29 May 1933
Letter from the Lübeck Israelite Community to its former president Leo Landau
Leo Landau had worked as an attorney in Lübeck for 25 years. On April 1, the very day on which SS members were posted outside his office, a district judge sent him congratulations on his twenty-fifth professional anniversary, adding that he trusted Landau would “be granted another quarter of a century in which to place your abilities in the service of your native city.” Three days later, the Landaus left Lübeck, together with their children Hans and Eva and Leo Landau’s 78-year-old mother. They were followed in October by their eldest son Gustav and his fiancée.
In September 1950, Leo Landau looked back on those fateful days: “When I (…) was saying goodbye to a few non-Jewish acquaintances, they warned me, above all my partner Dr. Roeper, against taking ‘such a hasty step.’ One nationalist government councilor asked me in private, ‘Do you really want to abandon your successful practice? Do you really think that this nonsense can go on any longer than a few weeks?’ Most of our Jewish friends also thought we had lost our heads. However, we were undeterred because we saw things as they were, as they really were. The future was to prove us right. Our quick decision saved our lives and those of our family as well as enough possessions to provide us with a modest but sufficient means to establish a new home for ourselves in Erez Israel.”
Lübeck Israelite Community
Lübeck, 29 May 1933
Herr Leo Landau,
The board of the Lübeck Israelite Community would not like to miss this opportunity, dear Doctor, to express its sincere and heartfelt thanks for your years of faithful service to this community as a member of its board and in particular over the last years as its president. You have exercised the difficult office assigned to you by the community in an exemplary fashion, placing it before your own personal interests and in the process earned the love and respect of all our members. As a result, your departure from Lübeck has been met with widespread regret. The board and the entire community hope that your absence will not be a permanent one and that the situation here will enable you to return to Lübeck in the foreseeable future and continue your work for the benefit of the community.
The accompanying letter was spontaneously composed by all community members present at the last community meeting. We hope that it will provide some indication of the esteem in which your work is held here.
We wish the very best for your family as well as happiness, inner peace and satisfaction for you. In gratitude and with the highest esteem
The Board of the Lübeck Israelite Community
(signed by Frank)
I would also personally like to wish you, dear Doctor, and your family all the very best for the future!
Yours sincerely (illegible) Frank