Letter : Paper : Typewritten : Ink : Beige, black, red ; Ht: 28 cm x W: 21,5 cm
Other Title Information
August 25, 1944
Letter creased horizontally and vertically, two holes punched on left edge, American Red cross letterhead. From the American Red Cross to Mr. Siegfried Loeb. Forwarding information regarding an inquiry made in March 1943 at the International Red Cross Committee, Geneva, Switzerland about Helmut Isselbacher, Brussels. Narrative: Isaac Herbert Isselbacher was born 1919-11-20 in Isselbach, Germany. His brother was Helmut Isselbacher, born 1921-12-20. Their father was Jacob Isselbacher, born 1883-08-05. They had an uncle and aunt, David and Betty Loewenstein, who lived in New York City with their two children. Isaac left Germany on 1939-07-29, hoping to join his relatives in NYC. He only had the time to get to London, England before the war broke out and started working in a factory. He was arrested at his workplace as an ‘enemy alien’ and sent to Canada for internment in 1940. Isaac was interned in Camp N in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He was drafted into the Works Program Division for woodworking and net-making. In 1940, he received a last letter from his parents which suggested their imminent deportation. After his release, circa November 1942, Isaac worked as a locksmith. He married Fanny Azeff on 1943-12-26 at the Bnai Jacob synagogue in Montreal. Fanny was born on 1921-12-23 in Canada, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Azeff. Isaac was naturalized as a Canadian citizen on 1946-06-08. Fanny was naturalized on 1946-08-30 (she had lost her citizenship by marrying Isaac). Isaac’s brother, Helmut Isselbacher, was deported with Transport XXII A from Dossin casern in Mechelen (Malines), Belgium to Auschwitz Birkenau, Poland on 1943-09-20. Of the 2,450 people on the transport, 100 men were selected to work –including Helmut- and the remainder prisoners were gassed. Helmut was made to work as a welder, and was soon fitting new pipes for the gas chamber. He suffered a nervous breakdown as a result. As he was a valued welder, he was transferred to a labour camp in Upper Silesia (Poland) where he remained for two years. As the Russian army advanced, the 6,000 prisoners of this camp were evacuated by train. Helmut remembered being forced to march as the other prisoners died from exhaustion. When liberation was announced, the survivors travelled by ship from Luebeck, Germany, to Sweden with the aid of the Red Cross. After recovery, Helmut decided to remain in Sweden as a welder. Upon learning of his brother’s survival, Helmut travelled to New York in April 1946 to meet with him and their Loewenstein relatives. Afterwards, Helmut travelled to Canada bringing with him a washing machine and bras as late wedding presents for his brother and Fanny. By 1946-08-12, their parents were presumed dead and the two sons inquired into their estate. They received a deed for the land and travelled to the estate to discover that the current owner of their house was their old maid and her son had become the town mayor. Various disputes arose with the current ‘owners’ who believed the Isselbacher family dead. Isaac wished to discuss a settlement, but the mayor’s mother –not realizing Fanny understood German- called the neighbours at work to warn them not to come home as the Isselbacher sons had resurfaced. Payment for the land had reportedly been sent to Israel, though no documentation could be provided.