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November 10, 2010


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Great and moving post, Eric. Speak, Memory, indeed.

Nancy Rapoport

Very glad that you shared that with us.

Kelly Anders

This is very moving, Eric. In my Art Law classes, I have shown the compelling documentary, "The Rape of Europa," which focuses on Nazi pillaging of precious art throughout Europe, and how the world is still affected to this day. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Kelly Anders

On a separate note, I do hope the proximity of my "Sesame Street" post was not viewed as insensitive.

Orin Kerr

Thanks for posting this, Eric.


For anyone who doesn't read German, my haphazard translation follows:

Secret State Police (Gestapo)
State Police Office, Werzburg

Subject: Release of Jewish Inmate

In accordance with recently-issued guideline about the release of Jews arrested in reprisals, the release of this Jew is announced

Last and first names: M u l l e r, Leopold
Date and place of birth: 25 Feb 1889, Wertheim
Occupation: Merchant
Marital Status: Married
Nationality: RA
Religion: Isrl (Jew)
Address: Bad-Kissingen, Lower Market Street 12
Day of Arrest: 10 Nov 1938
Location: Bad-Kissingen Prisoner's Court
Day of release: 18 Nov 1938

Pia Frankel

Do you know why Leo and his wife were unable to escape?

Eric Muller

Pia, the answer to this is hard to "know," because the people who knew perished. But here's what we believe: (1) Leaving was very expensive; the Nazis imposed a variety of confiscatory fees and taxes on Jews seeking to leave. Leo's business had obviously struggled under Nazi rule, and then he was more or less forced to sell it to a non-Jew just after he got back from his Kristallnacht detention. So he very likely couldn't afford to leave. (2) Leaving would have meant abandoning his elderly mother-in-law, something he and his wife were unwilling to do. (3) Leaving required some sort of sponsor outside the country. My grandparents had a Swiss friend who helped them out, but once my grandparents were in Switzerland, unemployed and unemployable, they had no ability to help Leo and his wife find their way out. Once my grandparents got to the USA in 1941, they tried to support Leo and his wife financially, and, I believe, also tried to find a sponsor. But Leo had lost his arm fighting for Germany in World War I and was a poor candidate for an American visa (because the American government was concerned about admitting people who would become public charges).

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*An appreciation of learning, is a study in good faith.

Bill Turnier

Putting a human face on this event makes it so much more meaningful and sad. Thanks. Most of my friends and acquaintances whose families were directly impacted obviously descend from those whose ancestors or they themselves escaped. In their tales there is something triumphal. Telling the story of Leo makes the horror come to life and snaps one back to the harsh reality. Thanks again.

Michael J.Z. Mannheimer

Eric, thank you for posting this. It is critically important that the stories of both those who escaped and those who were not so lucky are not forgotten. My father, then 2 1/2, escaped with his parents to the U.S. a few months before the Kristallnacht. Fortunately, they had some family members in the U.S. who could sponsor them. My father's grandmother, like Leo and his wife, was unwilling to leave behind her elderly mother. Both women perished at Auschwitz.

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