the case in many families, a number of the pieces of correspondence from Leopold to his son are written at the base of longer letters from Else. I have therefore placed these both in Else’s section and here in Leopold’s section, to enable an overview of grandfather’s extant writings.

Letter: Tost, 30 May 1936, added note

Leopold Weissenberg 30_05_1936

Tost, 30th May 1936

Heartiest congratulations from me also, and I am glad that at last you have got it over with. In spite of my retirement I was nevertheless worried. You can tell us all the details when you get home. Your winter sweater, you can place into the box, that way you will have less to carry. A healthy au revoir.

Lots of love,


(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)

Else and Leopold’s letter, below, is clearly responding to news of Werner’s release from Dachau.

Letter: Gleiwitz, 6th February 1939, added note


Gleiwitz, 6th February 1939

My dear boy,

We received your telegram at 9 o’clock in the evening; it was very welcome. The first shock at receiving a telegram rapidly changed into delight. My heart sounded like a hammer and my hands trembled with excitement – boy, my boy – what weeks they were! After receiving your next detailed news there will be more information. These lines are only intended as a first communication. We hope that in the meantime you arrived safely in Frankfurt. Father will take the letter to the post office.

Much love and kisses

From your Mother.

Also greetings from Grandma who is lying in bed. Did you receive my last letter of the 2nd and the money? Enjoy your freedom and write in detail soon.

Your Father

(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)

Letter: Gleiwitz, 8th February 1939, added note


Gleiwitz, 8th February 1939

Please be kind and acknowledge the receipt of this letter dear Werner. Praise be to God that the time has finally come.

Much love,


(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)

Letter: Gleiwitz, 6th April 1939, added note 


Gleiwitz, 6th April 1939

My dear Werner

I was very pleased with your letter and read it at least three times. I was right to say in my letter to you that God will always be there for you. Anyway, I wish you much luck and lots of love –

From your Father

Letter: Gleiwitz, 27th July 1939, added note

Letter: 27th July 1939 - page 2

Gleiwitz, 27th July, 1939

At last I am home. They were very strenuous weeks for me. How glad I am to be outside. I am on tenterhooks to hear your news.

Your loving father

(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)

Letter: Gleiwitz, 12th August 1939

12th August 1939, page one
12th August 1939, page two

                                                                                                                                                Gleiwitz, 12th August 1939

My Dear Werner,

I have just read in the Jewish Paper that the school has opened a branch in England and I am enclosing the extract for you. Have you written to Berlin about this and have you received a reply?

Mother has just retired for her afternoon sleep, as has Grandmother. I went to work this week on Tuesday and Wednesday and returned on Wednesday at 4pm with pain in my heart and thought that was the end. The imprisonment probably provided me with the last rest; in spite of this, I will start again on Monday. I don’t know whether I will be able to keep it up. Did someone called Levisohn give you greetings from me? I worked with him and also with Neulander and Rosenthal. It is a great shame that you were not able to speak to the Bujaks, they were pleasant, kind people; unfortunately the authorities released me too late to be able to converse with them. Now I know nothing about life, as we don’t go anywhere.

Write very soon and in detail.

Much love from Grandma, Mother and me –

Your loving Father.

Enclosed – newspaper article and reply coupon.

(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)

Letter: Gleiwitz, 5th February 1940, added note

Gl 05 02 1940 side two

Gleiwitz, 5th February 1940

My dear Werner,

My heartiest congratulations and all the best.

I hope we all receive some sign of life from you.

Celebrate your birthday joyfully.

From your loving Father

(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)

Letter: 24th April 1940

Zurich, 24th April 1940 From Leopold

Zurich, 24th April 1940



Pestalozzistrasse 35

Werner Weissenberg

Kitchener Camp

Richborough Kent nr Sandwich

Dear Werner,

Your letter of the 22nd February arrived soon after that of the 17th March, so we had the pleasant surprise of two lots of news in a short space of time. I have left myself more time for replying to the last letter than usual, partly because of lack of time, partly because I didn’t feel like writing. As for that, you can imagine my delight, when the latter arrived, at seeing your handwriting.

To be sure, I would have loved to see you personally now we have Passover, or at least more chance of that. Because this is impossible the Festival spirit is too short, but you probably won’t miss what you never had abroad. This morning the last two letters from the Aunts came back. They were delighted with them and send you greetings. Aunt H. received, after a year’s silence, a card from her doctor. She was so pleased with it she is replying by Airmail. From the 12th to the 13th Aunt Friede was here. She travelled back via B., and she had hardly arrived on the street when she found that the only recently recovered roof, would be lost to her again. The family is living with Miss Ebel in the house of Nebel, in a room on the 3rd floor. The rest of the furniture is partly on the floor and partly with Mrs Adler.

Uncle Kurt will try to come here. From the Philanthropin, Dr Henry Phillips has died. After a space of a year a serious illness befell him, so it is said. He was employed there for ten years. I don’t have any other news to write but I must tell you that Ruth has said she would rather spend the day cooking and baking, and Ilse added that she would like to be a Professor. It is very much unlikely that her wish will be granted. The child is most studious and wants to emulate her “Ideal”. Do you have Spring? Fourteen days ago we still had the heating on. Now it is 23 degrees in the shade. Our water and gas is functioning again; that’s the main thing.

Many regards and best wishes.

Your Leopold

(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)

For more information on the death of Henry Philipp, referred to in Leopold’s letter above, please see the link below, under the heading ‘Philanthropin School’ (extracted here – see highlight in the Guide to the Papers of Albert F):


Albert F. Hirsch Collection; AR 1187; Leo Baeck Institute; linked to with the kind permission of the Leo Baeck Institute.

Letter: 22 May 1940

German original to follow

To Werner Weissenberg

Kitchener Camp,

Richborough/Kent, nr Sandwich

Dear Werner!

Thank you very much for your letter of 6 May, which I received 2 days ago.

You should know above all that we are all reasonably healthy.

On Sunday, 19 May, I had to accept Uncle Kurt’s farewells because he is to be moved away [unbekannt verzogen – moved to an unknown destination] with his family.

Now we wait with tension/stress for the first message from the folks.

Of your well-known uncle, who lived there a little earlier, writing something, quite satisfied, we dare therefore probably expect a similar to ours.

Bertl S. also came to the farewell for just over an hour; in about fourteen days they will take away her mother and sister.

Hannele has become a large, strapping girl, while Ilse is the next biggest, but slim, with a fine face.

Incidentally, it poured in streams at Sunday’s farewell in Stromen, like a year ago on that memorable day when we also made our farewell.

So insanely fast the time goes.

Will we see each other again?

You know, when the year was nearly by, I caught the longing/yearning becoming great inside myself, and now I must resign myself to the aimlessness/purposelessness of such.

Today is also uncle Fodor’s birthday; Betty had just one short message, that she was fine.

Heinz and Margot have also nothing to complain about; they have for weeks not been in contact; we know of them only indirectly.

The aunts are well and busy as ever and aunt Hedel particularly complains very much when nothing comes from you.

Only be healthy.

There I must leave you, dear boy, with affectionate sincere greetings.

Oh yes, from Else W. I also had another letter; it gives me very warm greetings.

So, good luck,

Your Leopold

(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)