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Painful uncertainty

Worrying about loved ones in Germany

“The feeling of uncertainty about your personal well-being is so immense and the helplessness, regardless of all efforts, so dismal, that I really don't know what to write.”

Cleveland, Ohio/Stolzenau

Many Jews in Germany reacted to the November pogroms with despair, existential fear, and even suicide. But the situation was also highly vexing for those who had managed to flee abroad. From afar they had to watch how their synagogues went up in flames, how Jews were arrested by the thousand and locked up in concentration camps, how Jewish property was stolen or destroyed. The worst, however, was the uncertainty about the well-being of beloved relatives and the torture of not being able to help them quickly enough or at all. One of the many emigrants expressing such feelings was Erich Lipmann. In this letter from Ohio to his mother and grandmother in Lower Saxony, he describes his helplessness but also mentions efforts to get support from official places.


on the days before