Kleinstrass / Kester Collection

Paul Ludwig Kleinstrass was born in Wiesbaden on December 14, 1925. He and his sister Helen, born in Wiesbaden on December 12, 1923, were able to leave Germany one after another in 1938 and 1939; Helen emigrated to join relatives in the USA. Paul managed to get to Sweden on a children’s transport.

All their parents and grandmother’s attempts to leave failed. Their parents, Albert Kleinstrass (born in Bredenborn / Hoexter in Westphalia, on March 8, 1897) and Johanna (née Baum, born on August 11, 1897 in Wiesbaden) were deported first to Theresienstadt on September 1, 1942 and then to Auschwitz where they were murdered in January, 1943.

Grandmother Emilia (née Baer, born in Wiesbaden on December 5, 1876) was also protract to Theresienstadt on September 1, 1942 and died there on May 12, 1944 before her further planned deportation.

The correspondence includes letters to Paul Kleinstrass in Sweden from his parents and from his grandmother in Germany. After they had been deported they were allowed to send postcards from Theresienstadt – which are also part of the collection, Letters and postcards were censored; here and there portions of the text have been blacked out. These very personal letters portray the lives of those left behind and their vain hopes for salvation.

Paul Kleinstrass moved to the USA, living in New York and Los Angeles, and married Susanne Jeanette Luft. He changes his name to Paul L. Kester; their son, Daniel John Kester, was born in 1954.

 

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