Pre-war and wartime correspondence

Postcard: 30th May 1937

The caption reads Joyful Pentecost
The caption reads Joyful Pentecost
1937 postcard from Clara and Hedel - reverse

The postcard above is from Werner’s aunts, Clara and Hedwig Weissenberg.

Berlin Olympics postmark, 1936

English translation to follow …

Letter: 29th March 1938

Sadly, as yet we can’t work out who this is from, but will update if we find out. It sounds as though it is from a young man around Werner’s age (see update below).

Breslau_28-03-1938_page 1
Breslau_28-03-1938_page 2 and 3
Breslau_28-03-1938_page 4

Breslau, 29th March, 1938

Dear Werner,

Many thanks for the letter, which arrived so soon after my last letter. I am gradually feeling more settled and I will give you a short account of my exams. On Monday the 8th February I had class activities in the presence of the assistant master Hermann, in Chemistry. Old Dietrich has been pensioned off. As you know, I wrote three articles on colloids, acids and alkali. I didn’t do very well in the Oral. I have already written to you about that. On Friday 4th February there were 4–5 hours of Physics, Quantum Mechanics and thermodynamics at a higher and lower level. Van der Waal gases. [N.B. Van der Waal was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1910 for work on gases]. First I was tested by Scharrerkorper with easier tasks relating to mechanics, then thermodynamics, electromagnetic capacitors, self induction, sparks and optics – that is to say polarisation preparation and authentication. I failed completely on that score. That damned quarter leaflet. ^.7 hr consisted of Radon 40 minutes, geometrics + 5 minutes theory of activities and then the rest. Definitions of the normal curves, the lecture that you once skipped, various theories for example K= 0 H= 0. There was a question to answer about the function and variation of computing, which was easy. Saturday was philosophy. End.

Now I am at the grammar school in Breslau – at my own request and Vera’s I was transferred. I start on the 25th April. I hope to get an increase from the Ministry; it doesn’t have to be 60.

How are things with you? Have you completed your work for the examiner? When do you get the opportunity to register with the ministry?

Please write to me in detail about it. What are you doing in Frankfurt? If you pass this way you can look at all my work, not before then. There is nothing happening here apart from the football, which I will soon tell you about. I am having an extension to my little house. The materials for it are from my father-in-law. I think back with horror about the chess game which we had and the philosophical conversations now no longer held. Otherwise nothing has changed. Else still talks a lot and Adolar still plays chess tournaments.

And so for football: if you are not already aware of this, listen. Just as I prophesised, it really happened – Gto six times master has retired; that shouldn’t have happened. We had to have two men to replace him. The other nine belong to Elf, who were winners last year. You will remember that I already foresaw the decline last year, but I never dreamt that it would really happen. Yes, yes, ever since old W. died, it’s all over. I don’t know how Saarbrucken fared. I expect they were overall winners. There are going to be some good games for you to watch. I am not going to see any of them. The Vorwarts (first team) are playing in Gleiwitz; up to now I am not satisfied. The start was bad, but it can still improve. There is no way they will ever make the first league. That will be fortunate but I think they will make the second league. Now I have prattled on for too long. Many greetings from your


Don’t forget to write to me.

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

Update: I now have the name of this writer – Max Kaiser. I found the envelope for the following letter, which is clearly this writer, given both handwriting and the date on which it was postmarked.

Letter: 18th October 1938

Breslau_18-10-1938_page 1
Breslau_18-10-1938_page 2

Breslau_18-10-1938_page 3

Breslau_18-10-1938_page 4

Breslau, 18th October, 1938

Dear Werner

You will be cross with me that you have not heard from me for such a long time. I am a lazy correspondent, even more than before. Anyway, thank you belatedly for your friendly congratulations on my wedding. It was a great shame that you could not be with us on the day. Anyway, our wedding was very jolly. Now I am an old husband, Arthur Toczek has also congratulated us. He is, don’t laugh, happy to be a father to a little girl.* What do you say to that? After our wedding we travelled for a few days, then school began straight away and I had to teach 15 lessons. You know that as a beginner you have to work damned hard. Now you will be interested to know what lessons I have to give. I am deputy teacher for 2b and I give 3 hours of Maths lessons and 2 hours of geography. Haha. Up to now I give 3b 2 hours geography. I am standing in for another colleague who has emigrated. I don’t have to continue forever with these lessons of his. Furthermore, I teach 3 hours of Physics with 4A. One of these lessons consists of practical work, the other 2 are exercises. Optics is also offered. I have to carry on with these until Easter. Finally, I teach 5 lessons of physics to Class 5. This is quite easy for me. One hour of chemistry and 2 x 2 hours of practical physics, which are divided into sections. The aim of the lessons is electricity. At the moment I am dealing with the magnetic effects on currents. Pupils can test this. The remaining 13 hours I will carry on with until Easter. Even the Gods don’t know what will happen after then, because I am responsible for planning the timetable, as none of my other colleagues know how to do it. I have within 3 days brought the winter plan hopefully to termination. Tomorrow school starts. I am already looking forward to the complaints. But I am not changing anything, however much they shout. The main thing is that my boss and my tutor, who incidentally is female, are satisfied. That is all I have to tell you about my employment. Next time you travel home, you must stay in Breslau a bit longer so that we can have a conversation. How are things with you? You must be on the way to being an assistant teacher. When are you qualifying? Here, one trainee teacher and 3 others passed their probation. It doesn’t seem to be that difficult. I expect you will be better informed about that yourself. How did you like Berlin and what is the school like there? Did you visit Walter Bernstein? I hope to see you soon as a newly qualified teacher. There is a lot for us to talk about until then many regards

From your Max

Dear Werner

I too thank you very much for your congratulations on my wedding. I am so very sorry that you were not able to take part in our celebration. Will you be coming to Breslau? I am sure you will look in on us and we will be delighted with your visit. I hope my lines will find you in the best of health.

Best wishes Vera.

My Mother also sends you greetings.

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

* The little girl referred to here is almost certainly Neomi Nora Toczek, born 28.7.1938 in Hamburg. On 14.7.42 she was deported to Theresienstadt, and on 19.10.1944 she was deported onwards again to Auschwitz. See Artur Toczek’s page for further information on the family.

The envelope that enabled us to decipher Max’s name is shown below, with the postmark date confirming it goes with this letter.

1938_10_18_envelope front
1938_10_18_envelope reverse

Postcard: no date

Given the contents of this half postcard, which send greetings to Leopold and Else, it was clearly written before Leopold’s death in August 1941; there is also a reference to ‘finalising Werner’s business in a dignified manner’, which might refer to the extended process of getting Werner out of Dachau, from where he was released on 06 February 1939. Else’s birthday is in December – so this might have been written in December 1938, while Werner was in Dachau.

The postcard below is written by Hedel and Clara, who are sisters of Leopold – two of the ‘missing aunts’ when I started this project. Hedel refers briefly to some extreme situation about which she states that if that’s how things are, then she doesn’t want to live anymore, which would suggest that this is being written once events have started to take a turn very much for the worse. We now believe that Kurt and his family, for example, had to move from their home around this time, to the ghetto at Chrzanów – to which this might be a reference. Or it might be a reference to Werner’s imprisonment. Hopefully, some of this will become clearer as more letters and documents are translated. Only half the postcard is extant, and is reproduced below.

no date postcard_1939?_Hedel and Clara
half postcard

Dear Else,

My heartiest congratulations on your birthday and I wish you all the best for another year, health and lots of joy with Werner. Werner’s business was finalised yesterday and a dignified closure for this matter has been found yesterday. Besides we received news today and if all else fails and that’s how it is, I don’t want to live any more.

Much love to mama and Leo.

Yours Hedel.

Dear Else,

For your birthday I also send you heartiest congratulations, sound health and good luck. Have a pleasant day.

Love to you, Mama, Leo.

Yours Clara (sister-in-law)

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

Letter: 17th February 1939


From Dr R. F. Engel

70, New Cavendish Street

Harley Street, W. 1

Herr Werner Weissenberg

Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Hebelstrasse 13, 1st Floor

17th February 1939

Dear Brother*

Woburn House does not provide employment and is not able to deal with the daily receipt of 6,000 letters. It is difficult to do anything for you. I cannot make promises because I know I will not be able to keep them.

In any case, please send me 3 photos and 3 copies of your C.V., written in perfect English with a typewriter, a clean copy. I beg you also to type all further correspondence with me, as handwriting cannot be read by me considering the vast number of letters I receive, and my English secretary cannot deal with them at all. Please obtain 2 medical reports with photocopies.

I will try to obtain a trainee post for you, but it is very difficult as these positions are rarely available. I will do my best.

Dr Engel

Note from translator: * Brother – German students joined a ‘Brotherhood’; each University had different coloured caps. Jewish students were often excluded from the brotherhoods, and so started their own groups.

I now know that Werner was a member of the Kartell-Convent fraternity, University of Breslau.

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

Letter: 20th February 1939

This card from Th. Heilborn in Berlin gives Werner the address he has for Dr Arthur Bloch, one-time of Berlin, now living in Jamaica. Presumably Arthur is a distant relative of the family, and the Weissenbergs must use any avenue they can to try to get Werner out of Germany before he is arrested again.

Under the address the writer states:

Jamaica is a suburb of New York and about one and a half hours away.

Letter: 2nd March 1939



Grand Lake


Kansas City

2nd March 1939

Dear Mr Weissenberg

I have received your letter and have spent much time and effort amongst my friends and acquaintances to obtain an affidavit for you, but unfortunately without success, as everyone is concerned with their own relatives. I personally am not able to supply one as it will not be accepted from me, but in order to help you further I went to the Assistance Bureau for German Jews and spoke to several people, and in spite of being swamped with requests they will try to obtain an affidavit for you, but you will have to inform them straight away where and when you were born. It would be best if you could send a birth certificate. Can you also tell me if the eldest child of Aunt Frieda is male or female? I can’t tell you any more, as I can’t do anything further for you.

Greetings to you in the hope that I can obtain an affidavit for you.

I remain yours,

Frau F. Sack

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

Letter: 3rd March 1939

Philanthropin school, Frankfurt am Main
Philanthropin school, Frankfurt am Main

            Frankfurt am Main  3rd March, 1939

School Council


Nr 5085

Mr Werner Weissenberg

On behalf–The Director Dr Hirsch


The Jewish Community has informed us regarding your emigration that the advice centre of Jewish Aid in Germany in Gleiwitz considers that in regard to your preparations, the matter will be dealt with in Frankfurt by the Aid authorities there as that is your present place of residence.

The School Council

J. A. Felix Israel Meyering

Letter: 6th March 1939

Letter: 6th March 1939 – page one
Letter: 6th March 1939 – page two

Dr Herman Weil

1874 Commonwealth Avenue,

Boston, Mass.

March 6th 1939

Dear Mr Weissenberg,

You cannot imagine how much I thought about you during the last weeks. Hardly a day passed that my thoughts were not with you, so I was delighted when my parents informed me, a few days ago, that you were back and I was even more pleased with your letter.

Of importance – I will try to obtain an affidavit for you. I hope I will be successful. For that I need your date of birth, your present place of residence, your place and country of birth. It will take some time to complete all the formalities, so it would be best if you could provide the information by telegram. Also, I need your quota number and to which country you intend to emigrate temporarily. This isn’t just dependent on the time you will have to wait, but also the possibilities of admission and maintaining yourself. Perhaps Woburn House in London can be of assistance. Please write without fail to Director Driesen, Berlin, Chalottenberg 4 Waitzstr. 7. He has connections with Woburn House. Also write to Dr L Goldschmidt, Berlin, Grunewald Hohenzollermndamm 110. She wants to set up a branch – a school in England for the purpose of employing teachers, as she wrote to me today, to give them a chance of employment, because they can only stay for a short length of time now in this country.

Don’t forget to write all these letters. Here in the USA one has to write many letters without knowing whether they will serve any useful purpose, or whether you will even get a reply. Don’t advertise the fact that I have offered to obtain an affidavit for you. I am not in a position to help others. I have a great patron here who, in an urgent case like yours, will not say ‘no’, but we are all human beings. I can’t be a hundred per cent certain in advance. Are there any other countries that are a possibility for you?

It is good that you have started teaching again; it will be a diversion for you, and if you are not as efficient as you were before, one has to concentrate and keep clear of anything that might cause one to be depressed. You will be taking over class V1 again. There won’t be many pupils left in class V1m. In my mind, I sometimes visualise the timetable, as it decreases constantly. The times when we had to add to it are past.

We are living in Boston refugee house. We have taken over the running of it. My wife is in charge of the kitchen. I carry out organisational duties. In that way we have food and shelter for us three. Besides this I am studying at the teaching academy in Boston at the university, afternoon and evenings. I don’t have to pay, and from next week I am starting in the mornings to sit in at one of the most prestigious High Schools. Perhaps in time something will come of it; you have to have a lot of patience here. One can hardly describe it, and ‘take it easy’ is easier said than done. But what is the use? No one was waiting for us here and we have to be glad that certain opportunities are possible for us and we have enough to eat.

Now, Mr Weissenberg, all the best, keep your spirits up, everything will turn out alright and I will be glad to be of help to you.


Herman Weil

Greetings from my wife. The little chap is full of beans. All three of us had colds; the weather is awful.

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

Letter: 13th March 1939


Philanthropin Tgb.4338/8

Frankfurt am Main

Hebelstrasse 15

Fernruf: 51494

13th March 1939

Herr Werner Weissenberg was on the staff of Philanthropin from 17.8.36 until now. He gave lessons in several classes and recently taught his subjects Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics. Herr Weissenberg is extremely well educated and he takes every opportunity to impart it. He prepared his experiments with the greatest care, especially in the study of natural science and has often found new ways of conducting experiments. Thus he has shown, during his lessons, to pupils of different classes successful teaching. He dedicated his time to teaching interested pupils beyond his lesson time and has achieved much towards school development.

He has also taken part in the formulation of the school timetable for this large institution. He has also been involved in all theoretical organisations of seminars with great insight. He has also been involved enthusiastically in all sporting activities of the school and was leader of a group of gymnastic members of a school sports association.

Herr Weissenberg is a polite, helpful person, and very popular with his colleagues.

I very much hope that he will be able to use his abilities in the subjects in which he shows talent in the future.

Dr Albert Israel Hirsch

Director of Philanthropin

Letter: 26th March 1939

To Werner Weissenberg, Emigration from Germany
Herman Weil, March 1939

                                                                                    26th March, 1939

Dear Mr Weissenberg

In order to save postage I am enclosing this with a letter to my parents, who will receive it at the same time. I expect your letter clashed with mine. It is very urgent that I receive your dates, as I am leaving Boston tomorrow. I have managed to obtain the affidavit for you. It is from Dr Abraham Myerson, one of the most famous American psychiatrists. He is one of the family with whom I stayed for five weeks. He is extremely wealthy, so there is no danger of a lack of funds. The way forward is this: as soon as I receive the dates from you I will immediately write to Dr Myerson and inform him of everything. I have told him that you are my best friend from Frankfurt, so there shouldn’t be any problems. It was all arranged within three minutes. I will thank him for his approval and tell him that I have always heard about his helpfulness and mentioned it to you and that he should send you an affidavit. If you write to him, ask Goldschmidt to correct your English. Flatter him and ensure him that you will not be a burden to anyone and you will stand on your own feet as soon as you arrive. Send me a copy of your letter to Dr Myerson. The address is 33, Taylor Crossway, Brooklyn, Mass. In the meantime, the affidavit will be issued to you. The Americans love a bit of flattery. That should take care of your immediate needs in this concern. Unfortunately, I lack the time to write to you in detail, we have so many preparations for our journey to complete. It is 32 hours by train to travel to Iowa.

I will write in more detail about my impression of Iowa as soon as I get there. Don’t be cross; I honestly don’t have time today. I have told you all the important details. Don’t feel depressed in any way about the future; it will all work out in the end.

Greetings from Hermann Weil

N.B. It has occurred to me that my parents will not be in Frankfurt over Passover, so I will post this direct to you.

My present address is Iowa City, Iowa Post restante, general delivery. My parent’s address is c/o Wolf Weiler, 11 Neustadt, Kreis Marburg

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

Your brother

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

Letter: no date

From Frau Engel

No date

Dear Mr Weissenberg

My husband who is travelling has asked me to ask you when and with whom you agreed on the receipt of the local intermediate position. Do you have a reference number for the document from Frankfurt or, better still, from Berlin?

Please give us all the information that you have. Perhaps a scheme exists so that the matter can be expedited from here, but only if we have the exact dates and record details.

Best wishes

Frau Engel

Letter: 16 May 1939

Letter: 16 May, 1939

Dr Hermann Weil

288 East College St,

Iowa City

16th May, 1939

Dear Mr Weissenberg

In order to save on postage I am enclosing this with my letter to my parents. Thank you for your letter of the 7th April. I am pleased that you can now look forward to the future. You don’t need to thank me too much; it is everyone’s duty today to help in whatever way we can. My father has written today to tell me that all your preparations have been completed and you are only awaiting confirmation from state representatives to allow you to travel to England. Dr Myerson wrote a few days ago that he sent you the affidavit, but he didn’t mention whether he sent it to my father’s address or directly to England. I presume it will have been sent to Frankfurt. Please confirm the arrival of the papers. The letter to him was very well constructed and not too exaggerated. Americans love that type of style, especially if it is concerned with these matters.

Thank you very much for the timetable plan of allocation. You must think I am mad for interesting myself in that at this point. I expect you would be right. I was especially interested in the fact that ladies are teaching the Upper School, and especially that classes V to 11 are included – Biology. This will be increased if more pupils leave.

I have good news. I stood in for a chemistry teacher for two weeks. It all went well, in the upper and middle classes of the High School. As the school year is coming to an end, so is my fellowship at the end of August. I have contacted agencies for employment in High or Junior Colleges. I hope it will be successful. There is an enormous amount of paperwork involved: lists upon lists of all the university lectures and seminars; this will interest you too, term by term. It is therefore advisable to gather all this material in advance.

Did you obtain a reference from Dr Hirsch? They don’t take so much notice of reports here, but it is another case for refugees, and one has to have these in one’s possession in order to get on. I will be able to give you further advice when you are ready. Do write to me if you have any worries. I am also interested in your activities in the camp. Do you have any teaching duties? Regretfully, I haven’t heard from Miss Morgenstern, in spite of the fact that I wrote a very detailed letter to her. How long will she remain in Frankfurt?

I don’t have anything to report that is special. My wife and the little rascal are well. My wife sends her love.

I wish you all the best for your new life.


H Weil

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

Letter: nd


Reardon Hotel European

Iowa City

My new address is 228½ East College St Iowa City

Dear Mr Weissenberg

Today I received your letter and I wish to reply herewith:

  • The letter to Dr Myerson with your details, which I am sending off;
  • Dr Myerson will send the guarantee sponsorship to my father by registered post;
  • Please when you arrive in England let my father have your exact address, so that you can register the guarantee.

If anything intervenes with that, the guarantee will be in England and I don’t want that, but on the other hand, I don’t want the guarantee to be sent to Frankfurt because, if you have already left, that will cause problems with sending it on, so the above-mentioned solution is probably the best, so I ask you to act upon this advice.

After four days of great effort we have found an apartment; there are different problems to surmount that affect the heat and the child. I start work next week. It consists mainly of seminars to do various tasks at the University High School.

Now, I hope you will start on your journey soon and wish you all the best for the future.


Hermann Weil

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

Letter: 15th June 1939

15th June 1939, page one
15th June 1939, page two

                                                                                    Woodlands apt. 4c

                                                                                    Iowa City

                                                                                   15th June  1939

Dear Werner

I think we should address each other with Du, which I am herewith offering, as we are worlds apart and share a similar fate. It is to be hoped that one day we will see each other again. First many congratulations that you have managed to get away and that is actually the purpose of this letter to wish you further luck. The day will come in the future when everything will turn out all right; the path is thorny and strong. I experience that daily, as also the US is a democracy, yet there is a great deal of antisemitism in the schools. There is supposed to be a bill of rights encompassed in the constitution; it doesn’t count for anything. It is hardly credible, but true, so much antisemitism.

I have worn my fingers out writing to many teachers and agencies; one is passed from one to the other. I am too well qualified, as the education standards are much lower and those with a PhD are appointed to University posts not schools, especially a person of Jewish faith. This is particularly the case in the Mid-West. First it is the turn of the negroes, then the Jews, then the Catholics. It is humiliating, but it is a fact which has to be faced. In spite of this, the authorities are most helpful. I have been informed by the Ministry of Education of Iowa state that at the end of the summer session at the end of August, I will receive my advanced teaching certificate without having to take a test. The only course I have to complete is in American Government and the Constitution. Once I have this certificate I can teach in High Schools and Junior Colleges. It is a bit like your probationary programme. One has the certificate but no job. However, I am optimistic, I will try every possibility in contacting colleges but it is difficult. Don’t tell anyone that I have this certificate for the time being but it doesn’t give me a job. (I try every opportunity, even by getting in touch with the college.) Everyone round here in Midwest or at the university will dispute this. I hope I will soon be in a position to help you.

Now I have to do some work. I am busy with American Government studies; furthermore, I have completed a course in Maths and one in Chemistry. I am also giving private lessons in Persian. Freudo always said you need to be one hour ahead of the class. There is another advantage to this; I am constantly improving my English, especially as I have to continuously translate everything into English.

Actually it isn’t as hot at the moment as you would have expected at this time of year. I received your letter from Frankfurt, that you had travelled, and also from my father. We moved and struck lucky. We live in a large villa with a most attractive park. The Professor of Physics let us have a flat at a much lower rent. We could not afford to pay for anything of this quality otherwise and we are spending our summertime here, while waiting for the famous job.

Did you have much annoyance before your travels? Are you in a camp led by Bondy? If yes, give him my regards. Who else is there whom we know? As always I am interested in news about our Frankfurt school. Now the school will soon be exhausted. It is strange isn’t it that I can’t think of the right German word. You can be pleased that you have got away. I wish my parents were able to leave. What are your relatives doing?

Now I will finish and hope that you will write again soon. I don’t have much money but you have even less and therefore I am enclosing a reply coupon, which I received today from Frankfurt.

Write to me whether sponsorship is in England. It would be stupid if it was returned to Boston, while you weren’t there. Incidentally, where is Goldschmidt?

Best wishes also from my wife –

Hermann Weil

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

Letter: 16th June 1939

Letter: 16th June, 1939
Letter: 16th June, 1939

Frankfurt am Main

Hebelstrasse 15

16th June 1939

Dear Herr Weissenberg

We hope that you arrived safely in the camp and that you have settled down well. Today I have a request for you. I gave you, at one time, the original of your draft of the Teacher’s Certificate. I would very much like to have it for a short time to prove that our education certificate was acknowledged by the state. I would be most grateful, if you have it, if you would be kind enough to post it to me in the enclosed envelope.

There is not much that is good to report from school. Last Wednesday afternoon Mr Brooke, on his own, wanted to photograph fluorescent manifestation in the Braun Valve, and was electrocuted by the power circuit he had himself set up. He was immediately killed. You can imagine how upset we still are, even today. By chance he was found in the evening in the Physics lab.

I hope you have better news than I do. Please write soon, and many thanks.

Best wishes and kind greetings,

Albert Hirsch

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

Letter: 25th June 1939

Letter: 25 June 1939 - page one
Letter: 25 June 1939 – page one
Letter: 25 June 1939 - page

Frankfurt – 25th June, 1939

Dear colleague Weissenberg

Many thanks for your letter, which gave me much pleasure and was of great interest. Special thanks for your efforts to send the details of your exams with your usual Weissenberg punctuality. It arrived soon after your letter from Gleiwitz. What do I need it for? To serve as a testimony that the school was recognised as a legitimate seminary. Personally it is of no concern to you.

Yesterday Mr Brook was laid to rest in his home town. Mr Williams was present and Mr Lipter came from Leeds. It was a great blow for all of us but they reported the accident correctly. The timetable has to be altered for other reasons, as the number of students in each class is so small I have to combine 2 or 3 classes. Mrs Furst from the RV was here last week and advised us to do this urgently. It is a good thing that Dr [Margarete] Gump and Dr [Sophie] Steinberger are leaving so that the classes are the same size. Miss [Anna] Bohrmann may have to teach in the lower [primary] school. Mr [Herman] Freudenberger will take the place of Dr [Arthur] Galliner who is leaving in August. I gave him your message, but I haven’t heard any reply from Berlin. Poor Curt Goldschmidt has to devise a new plan in his summer holidays, as so often. H [Erich] Narewezewitz has recovered well after his operation. I visited him in hospital. He is doing OK and will start teaching Tuesday. On Thursday 7th July the summer holidays will start. I didn’t think I would still be spending them here. I can do nothing but wait. I know a leading figure in your camp, Herr Edgar Sonneberg, please give him my regards and also Herr Bergel. The building contractor Shragenheim is on the local board of governors – he must be there as well.

Best regards for today,

Albert Hirsch

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

Letter: 24 July 1939

Censor Letter_001
24 July 1939, Censor letter
24 July 1939, Censor letter, reverse
24 July 1939, Censor letter, reverse

Postcard: 31 July 1939

English translation to follow

Postcard from Albert Hirsch at Philanthropin, 1939
Postcard from Albert Hirsch at Philanthropin, 1939
Note: postmark bearing the stamp of the 1939 Berlin Olympics
Note: postmark bearing the stamp of the 1939 Berlin Olympics

Letter: 9th November 1939


English translation to follow

Letter: 18th November 1939

*Chronologically, this is the first letter written in English in my father’s collection, as Jewish refugees from Germany start to adapt to their new homelands.

Letter: 18 November 1939 – page one
Letter 18 November 1939 – page two

Letter: 26th April 1940

26th April 1940, page one
26th April 1940, page one
26th April 1940, page two
26th April 1940, page two

Letter: 27th November 1941

27th November 1941, page one
Letter: 27th November 1941, page one
27th November 1941, page two
27th November 1941, page two
27th November 1941, page three
27th November 1941, page three
27th November 1941, enclosed photograph
Letter: 27th November 1941, enclosed photograph

Letter: 5th April 1942

Zurich, 5th April 1942: page 1 From E Ettlinger
Letter, Elizabeth Ettlinger, Zurich, 5 April 1942

5th April 1942

Hofstrasse 6


Dear Mr Weissenberg

It is a long time since we heard from you and we hope that you are well. Your last letter was dated 12.12.41 and we were really shocked that you did not know of your Father’s death, as he had surely died in July. The news was remitted to you immediately, but I think that this as well as our subsequent letters will have reached you now.

Above all, I want to inform you that your Mother, who is now living with your Grandmother, is well. Recently Grandmother has been feeling quite weak. She reads now and again, but then she is somewhat exhausted. We have heard nothing from Uncle Fedor for a long time, whilst we are in regular correspondence with Uncle Kurt. Your mother’s sister-in-law finds it hard to come to terms with the loss of their dear brother. They are not really happy in their new flat, but one has to reconcile oneself to one’s life. We wish you all the best from all your friends.


Elisabeth Ettlinger

4th November 1943, page one
4th November 1943, page one
4th November 1943, page two
4th November 1943, page two

Letter: 21 November 1942

21st November 1942, page one
Letter: 21st November 1942, page one
Letter: 21st November 1942, page two
Letter: 21st November 1942, page two

Letter: 23 May 1944

23rd May 1944, page one
Letter: 23rd May 1944, page one
Letter: 23rd May 1944, page two
Letter: 23rd May 1944, page two

Letter: 2 September 1944

Letter: 2nd September 1944, page one
Letter: 2nd September 1944, page one
Letter: 2nd September 1944, page two
Letter: 2nd September 1944, page two

Letter: 26 November 1944

26 November 1944, page one
26 November 1944, page one
26 November 1944, page two
26 November 1944, page two

Letter: 20 December 1945

Letter: 20th December, 1945, page one
Letter: 20th December, 1945, page one
Letter: 20th December, 1945, page two
Letter: 20th December, 1945, page two
Cutting enclosed with letter: 20th December, 1945
Cutting enclosed with letter: 20th December, 1945