8 May 1933
Letter from Lili Cassel to her former nanny
The Cassel family lived in Berlin, where Lili’s father worked as a dermatologist treating patients in the middleclass district of Wilmersdorf. Soon after her birthday, the Nazis’ anti-Jewish laws began affecting her life as well. She was soon forced to leave her school in Wilmersdorf due to legislation passed on 25 April restricting the proportion of Jewish children at public schools. She spent three years at a Catholic institution before she was accepted by the Waldschule Kaliski, a private Jewish reform school.
Lili’s family emigrated to England after the November Pogrom of 1938 and continued on to the United States in 1940. In 1952 Lili married Erich Wronker, whom she had known since her childhood. Erich’s family had owned Hermann Wronker AG and run several department stores in various German cities until the company was 'Aryanized' in 1934.
In the United States Lili Wronker studied art and became a successful book illustrator. She has been affiliated with the Jewish Museum as a donor since 2000 and in 2008 served as a historical witness at a workshop held by the museum’s archive, telling young people about her life.
This time I’m going to write you a letter with pictures. I want it to be very nice. I’m going to tell you many new things—in short, you’re not going to be bored. I got great presents for my birthday. I want to show you pictures of them.
I was happy about your letter. Grandma gave me the book Deutsche Sagen [German Legends] and once again I have a lot to read. We have a new writing teacher—she’s very nice and always gives me A’s. Do you remember when you gave us this game of Quartets? I’ve drawn you a picture of Jump Rope Hannchen and Scooter Franzel. My children’s party was very nice. We invited Lore, Ruth, Ursel, Renate, Julia Maria & Irmchen. I’m sending you many kisses. Please give my regards to Ingelein & Aunt & Uncle Kahn.
Greetings from your Puttilein