Family photographs

Follow the menu links to view Werner’s family photographs.

I have categorised these as best I can, given that I don’t always have much information about who is depicted. I know my dad when I see him, and I know the pictures of ElseLeopold and Hermine, because they were in our home when I was growing up, but some others I didn’t see until after my dad died, so the only information we have is what’s written on the back. Sometimes this is quite detailed; sometimes there is nothing to guide me; a few are still awaiting translation and these will be added as soon as possible.

Obviously there are relatively few such photographs outside museums and memorial exhibitions at this point – and indeed these will be going to the Wiener Library collection in due course.

Many hundreds of thousands of photographs were destroyed by the German Army when they took over private homes and businesses from 1933 onwards; others were destroyed or lost by the families who went to live in these homes and businesses that had belonged to other people. Jewish families were given perhaps three hours – but sometimes only minutes – to decide what to take with them and what to leave. As the war years progressed, they were often only allowed to leave with what they could carry in a single bag.

The last few precious family photographs taken in such knapsacks to the extermination camps were generally destroyed immediately, although after the war had ended around 2,400 were found hidden away in Auschwitz (at great personal risk to the prisoners who, realising that their people were being wiped out, had hidden them away in order to retain at least something of their lives and culture).