Walter Frankenstein in 2015.
My Childhood 1924-1936 | Life Changes 1936-1939 | Stuck in Germany 1940-1943 | From Hiding Place to Hiding Place 1943-1945 | End of War 1945 and the Journey to Sweden | (Complete biography)
Walter Frankenstein | Photos and Documents
This photo of Walter's father was taken during the First World War.
In this picture, you can see Walter along with his brothers. It was taken in 1927 when Walter was three years old. Manfred is standing to the left and Martin to the right.
This picture of Walter's mother is from the 1920s.
Walter explains: "When I turned seven, we had a large party in the yard of our house in Flatow. I was contacted many years later by one of the girls in the photo. By coincidence, one of her friends had seen a film that I had taken part in. In that way, I got in touch with one of my childhood friends, and she later came to celebrate my 90th birthday."
In this picture, you see Walter and his brothers. Walter explains: "My brothers and I. The photo was taken in 1934, the day before Martin emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine. Manfred also settled there three years later. He studied at Königsberg in the German province of East Prussia (known as Kaliningrad in Russian) and became a dentist. To graduate, he had to renounce his German citizenship. A week later he was informed that he had to leave Germany since he was now stateless. He emigrated with his wife to Palestine."
This picture from the 1930s shows Frankenstein's general store and tavern in Flatow. The apartment where Walter and his mother lived was located above the store.
Walter is thirteen in this picture. The photo was taken about a year after he came to Berlin.
Walter explains: "We spent a lot of time playing sports at the children’s home. I’m the taller guy in the back row, third right from the teacher."
Walter and his friends at the children's home often played chess.
Walter explains: "I was fourteen in this photo. I had jumped 1.80 metres. It was the best result for my age range in Germany but, as I was a Jew, I wasn’t allowed to compete."
The synagogue at Auberbach.
Leonie, Walter's true love. This picture was taken in 1937.
Walter at the age of 17.
In this picture, you see the working unit of the Jewish community in Berlin, to which Walter belonged.
Walter explains: "I don’t know the name of the man in this picture, but he was hiding in Berlin, and we met at the opera. I went there sometimes to sit down and rest. He gave me the photo as he wanted to leave something that he could be remembered by if he wouldn’t survive. One day when we had decided to meet, and I was watching out the window. The man came along, and I noticed that two Gestapo men were in his heals. They arrested him, and I never saw him again."
In this picture, you see Leonie's mother, Beate Kranz (Rosner). The photo was taken in 1928.
In this picture, you see Leonie's father-in-law, Theodor Kranz.
This is a photo of Leonie and Uri in May 1944, in Briesenhorst.
This photo of Walter was taken in Berlin 1945 for the new identity papers.
This photo of Leonie was taken in Berlin 1945 for the new identity papers.
This photo of Uri was taken in Berlin 1945 for the new identity papers.
Walter explains: "This is my work team by the Dead Sea during our last summer in Israel in 1956."
Walter explains: "In this picture, you see Leonie, me, Michael and Uri in Israel. The photo was taken in 1949."
Leonie and Walter.
Walter explains: "In this picture, you see the Star of David that Leonie and I took off when we went underground in Germany. The medal is a Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Federal Cross of Merit which is the highest honour a civilian can be awarded in Germany. I received that for my work with German youths. Every year I travel to Berlin to talk about my experiences during the Holocaust. The star and the cross of merit come from the same country, and I think they go well together."
The book “Not With Us” retells the story of Leonie and I in Nazi Germany.
Walter explains: "My older brother Manfred was a keen photographer. He started taking photos at the end of the 1920s. I became interested in what he was up to and got to take part and learn to use the camera and develop photos in the darkroom. We used our bathroom since there weren’t any windows. At that time we used a little frame with a pane of glass. You placed it underneath and then put another pane of glass on top. Then you took it out of the darkroom, held it up to the sun and counted one, two, three, four, five… Then we went back into the darkroom and fixed, or developed, the image. My first camera consisted of a small box with a lens at the front. There were a handle and a shutter button. I took many pictures both before and during the war. When Leonie and I decided to go underground, I gathered up all the photos, put them in a metal tin and buried it in Grunewald. I packed the photos in a watertight metal tin and buried them at a location where three trees stood forming a triangle next to a lake. Three months after the liberation I dug up the tin. The originals are now at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, but I have copies of them in my private album. My childhood and a large part of Leonie’s and my time in Berlin are on those photos. I am glad that I managed to keep them. They are all that I have left from that time."
Walter explains: "I wanted to honour the memory of the children. The monument became a brick wall in the rear yard of the Auerbach children’s home. The children’s names and ages when they were deported are listed on the wall. The woman who lives in the house has planted an apple tree next to it. Every year she sends me six apples from the harvest."