Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Letter by German Jewish POW Willibald Hoffmann (who fought in the Wehrmacht) Sent from POW Camp McCain (Mississippi) to Rabbi Dr. Max Koppel [WITH] Stunden der Andacht (Hours of Devotion-added) [INSCRIBED by RABBI KOPPEL]

Camp McCain: n/a, 1943. Original document. Loose leaf. Original one page letter (11 x 8 1/2") in original POW Camp envelop (4 x 6"). Handwritten letter by Willibald Hoffmann, a Jewish soldier in the army of Nazi Germany who was taken prisoner and held in the POW Camp McCain in Mississippi, USA. Written on the official US POW mail-form of the camp, dated September 13, 1943, signed Willibald Hoffmann, plus postmarked official envelope with "Prisoner Of War" printed on front, and US Censor stamps (examined by 763) on front and back. Prisoner of War Camp stamp, dated 13th of September 1943 on back. With signed English translation of the original letter attached.

There were thousands of men of Jewish descent (Mischling) and hundreds more of what the Nazis called "full Jew" serving in the army while their families were exterminated at the same time, causing psychological trauma for most of them while keeping it a secret for the rest of their lives.

The American author Bryan Mark Rigg has documented the Jewish ancestry of more than 1,200 of Hitler's soldiers, including two field marshals and ten generals, some of whom were awarded the Knight's Cross, Nazi Germany's highest military honor. Hitler himself had signed declarations that these soldiers were of German blood. These soldiers often believed that they were helping to save the lives of Jewish relatives. "Many while they were fighting, their parents were being deported anyway." (Rigg). Some 2,300 relatives of a group of 1,000 soldiers documented by Riggs were killed by the Nazis. (See Bryan Mark Rigg, "Lives of Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: Untold Tales of Men of Jewish Descent Who Fought for the Third Reich. University Press of Kansas, 2009)

Hoffmann in his letter, September 13, 1943, to Rabbi Max Koppel writes:

"Dear Doctor, You'll be astonished by my lines, because I've lost every connection to my relatives, who, as far as I know, are now in America. That is why I am approaching you confidentially with the request to help me in this matter. My father's name is Samuel Felix and comes from Austria-Hungary, where we owned a large dye and weaving factory. My father has lived last in Cologne at the Rhine where he owned a textile wholesale. Due to his Jewish faith the events in Germany forced him to flee. I myself took on another name. Maybe I could ask you to visit me here or to send a representative since it is impossible in my situation to convey everything to you by letter. To facilitate this a permission has to be obtained from Washington. Hoping to get a confirmation of receipt of my letter. With sincere regards, Willibald Hoffmann"

POW Camp McCain was established in the Granada district of Mississippi, USA, in 1942, originally as a training camp for American infantry bound to join the fighting in Europe. During the war more that 7,700 German prisoners of war were held in the camp. They were put to work in the cotton fields of the Mississippi delta. The camp operated until October of the year 1944.

The addressee, Rabbi Max Koppel, was born in Mönchengladbach, Germany, in 1905. A graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau (JTS) and the universities of Breslau and Würzburg, he served as a Rabbi in Hirschberg (today Jelenia Góra in Poland) and Berlin and was an educator at the Joseph Lehmann school of the Reform community in Berlin. In 1937 he immigrated o the USA and was one of the founders of the Congregation Emes Wodzedek in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.


Neuda, Fanny. Stunden der Andacht (Hours of Devotion) [INSCRIBED]. Basel. Verlagsbuchhandlung V. Goldschmidt. 1854. First edition. Inscribed "Zur Erinnerung an Ihren Lehrer. 28. Juli 1956 Rabb. Max Koppel (To remember your teacher Rabbi Max Koppel)" on inside front cover; with stamp of Koppel's New York Congregation. Duodecimo. viii, 176pp. Original black cloth with gilt lettering and ruling on cover. A prayer and book for edification of the women and virgins of Israel to be used in public and private as well as all affairs of the female life. Published in honor and memory of her husband Abraham Neuda, Rabbi in Lostice, Czech. Contains one hundred and three prayers: including the prayer when entering the synagogue, the daily prayers, a prayer for the Sabbath, prayers at the New Moon, a prayer on the day of the destruction of Jerusalem, a prayer for mothers on the wedding day of their sons, etc. The book closes with a poem to be read during "Hagbaha" (The raising of the Torah), a legend from the Menorah Hamaor, read on the day of reconciliation during the time of the morning prayer, a poem expressing thanks for recovery, and an address to the noble mothers and women in Israel, dealing with the education of their daughters. Text in German. Binding with some wear along edges, small chips and front joint partially cracked. Block browned. Binding in overall good-, interior in good condition. near fine. Item #47584

Price: $2,750.00

See all items in Judaica
See all items by ,