Letters: 1938-1946;
“We live in the hope that we will be able to embrace you once again.”

During the years of the Holocaust, as avenues of escape from Nazi persecution in Germany and occupied Europe disappeared, many European families found themselves separated -- on one side were family members safely living in the United States or England – on the other side, family and friends subject to ever increasing dangers were living under Nazi rule and the threat of extermination.

“So, that’s how things are here,
it’s impossible to remain here.”

Communication was difficult. Letters were delayed; letters were opened by censors on both sides; and later, letters were returned to the sender. Delays meant that letters crossed each other, and family members on both sides waited anxiously for word -- word about the safety and well being of their loved ones; word about the prospects for visas, boat tickets, and the means to escape Nazi-ruled Europe.

The Letters of the Becker Family

becker postcard
“Please use all of your resources, we are begging you.”

These letters were the only means of contact between parents and children, husbands and wives, friends and relatives who had been cruelly divided. As time passed and the hope of rescue grew remote, the letter writers continued to reach out to those they loved through their letters and postcards. Those in Europe, while anxious about their future, often sought to allay their loved ones’ fears. Those helplessly waiting in safety for news wrote and tried to reassure those in danger.

The Letters of Hilde Prager Silberberg

hilde prager
“In the meantime, I beg you again and again, do not lose courage, and support one another as well as you possibly can. Remember, things can't go on like this forever.”

The lettersin this exhibit are those written by family and friends in Nazi-occupied Europe. The letters sent to them are lost. Selected from collections of the Tauber Holocaust Library archives, they provide an intimate view into the events of those years. Each letter is just one small part of a true story of real men, women and children trapped by dangerous events in a terrible time. The love, anguish, persistence, courage and heartbreak they express are a testament to each individual, the lives they led and those they lost.

The Letters of Leo Oppenheim

oppenheim letter
The letters of Hans Esberg

esberg letter
Letters sent to Harry Goodman

goodman letter