Holocaust Teacher Resource Center

HOLOCAUST TEACHER RESOURCE CENTER
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No Way Out Letter from Gerda Schottlaender

USE WITH SEPTEMBER 1939

  • GERMANY INVADES POLAND; WORLD WAR TWO BEGINS
  • JEWS MUST TURN IN RADIOS, CAMERAS AND OTHER ELECTRICAL ITEMS
  • EVENING CURFEWS SET

September 26, 1939:
From Gerda Schottlaender
Wessig, Germany
To Margot Prinz
Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Dear Puttel [Margot] I hope that you received my last letter which I wrote a few days before the outbreak of the war. I received your letter from August 24. Thanks for sending me the pictures of your store and of Muckerle. It seems to be a new store since Martin is going to join you soon. I presume that business is good. I think of you so often and only hope that things will work out nicely for you. I miss all of you so much, but especially my Muckerle. She will be a big girl by the time. I will be able to see her again, a very painful thought.

So much has happened the last few months that I don’ t think that we will be able to leave now. None of the ocean liners are leaving any longer and the few foreign ships only take foreign money and it is also very dangerous now to go by ship.

I hope that you will receive this letter. I am enclosing a letter to the parents. Please mail it for me, because I think it’s faster and safer if you mail it. I don’t know whether Martin is with you now therefore I sent his letter to his old address in New Orleans and only in this letter a few birthday greetings. We sent a telegram to the parents for New Year and got the question back, “Could we leave if the parents deposit the money for us?” This is very touching but we cannot leave in the foreseeable future for many reasons.

I often play Muckerle’s (Miriam’s] record and think of her. We have no friends here any longer.

What do you think of Erwin’s working together with Perl and that Bondel and Hannah got married? Funny, a marriage of four—I think it might be good for him to have a businessman working with him. It’s amazing how much Erwin accomplishes—After all, he is only 23 years old. It is a blessing that he did not stay in North America. I hope you won’t have towork too hard in the store. How is your English? I am sure Martin will be able to relieve you of a lot of the work.

Now my dear Puttel, I think of you a lot. We are doing fine and I hope that you won’t worry too much about us. It’s not necessary. Lots of kisses to you and Muckerle [Miriam],
Your,
Gerda

Did you receive the blouse I gave Mutti and a blow up toy to send you?


Why did Nazis take away radios, cameras and electrical items?
[Cameras and radios provided information and documentation.]

Once the war broke out, what changed for Jews?
[Communication, travel, foreign money rates, food and goods.]

It has been said that Hitler waged two wars, a war against the world and a war against the Jews.
Which do you think was the priority? Support your view.