Frieda's letters: 'I am wishing for a way out'

  • January 4, 2010
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Frieda (around 1938)
My grandmother, Frieda Westerfeld, age 40, in 1938
One of Frieda's letters

Trapped in Nazi Germany, my grandmother, Frieda Westerfeld, wrote letters to her family who had escaped to America and South America. Since I have written books about our family history, relatives have sent me those letters to archive. Here are a few excerpts from Frieda’s letters written between 1938-1941:

After she had sent both of her young daughters to America, she wrote in the spring of 1938: “A divided life is only half a life. I open the door and no one is there.”

In June, 1939, Frieda wrote to her relatives in South America that she was called to the passport office in Stuttgart. “We’re hoping for the best. I’m happy that my husband and I can leave together when everything is in order.

“Thank you very much for your gift of coffee. It tastes wonderful. We haven’t had anything that good in a long time.”

In the winter of 1940, she wrote again to her relatives in South America: “We are still hoping to get together with our children. No one can believe how much pain this causes.

“It is very cold here and I am wearing the brown, hand-knitted stockings that Oma Sara (her mother-in-law) made for my dear daughter. I am happy with them because they keep me much warmer than all the others.”

“I am wishing for a way out,” she wrote in January of 1941. “I have written so many begging letters. If all the relatives got together, maybe we’d have enough money to leave. Have all our dear ones read this letter. If at all possible, let them help us.”

On March 23, 1941, Frieda Kahn Westerfeld and six others were rounded up at a Jew-house and deported from the Darmstadt train station (see blog called “Memorial for my grandparents”) to Camp Biaski in Lublin, Poland. There, she was murdered.

Frieda Kahn, age 8, in 1906

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