A number of weeks later, one final letter arrived from Mr. Landecker, however solely the envelope has survived. It exhibits that he was interned in block III 416/2 in Izbica, a ghetto serving as a switch level for the deportation of Jews to the Belzec and Sobibor dying camps in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Mr. Landecker, a World War I veteran and profitable accountant, had been a loving father. After his spouse, a Catholic, died in 1928, he sorted their three kids by himself. Emilie, the eldest, was 6 on the time.
The Nazis took over in 1933. Two years later, the Nuremberg legal guidelines, which institutionalized the Nazis’ race theories, stripped Jews of their citizenship rights. Around that point, Mr. Landecker did two issues that may show prescient. He made certain his kids had been baptized Catholic, like his late spouse. And he formally transferred to them his principal possessions, together with the household condominium, in order that they might not be expropriated.
But Mr. Landecker couldn’t defend his household from an environment that quickly escalated from hostile to life-threatening — a shift he chronicled in a collection of letters to his youthful daughter, who was unwell and staying along with his spouse’s sister in the Bavarian countryside on the time.
“My dear child,” he wrote in December 1938, a month after Kristallnacht had seen synagogues and Jewish houses throughout Germany vandalized and burned. “The times have changed and with them the people.”
“We fought for five years only to have an age like this,” he wrote, referring to World War I. “I hope you, my dear children, remain well-behaved and good, and keep loving me, even if you suffer because of me.”
Mr. Landecker was looking for a technique to flee Germany — maybe for the United States, the place he had a brother and sister-in-law. “Aunt Pauline has written from America,” he wrote that December. “She is trying for us, maybe things will work out.” But there wasn’t sufficient cash. Mr. Landecker was not allowed to work, which meant that Emilie, nonetheless a youngster, turned the household’s solely earner.