Hans Lichtmehs. Postcard

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Digitised copy of a postcard describing the worries of dr. Hans Lichtmehs, detained at the Saint-Cyprien camp in France, to his uncle Richard Wolf living in New York, USA.
1940
Saint-Cyprien
Hans Lichtmehs
French
Latin
Digitally stored at Kazerne Dossin
Stephen Manheimer, Private collection, USA
KD_00086
item
2 digitised images (1 postcard)
Hans Lichtmehs was born in Vienna, Austria, on 27 Mai 1898, as the son of Gustave Lichtmehs, (b. 18/12/1869 in Vienna, Austria, passed away in 1925) and Olga Wolf (b. 05/02/1878 in Zidlochovice, Czechoslovakia). Hans became a lawyer and in May 1939 he illegally crossed the German-Belgian border near Cologne, trying to flee the Nazi regime. He settled in Schaerbeek, Brussels, where, on 9 September 1939 he married Stella Bettelheim. Stella was born in Vienna, Austria, on 13 October 1902 as the daughter of Julius Bettelheim (b. 05/09/1866 in Vienna, Austria, passed away in 1918) and Karoline Schwarz (b. 31/08/1872 in Vienna, Austria). She had also arrived in May 1939 which might suggest that the couple knew each other before fleeing to Belgium.
On 10 May 1940, Hans and thousands of other German and Austrian male immigrants which had recently arrived in Belgium, including hundreds of Jews, were arrested by the Belgian State and deported to camps in France since the authorities feared their support of the Nazi regime. Hans was detained at Saint-Cyprien until 29 October 1940 and afterwards at the Gurs camp. On 4 March 1941 he was transferred to the Les Milles camp from where he was released or managed to escape. Hans returned to Belgium via Marseille on 14 August 1941 and was reunited with his wife Stella in Schaerbeek, Brussels. A few months later, on 26 October 1941, Hans’ mother, Olga Wolf, passed away in Vienna.
In the summer of 1942, the Nazis sent 2,252 able bodied Jewish men from Belgium to the north of France to work as forced labourers on the Atlantic wall. Hans Lichtmehs was part of this group. He was deported from France via the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 31 October 1942 via Transport XVI and perished. His wife, Stella Bettelheim, was arrested in July 1943 and did not survive deportation via Transport XXI from the Dossin barracks to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 31 July 1943. Stella’s mother Karoline Schwarz had died in the Theresienstadt ghetto on 19 February 1942. The only known family member to have survived the Holocaust was Richard Wolf, brother of Hans’ mother Olga, whom had emigrated to New York, USA, before the war.
Stephen Manheimer requested help from Kazerne Dossin in 2010, while trying to identify Hans Lichtmehs and his family, after finding the postcard. A copy of the postcard was sent to Kazerne Dossin to facilitate identification.
Stephen Manheimer, 2010

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