Childhood Years - A Narrow Escape
The story of how I came to England goes back to November 1935. That was the time of my father’s first attempts to make the family in England aware of the coming danger in Nazi Germany. He travelled to London to seek help for his children and the family’s reaction is best explained in his letter to Oma Ermann, my maternal grandmother, who had come to live with us after my mother’s death in 1932.
I have received your letter and the dear children’s and was very pleased with them. Today I went with Betty to see a school run by the friends but on the whole, I have not made much progress. The whole business depends on Falk and I do not have the impression he will do much. This means that nothing will come of the affair. However, I cannot say this with certainty but I believe it to be so. The others take away with one hand what they have given before with the other. They lack the interest and understanding and everyone has his own problems on his mind.
Sydney has left Hilda and the divorce us affecting everyone’s mood. In short, I am far less optimistic and shall clarify the situation in the next few days so that I know whether it is a yes or a no. Uncle Max thinks that something must be done in an emergency. Nobody wants to be committed long-term. As said, I must get to the bottom of it all and if there are no delays, I shall leave on Sunday. If I cannot move these people, I must find some other way of seeing to the children’s immediate future. I shall also be writing to Herr Bauer that I intend to ring him from Cologne if he is there. Betty and Max are out today. I send you and the children warm greetings.
I hear that Phyllis phoned Betty and Betty had the impression that Falk would only help the boy. He considers this more important than helping Lore. If nothing else, I must be content with that. I shall see Sydney to speak with him once again. Tonight I am at Eileen’s. Then I shall know where I stand and want to leave Sunday/Monday. In any event I shall go and see Herr Bauer to talk to him.
The children have written very nicely
Lore explains her family connections in England:
My father returned home anxious to find help for his children. My grandmother and he tried to find contacts in the States and even thought of a proxy marriage for me in America, which some people saw as a last resort and a way out. I remember saying ‘no way’ would I do such a thing. In the end Kristallnacht moved the family in England to agree to have me over after my father phoned and said ‘it is now or never.’
Click here to read the correspondence between Fritz Jacobi and Eileen and Nathanial Levitt, which made it possible for Lore to come to England