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Parental Pride

Family life in the shadow of the Nazi regime

“Helen is growing fast, looks healthy and lively and is a pretty girl. She is mentally agile and is already beginning to count, write and read.”


Wilhelm Hesse was the son of an orthodox business man. He resided in Hamburg with his wife Ruth and his two little daughters, Helen and Eva, whose early years he recorded in diaries that he kept for the children. The entries are interspersed with references to Jewish holidays and photographs of the children. In this entry, he documents proudly and in detail the progress of his daughter Helen, who is not yet five years old at this time. A lawyer with a doctorate, Hesse had been laid off already in April 1933.


on the days before