Red Cross letter from
Marianne Simion to her
mother, Emma Warschauer
"Don’t ever give up hope, stay healthy," Marianne Simion wrote to her mother Emma Warschauer in April 1942. Marianne had fled from Berlin to England in 1939 and was able to reestablish contact with her mother and send her Red Cross letters.
The International Red Cross began setting up a message service in 1936. Red Cross letters enabled emigrants to stay in touch with relatives in Germany and with deportees, even if they could not use the regular mail service.
Family members were allowed to write each other a maximum of twenty-five words on a standard form, but it often took several months for the messages to reach their recipients. Fearing censorship, the letter writers used harmless-sounding phrases to relate bad news. For example, the deportation of a relative was often described as a "trip" or "emigration."
When Marianne received no word from her mother for several months, she sent another message to her mother’s address in August 1942. This was answered anonymously: "Unfortunately, your beloved mother emigrated to Theresienstadt in late June."
Mother and daughter stayed in contact through Red Cross letters until April 1943. In January 1944, Emma Warschauer perished in Theresienstadt.
Red Cross letter from Marianne Simion to her mother, Emma Warschauer
London, April 22, 1942
Paper, pencil, ink, stamp-pad ink
22.7 x 14.6 cm
Gift of Renate Simion