23 September 1933
Card commemorating Carl Landmann’s bar mitzvah
Paul Isidor Landmann (1881–1939) established the “Graphische Druckanstalt Paul Isidor Landmann” in Mannheim in 1907. Headquartered at Rheingoldstrasse 18-20, the company made a name for itself by producing high-quality colorful art prints for the tobacco and regional wine-making industries.
When his son Carl celebrated his bar mitzvah in Mannheim’s main synagogue on 23 September 1933, Paul Landmann came up with an idea for a special memento to mark the occasion and had it made in his printing shop: a card designed to look like the top of a cigar box featuring a photo of his son and the inscription: “In commemoration of the Barmizwoh / Carl Landmann / 23 September 1933.” In keeping with the occasion, Carl is shown in a suit and tie with neatly cut hair.
Jewish boys become “bar mitzvahs” (literally: “sons of the commandment”) when they turn thirteen. At this age they are considered religiously mature and are required to obey all the commandments in the Torah. They also read from the Torah scroll for the first time in the synagogue. Families usually celebrate this special occasion with guests, a festive meal and gifts. The Landmanns probably handed out the charming card to their guests.
In 1937, at the age of seventeen, Carl Landmann (1920–2011) immigrated to England without his parents. He took the company’s sample book with him because he wanted to try to acquire new customers. The family business was ‘Aryanized’ in 1938 and in 1939 Carl Landmann’s parents and siblings managed to flee to England as well, where his father died later that year. In 1940 the family settled in the United States. Carl Landman (he dropped one letter in his last name in his new home) continued to speak English with a Mannheim accent even as an old man.