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  • Writer's pictureHarry Sassoon

Journey to the End - 29 November 1941

Life for Jews in Germany wasn't always bad but it's been heavily tainted by the events of The Holocaust. I'd like to talk about two of my ancestors. On the left of this photo is Anna, and on the right is Margarete. The photo was taken on 26 June 1934 in Brelsau Germany at the wedding of their children, Steffi and Hans. Each of them are pictured to their new son/daughter-in-law. Both Anna and Margarete saw themselves as German first and Jewish second.

My grandma was unfortunately too little to remember her grandmas. Anna sent a very long letter to my grandma in July 1939 for her first birthday. It was quite clear from that letter that she knew she and my grandma would never meet again, and heartbreaking to read. One of the extracts she said, translated into English from German: "And then you flew away with Mummy – to meet up with your Daddy again, and hopefully to a better future. Yes, I am writing to you, my beloved child in the hope that it will awaken a small memory of your Grandma, who you must not picture as an old honorable grandmother with parted, white hair, glasses and a cane; I have a much different appearance: dark brown hair, no glasses, and, thank God, no cane."

I don't know too much about what life was like after that letter, but we do now know what happened to both Anna and Margarete. On 25 November 1941, they were both taken by train for 4 days from Breslau, Germany. They arrived in Kaunas, Lithuania on 29th November, were forced to walk from the station with everyone else, some from Vienna and others Breslia, to The Ninth Fort. On that day, 693 men, 1,155 women and 152 children were all shot to death by the Nazis, including my two great-great-grandmothers pictured here.

We like to think that perhaps the grandmothers comforted one another, but the reality is that we will never know for sure.

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