Letter from Paul and Sophie Berliner
to their son Gert in Sweden
On 6 November 1941, Paul and Sophie Berliner wrote a letter to their son, Gert, who was living in Stockholm. A letter full of concern and uncertainty. A letter that unsparingly reveals the parents’ situation, but whose words have quite clearly been heavily censored. The context of the censoring is explicit: Two weeks before the letter was written, the first deportation of Jews from Berlin had taken place and in all likelihood, Paul (1886–1943) and Sophie Berliner (1893–1943) were on the list. "As long as we are still here, we will write to you every third day." Nine days later, they were able to give their son the all-clear for the time being.
Shortly before the Second World War broke out, the Berliners had sent their 15-year-old son to Sweden on a children’s transport. This saved his life. They were able to stay in contact by letter over the following months and years, since Sweden was not involved in the war. The last note from Paul and Sophie Berliner was in February 1943.
Gert Berliner did not hear of his parents’ fate for some time. A postcard with an addressed reply card that he himself had sent to Theresienstadt in April 1944 was returned to him with the endorsement "Only standard mail permitted." Paul and Sophie Berliner had already been deported the previous year, in May 1943, from Berlin to Auschwitz where they had been murdered.
Letter from Paul and Sophie Berliner to their son Gert in Sweden
Berlin, 6 November 1941
Ink on paper
29 x 20,5 cm