Letters as Evidence of Heroism in the Face of Mortal Danger
The fate of the six-member Jewish family Schwarzhaupt, who had moved from Munich to Konstanz in 1933, has many parallels with the story of the Holocaust. It is the story of the death of the parents during detention and in an extermination camp and the survival of their children through the farsighted actions of the parents. Saul Friedländer and Serge Klarsfeld, well-known Holocaust chroniclers, are examples of people saved from murder by the rescue actions of their parents, while their parents were unable to save themselves.
Noteworthy in the case of the Schwarzhaupt family are two points. One was the parents’ foresight, making sure their children were sent away to safe places in other countries early in 1935 and 1939, a time when the total destruction of the Jewish population was not yet apparent. Beyond that, the conviction of their detained mother, Hella, who, after the death of her ailing husband in Camp Récébédou, devoted herself even more to her children’s welfare, is aweinspiring. Even from afar and living under life-threatening circumstances, the upbringing of her underage children was the primary focus of her life
The existence of this series of about 30 letters, written under the terrible conditions of detention by an authentic contemporary witness, immediately awakened a strong urge in the author to record the life story of the Schwarzhaupt family as comprehensively as possible. The project was encouraged by Ruth Schwarzhaupt and other descendants, who very much wanted a book to be written and were happy to make their private archives available.
This book is dedicated to the memory of the heroic and courageous couple,
Hella and Albert Schwarzhaupt!
Constance, October 2013 Hans-H.Seiffert