Else Raesener. Letter

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This item is a short letter sent by Else Raesener, living in Brussels, to her daughter Lea Raesener, living in Palestine, via the Red Cross only a few weeks before Else's arrest and deportation. It would be her last sign of life.
Else Raesener and her landlord Berta Frydman
Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
Daniel Eger, Private collection, Israel
1 digitised image (1 document)
Else Raesener was born in Pasewalk, Germany, on 8 October 1888 as the daughter of Josef Raesener or Räsener and Maria Kruger. On 27 April 1917, Else married Leo Flatau (b. 1877), a soldier fighting in World War I. Leo was also the owner of Flatau & Jacoby, a small business that manufactured trimming laces. However, Leo was killed on 25 July 1917, leaving Else a widow after barely three months of marriage. In 1920, Else met the lawyer Max Danielsohn (b. 30/03/1879 in Bönhof, Germany) at the grave site of Rosa Luxemburg. Both Else and Max were convinced communists. The couple – which never married – had only one child : Lea Natalie Raesener was born in Berlin on 21 July 1923. Together, Else and Max operated Flatau & Jacob. Although they were not very well to do, the couple remained politically and socially active, opening a soup kitchen for the poor every Sunday.
After Nazis rose to power in Germany, Max Danielsohn was arrested for his communist activities and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was arrested a second time in 1938 and was detained at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp from June until September 1938. In 1940, Else and Max sent their daughter Lea to Palestine. They themselves were able to flee to Switzerland in the spring of 1942. However, when Max went out to explore, he disappeared. It is likely that he was arrested and sent back to Berlin, since his name appears on a deportation transport from Berlin to Riga, Latvia, on 18 August 1942. Max Danielsohn did not survive.
After weeks of waiting, Else returned to Berlin. However, in August 1942 she decided to flee to Belgium. Else found refuge with her friend Bascha (Bertha) Slomovicz and her husband Szlama Frydman, who lived at Rue du Vieux Marché aux Grains 20 in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Brussels. With the help of Bascha, Else wrote a telegram to her daughter Lea to inform her that she was in good health.
Although Else Raesener did not register in the municipal Jewish register or with the Association des Juifs en Belgique (Association of Jews in Belgium), she was arrested and transferred to the Dossin barracks on 21 September 1942. Else was killed after deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XI on 26 September 1942. Her friend Szlama Frydman was killed after deportation from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau via Transport XIV on 24 October 1942. His wife Bascha (Bertha) Slomovicz seems to have survived the war.
Daughter Lea Natalie Raesener remained in Israel, married and had a child. She passed away in Israel on 16 January 2012. In 2014, Lea’s son Daniel Eger placed Stolpersteine in front of the house in Berlin where his grandparents Else Raesener and Max Danielsohn had lived.
In 2013, Daniel Eger, grandson of Else Raesener, contacted Kazerne Dossin in search of documents regarding his grandmother's fate. He subsequently donated a digital copy of Else's last telegram to the documentation centre. Else had sent the message to her daughter Lea Raesener, living in Beth Alfa, Palestine, via the Red Cross only a few weeks before Else’s arrest and deportation. However, Lea Raesener would not receive the letter until weeks after the death of her mother.
Daniel Eger, grandson of Else Raesener, 2013

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