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A safe place for Marianne

Leo Baeck's granddaughter is sent to school in England

“I am writing to tell you that my partner Miss Martin & I will be pleased to receive your daughter Marianne as a pupil in our school.”

Westgate-on-Sea, Kent/Berlin

For many Jewish children in Germany, going to school had become an ordeal: the constant anti-Jewish indoctrination of German students was poisoning the atmosphere, teachers as the agents of this policy rarely supported the Jewish children, and the mere act of getting to school and back could be like running the gauntlet. As a result, Jewish schools began to proliferate, and those who could afford it sent their children to boarding schools abroad. When Ruth Berlak, in Berlin, received this friendly note from St. Margaret’s School in Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, informing her of the acceptance of her 13-year-old daughter, Marianne, as a pupil, little more than a month had passed since the Nazi regime had decreed the removal of Jewish children from German schools. Marianne’s maternal grandfather was Rabbi Dr. Leo Baeck, the president of the Reich Representation of Jews in Germany. Her father’s father was Leo Berlak, the chairman of the Association of Jewish Heimatvereine, clubs devoted to the maintenance of local traditions.



Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin


Letter of Leo Baeck's granddaughter, Marianne Dreyfus. Courtesy of Marianne Dreyfus.


on the days before