The pre-war era
Some of the photographs below are in the form of a short slideshow, in order to display the information given on the back of the photograph. Where there is no reverse-side information, the photograph can be clicked on to enlarge it.
Note: the inscriptions on the backs of all the photographs are currently being translated: this is being updated as the translations arrive here.
Slideshow: Students in classroom – 1927
Werner is on the left of the photograph, half hidden, at the back
Slideshow: Students – 1930/31
In ‘Students – 1930/31’, Werner is on the right-hand side of the picture, leaning across the young woman next to him. He must be about 19 years old here; given the caption, this was presumably taken while Werner was at the university of Breslau.
Slideshow: Dance students – 7th February 1931
In ‘Dance students – 7th February 1931’, Werner is second row down from the back, three people in on the left, leaning towards a young woman who is often in photographs with him. I’d love to know who the young man is in the front row, second from the left, leaning back. We have a photograph of him on his own, here, but I don’t know whether he is a family member or a friend of my dad’s. I have a feeling he might be family, given the context of some of the pictures, but I can’t think who he’d be.
Slideshow: Obernigk, 12 July 1931
Malgosia and her friends and colleagues have so kindly deciphered the place name on the reverse of this photograph – Obernigk. Werner is standing on the far left of what I assume is a family picture. Is that the same young man from the photograph above who is standing next to him here? Or are they part of the same family, at least? And who is the older gentleman at the far right? Kurt and Fedor would only be in their forties at this time, and the girls seem to be the wrong age for my dad’s cousins – so I’m drawing a blank all round; it is making me wonder if I’ve missed a branch of the family somewhere – and I’m assuming it’s family, because a number of the faces are repeated across the photographs.
Slideshow: Zobten, 26 July 1931
In ‘Zobten – 26 July 1931’, Werner is second row down, on the left, again next to the same young woman we see in many of the group pictures. Given the date, I’m assuming this is Werner’s first year at Breslau. Are these university ‘colours’ caps, or Kartell caps? I have no idea, but hope to find out more. Once again, Malgosia was able to decipher the place name of Zobten for me – I’d be lost without her help with so much of this.
Photograph (click to enlarge): A walking party, early 1930s
So does anyone know this ‘Walking Party’ location? Werner is centre back: I’m guessing this was taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Malgosia tells me that the striped doorway in the background denotes a military establishment of some sort and she has given me a couple of location suggestions that I intend to follow up.
In my father’s collection of documents and photographs are dozens and dozens of mainly postwar postcards – most of which depict mountainous regions. Many are black and white pictures; some are early colour photographs; a few depict the trend-setter beach locations of the 1960s – he loved swimming and would swim in almost any water – however cold! I will get these uploaded as soon as I can; it’s possible that they will depict some of the places mentioned here. After the war, he certainly seems to have sought out similar mountainous and woodland locations in which to holiday.
Photograph (click to enlarge): A family group, early 1930s
Werner is seated, on the right of the photograph.
Photograph (click to enlarge): A college party, early 1930s
I’m guessing this depicts a college party, or his dance class. Werner is on the right of the photograph, in the middle row, next to the young gentleman in glasses. You can only see the top half of his face. Front right, seated on the chair, is again this young man that I can’t identify. It puzzles me because he is so often in the photographs with Werner, yet from what I know of the family history so far, there isn’t a man of this kind of age … am I missing someone?
Photograph: Werner Weissenberg – University of Breslau, 1930s
This photograph shows my father in his cap from the University of Breslau. The ribbon you can see across his chest was in the same colour/pattern – a photograph of the ribbon, which we still have at home, is on the university page.
Photograph: Werner 1930s (?)
We have only recently found this photograph – it was in the form of a negative and our new scanner was able to transfer it into this image. I have been trying to work out when/where it was taken, but I really don’t know whether it was pre- or post-war, England or Germany.
Photograph (click to enlarge): Werner, 1930s
I’m assuming these were taken a little later into the 1930s – perhaps for Werner’s teaching application and then his exit visa? His signature is visible on the one on the right, which would seem to have been taken a little later.
Photograph: the staff of Philanthropin school, Frankfurt am Main, 1937
This photograph provided an all-too-rare moment of ‘connection’. My main translator, Helga Brown, mentioned a book about Philanthropin school, and I managed to get hold of a copy. This photograph, which I found in my dad’s files, is also reproduced in that book, in which my father’s name is listed among the names of all the other staff members. Online, I had also found a copy of this photograph at the website (see the Leo Baeck Institute, https://archive.org/stream/albertfhirschf005#page/n11/mode/1up) that holds the papers of Albert F. Hirsch, the headmaster of the school at the time when Werner was teaching there. Herr Hirsch wrote the book, so all the pictures that appear in the book are held in this online resource. It is reassuring, somehow, to get these confirmations and affirmations of Werner’s life in pre-war Germany.
Photograph: May 1938
Photograph: 1939 – Werner at Kitchener Camp, Sandwich, Kent, UK