Werner Gembicki – Letters

Werner Gembicki – born in Hamburg, Germany: 25th November 1915

Profession in country of origin: Clerk

Arrived in Britain as a refugee from Germany in February 1939

Editor's note: the following letters are housed at the Leo Baeck Institute, New York; they are reproduced here with their very kind permission.

There are many more letters in the Gembicki collection at the Leo Baeck Institute and we encourage you to visit the collection either in person or online.

December 1938
Werner Gembicki, Postcard, Konzentrationslager Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg bei Berlin, From Vera Gembicki (wife), Number 8485, 14 December 1938, front
Werner Gembicki, Postcard, Konzentrationslager Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg bei Berlin, From Vera Gembicki (wife), Number 8485, 14 December 1938, front
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

Werner Gembicki, Postcard, Konzentrationslager Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg bei Berlin, From Vera Gembicki (wife), Number 8485, 14 December 1938, reverse
Werner Gembicki, Postcard, Konzentrationslager Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg bei Berlin, From Vera Gembicki (wife), Number 8485, 14 December 1938, reverse
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

February 1939

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Dislikes wife working so hard, Consulate works quickly, 19 February 1939, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Dislikes wife working so hard, Consulate works quickly, 19 February 1939, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Money to Barclays bank Sandwich, 50% of costs paid by Committee, medical, ticket for USA, Sell gold jewellery, Letter of friendship required, 19 February 1939, page 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Money to Barclays bank Sandwich, 50% of costs paid by Committee, medical, ticket for USA, Sell gold jewellery, Letter of friendship required, 19 February 1939, page 2
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Family news, Last night in camp at cinema - very good, Stolen Life with Elizabeth Bergner, (Name?) is on holiday but back in two days, Privat elesson, 19 February 1939, page 3
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Family news, Last night in camp at cinema – very good, Stolen Life with Elizabeth Bergner, (Name?) is on holiday but back in two days, Private lesson, 19 February 1939, page 3
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, 19 February 1939, page 4
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, 19 February 1939, page 4
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

July 1939

Werner Gembicki, Richborough refugee camp, Hut 36/II, Letter, Received one dollar with letter, Received £3 salary, Emigration to California, Family waiting for Consulate summons, Question about payment for passage, Foreign currency restrictions making it difficult for Committee to help and because of numbers of domestics needing help, Own emigration subject to considerable delay, Document transfers among consulates, London and Hamburg no longer in communication, 10 July 1939, pages 1 and 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 36/II, Letter, Received one dollar with letter, Received £3 salary, Emigration to California, Family waiting for Consulate summons, Question about payment for passage, Foreign currency restrictions making it difficult for Committee to help and because of numbers of domestics needing help, Own emigration subject to considerable delay, Document transfers among consulates, London and Hamburg no longer in communication, 10 July 1939, pages 1 and 2
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough transit camp, Hut 36/II, Letter, Clipper postal service suspended, Tribunal to decide whether Friendly or Enemy Alien in next few weeks, If friendly, allowed to work and leave camp but "nothing sure up-to-now", Giving English lessons in 2 courses daily - a pleasant occupation, Work to be accomplished on camp before winter - quite interesting, Good training in hard work - so will do any work in USA, Archbishop of Canterbury to come to see us on Monday, Can stand the life of the camp very well, Doesn't seem a religious country, Plays table-tennis, Friends' parents failed the medical in Stuttgart and cannot emigrate, 10 July 1939, pages 3 and 4
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 36/II, Letter, Clipper postal service suspended, Tribunal to decide whether Friendly or Enemy Alien in next few weeks, If friendly, allowed to work and leave camp but “nothing sure up-to-now”, Giving English lessons in 2 courses daily – a pleasant occupation, Work to be accomplished on camp before winter – quite interesting, Good training in hard work – so will do any work in USA, Archbishop of Canterbury to come to see us on Monday, Can stand the life of the camp very well, Doesn’t seem a religious country, Plays table-tennis, Friends’ parents failed the medical in Stuttgart and cannot emigrate, 10 July 1939, pages 3 and 4
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

August 1939

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Postcard, Dover Castle, 26 August 1939, front
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Postcard, Dover Castle, 26 August 1939, front
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Postcard, Dover beach
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Postcard, Dover beach
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough camp, Letter, Hut 36/II, Family sail from Rotterdam to Southampton, Unable to visit, German ultimatum to Holland, Upset and requested luggage to be sent from London to camp, later cancelled, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Hut 36/II, Family sail from Rotterdam to Southampton, Unable to visit, German ultimatum to Holland, Upset and requested luggage to be sent from London to camp, later cancelled, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

"Werner

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Hut 36/II, Date of first registration, Form XV from London Consulate, Does his own laundry, Tried to avoid sock re-pairing, Camp lies in evacuation zone, Only a few alarms so far but no planes appeared, "Did the Germans give you a gas mask? I have one", page 3
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Hut 36/II, Date of first registration, Form XV from London Consulate, Does his own laundry, Tried to avoid sock re-pairing, Camp lies in evacuation zone, Only a few alarms so far but no planes appeared, “Did the Germans give you a gas mask? I have one”, page 3
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough camp, Letter, Hut 36/II, George Koppel interned, Applied to Camp Director to help but he cannot do anything, "it is really a pity, as he is a refugee like me, especially as he was in a Conc.-Camp", All Aliens had to pass a Tribunal and so did I, Certificate 'Refugee from Nazi Oppression', Money situation deteriorating, page 4
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Hut 36/II, George Koppel interned, Applied to Camp Director to help but he cannot do anything, “it is really a pity, as he is a refugee like me, especially as he was in a Conc.-Camp”, All Aliens had to pass a Tribunal and so did I, Certificate ‘Refugee from Nazi Oppression’, Money situation deteriorating, page 4
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 8 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough transit camp, Letter, Tribunal, Wish to fight, Family and American consulate for passports, 29 August 1939, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Tribunal, Wish to fight, Family and American consulate for passports, 29 August 1939, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 2 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough refugee camp, Letter, Tribunal, Wish to fight, Family and American consulate for passports, 29 August 1939, page 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Tribunal, Wish to fight, Family and American consulate for passports, 29 August 1939, page 2
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 2 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

September 1939

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Hut 36/II, Outbreak of war and despair, Wife Vera hopes for visa, American consulate, Forbidden goods, German shortages, National Service filling sandbags, KC in evacuation zone, 16 September 1939, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Hut 36/II, Outbreak of war and despair, Wife Vera hopes for visa, American consulate, Forbidden goods, German shortages, National Service filling sandbags, KC in evacuation zone, 16 September 1939, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 2 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Camp in winter cold and wet, Family safety, Rosh Hashanah, New York Committee, 16 September 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Camp in winter cold and wet, Family safety, Rosh Hashanah, New York Committee, 16 September 1939, page 2
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 2 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

October 1939

Werner Gembicki, Richborough refugee camp Hut 36/II, Letter, Holland-America line fares in foreign currency, American consulate, Archbishop of Canterbury visited today - "A great honour for us all", 9 October 1939
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp Hut 36/II, Letter, Holland-America line fares in foreign currency, American consulate, Archbishop of Canterbury visited today – “A great honour for us all”, 9 October 1939
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 2 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough refugee camp, Hut 36/II, Letter, Number 5995 summoned to consulate on November 2nd, Delay in emigration due to many applicants from Vienna and Stuttgart who registered earlier, Furniture storage problems and costs, "I do not know the meaning of the word 'room'? Always living in a great comapny of more or less sympathetic comrades," 25 October 1939, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 36/II, Letter, Number 5995 summoned to consulate on November 2nd, Delay in emigration due to many applicants from Vienna and Stuttgart who registered earlier, Furniture storage problems and costs, “I do not know the meaning of the word ‘room’? Always living in a great company of more or less sympathetic comrades,” 25 October 1939, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 36/II, Letter, "never alone", Present situation not agreeable, Camp life is nice for a few weeks but boring for months on end, Searching only for peace, Would prefer to live in a small town to a big city, Constant changes and nerves on edge, "All are very excited, thus life with them is rather unpleasant as we have often quarrels", Occupation in camp changed often, Work Department, Teacher, National Service, Building camp roads, Hut orderly, Little contact with English population means language not progressing, Also learning Spanish, Passed the Tribunal and received 'C' mark, Nazi Oppression, Friendly Alien, Cold and rainy, Family in safety, Receiving letters helps, 25 October 1939, page 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 36/II, Letter, “never alone”, Present situation not agreeable, Camp life is nice for a few weeks but boring for months on end, Searching only for peace, Would prefer to live in a small town to a big city, Constant changes and nerves on edge, “All are very excited, thus life with them is rather unpleasant as we have often quarrels”, Occupation in camp changed often, Work Department, Teacher, National Service, Building camp roads, Hut orderly, Little contact with English population means language not progressing, Also learning Spanish, Passed the Tribunal and received ‘C’ mark, Nazi Oppression, Friendly Alien, Cold and rainy, Family in safety, Receiving letters helps, 25 October 1939, page 2
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

November 1939

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Visas, Family emigration, Raining in camp, Hut 36/II orderly, AMPC, 7 November 1939, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Visas, Family emigration, Raining in camp, Hut 36/II orderly, AMPC, 7 November 1939, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 2 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Camp food bad, Supplement food from Sandwich town, Weekly movies, Engish language problems, Lack of contact with local people, 7 November 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Camp food bad, Supplement food from Sandwich town, Weekly movies, Engish language problems, Lack of contact with local people, 7 November 1939, page 2
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 2 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Telegram, Holland-America Line, Rotterdam, Good luck, Sandwich, 16 November 1939, front
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Telegram, Holland-America Line, Rotterdam, Good luck, Sandwich, 16 November 1939, front
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 2 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Telegram, Holland-America Line, Rotterdam, Good luck, Sandwich, 16 November 1939, reverse
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Telegram, Holland-America Line, Rotterdam, Good luck, Sandwich, 16 November 1939, reverse
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 2 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 19/I, Letter, Concern about lack of post from USA where family is in process of emigrating, Letter from Koppels, Letter of Friendship very important at London Consulate, Asks wife to procure L of F for Koppels to be signed by a notary, 17 November 1939, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 19/I, Letter, Concern about lack of post from USA where family is in process of emigrating, Letter from Koppels, Letter of Friendship very important at London Consulate, Asks wife to procure L of F for Koppels to be signed by a notary, 17 November 1939, page 1
‘Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection’, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough refugee camp, Hut 19/I, Letter, Life in camp has changed, moved huts - former one used for other purposes, the "whole 'Clique' is scattered over the different huts; this is really a pity, as we had formed a very good company of friends", Hopes to join Mosheim later, New Hut leader absent on leave for marriage, Life has changed, "Thus it is possible to get released from the camp, for good, if one rights a declaration to raise no claims against the camp", "Generally, refugees may now accept work with permission of the home office, which is not difficult to obtain", "special workers get preferred and I don't see a chance to leave the camp which I would like very much", 17 November 1939, page 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 19/I, Letter, Life in camp has changed, moved huts – former one used for other purposes, the “whole ‘Clique’ is scattered over the different huts; this is really a pity, as we had formed a very good company of friends”, Hopes to join Mosheim later, New Hut leader absent on leave for marriage, Life has changed, “Thus it is possible to get released from the camp, for good, if one rights a declaration to raise no claims against the camp”, “Generally, refugees may now accept work with permission of the home office, which is not difficult to obtain”, “special workers get preferred and I don’t see a chance to leave the camp which I would like very much”, 17 November 1939, page 2
‘Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection’, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough transit camp, Hut 19/I, Letter, Family news, "I am wearing every day the same dress consisting of my cheap trousers from Koppel and the blue jacket. Both are rather worn-out, as things are suffering heavily here", "Sometimes I use to wear two vests, as my combination is pretty thin", "One of the greatest evils are the stockings, as the repair of them causes me much trouble", Finds someone to repair them, Doing a new course from 8.30 to 10am, Wireless set taken in Germany, Bought a new dictionary, There is a radio in the new hut bought in Ramsgate with Mosheim, 17 November 1939, page 3
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 19/I, Letter, Family news, “I am wearing every day the same dress consisting of my cheap trousers from Koppel and the blue jacket. Both are rather worn-out, as things are suffering heavily here”, “Sometimes I use to wear two vests, as my combination is pretty thin”, “One of the greatest evils are the stockings, as the repair of them causes me much trouble”, Finds someone to repair them, Doing a new course from 8.30 to 10am, Wireless set taken in Germany, Bought a new dictionary, There is a radio in the new hut bought in Ramsgate with Mosheim, 17 November 1939, page 3
‘Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection’, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough camp, Hut 19/I, Letter, Family news, "My courses cause me much fun", "I am really popular, e.g., the new course ... consisted originally of 4 men, now I have 20 in 3 days", Reading all your letters again form the beginning, 17 November 1939, page 4
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 19/I, Letter, Family news, “My courses cause me much fun”, “I am really popular, e.g., the new course … consisted originally of 4 men, now I have 20 in 3 days”, Reading all your letters again form the beginning, 17 November 1939, page 4
‘Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection’, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough camp, Hut 19/I, Letter, Family news, "My courses cause me much fun", "I am really popular, e.g., the new course ... consisted originally of 4 men, now I have 20 in 3 days", Reading all your letters again form the beginning, 17 November 1939, page 4
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 19/I, Letter, Family news, “My courses cause me much fun”, “I am really popular, e.g., the new course … consisted originally of 4 men, now I have 20 in 3 days”, Reading all your letters again form the beginning, 17 November 1939, page 4
‘Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection’, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Anxiety awaiting news of family arrival in Holland, Sent telegram to Koppels, Family arrived at Rotterdam, "I felt so happy that you escaped the hell, but, on the other side, I am worrying about your voyage", Frightened at news headline that Dutch line sunk by mine, 21 November 1939, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Anxiety awaiting news of family arrival in Holland, Sent telegram to Koppels, Family arrived at Rotterdam, “I felt so happy that you escaped the hell, but, on the other side, I am worrying about your voyage”, Frightened at news headline that Dutch line sunk by mine, 21 November 1939, page 1

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough camp, Letter, Authority for name change, enclosing pictures of Werner and friends, "We have formed a 'clique'" of Herbert Moshheim, Ernst Levy, Joseph Heimann (?), "We make all things commonly and divide amongst us all our food", Levy and Mosheim working as farm-helps for 2-3 shillings a day, Werner tried and so far failed to get similar job, Has a very comfortable job, Leaving me plenty of time for writing, "Last Saturday we went to Canterbury to see the famous Cathedral", Attended a service, Archbishop of Canterbury - the second man in England after the King - visited the camp, Report of this enclosed to keep, "The days are so boring", 21 November 1939, page 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Authority for name change, enclosing pictures of Werner and friends, “We have formed a ‘clique'” of Herbert Moshheim, Ernst Levy, Joseph Heimann (?), “We make all things commonly and divide amongst us all our food”, Levy and Mosheim working as farm-helps for 2-3 shillings a day, Werner tried and so far failed to get similar job, Has a very comfortable job, Leaving me plenty of time for writing, “Last Saturday we went to Canterbury to see the famous Cathedral”, Attended a service, Archbishop of Canterbury – the second man in England after the King – visited the camp, Report of this enclosed to keep, “The days are so boring”, 21 November 1939, page 2
‘Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection’, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough refugee camp, Letter, Worrying whether son Peter will recognise his father, Did not yet get Form XV, 21 November 1939, page 3
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Worrying whether son Peter will recognise his father, Did not yet get Form XV, 21 November 1939, page 3
‘Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection’, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Envelope, 21 November 1939
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Envelope, 21 November 1939
‘Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection’, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Family safely at sea to USA, Family news, Dutch shipping to UK stopped because of mines, Food parcel arrived at camp, London Consulate Form 15, "Forty men are summoned to the December 7th, who had been registered in the first days of August 1938. I count upon March or April 1940", Life in KC "goes on, the weather is bad ... an advantage preventing bombers to come to England", Working with Mohrnwitz, Long evenings are difficult, Playing chess and bridge, 24 November 1939, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Family safely at sea to USA, Family news, Dutch shipping to UK stopped because of mines, Food parcel arrived at camp, London Consulate Form 15, “Forty men are summoned to the December 7th, who had been registered in the first days of August 1938. I count upon March or April 1940”, Life in KC “goes on, the weather is bad … an advantage preventing bombers to come to England”, Working with Mohrnwitz, Long evenings are difficult, Playing chess and bridge, 24 November 1939, page 1

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Teacher training three times a week, Concern about English language skills, Does a lot of reading including 'Gone with the Wind' (in German) and Dubnow's 'Jewish History', Landsbergers "failed at the Consulate", Poland now occupied by Germany, Going to cinema in Sandwich to see 'Confessions of a Nazi Spy', Previously saw a 'wonderful coloured film showing a technique I never saw before', Keeping letters shorter because of censorship, 24 November 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Teacher training three times a week, Concern about English language skills, Does a lot of reading including ‘Gone with the Wind’ (in German) and Dubnow’s ‘Jewish History’, Landsbergers “failed at the Consulate”, Poland now occupied by Germany, Going to cinema in Sandwich to see ‘Confessions of a Nazi Spy’, Previously saw a ‘wonderful coloured film showing a technique I never saw before’, Keeping letters shorter because of censorship, 24 November 1939, page 2

English translation of this poem follows, below

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 36/II, Max Hamburger, Joseph Heumann, Herbert Mosheim, Ernst Levy, Alex Flechtheim, Fritz Eckstein, 25 November 1939, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 36/II, Max Hamburger, Joseph Heumann, Herbert Mosheim, Ernst Levy, Alex Flechtheim, Fritz Eckstein, 25 November 1939, page 1
‘Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection’, AR 25617, Box 1, Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 36/II, Max Hamburger, Joseph Heumann, Herbert Mosheim, Ernst Levy, Alex Flechtheim, Fritz Eckstein, 25 November 1939, page 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 36/II, Max Hamburger, Joseph Heumann, Herbert Mosheim, Ernst Levy, Alex Flechtheim, Fritz Eckstein, 25 November 1939, page 2

Werner’s birthday poem – English translation by a Kitchener descendant

Dear Werner, on your birthday we wholeheartedly congratulate you and the undersigned wish you all the very VERY best for the rest of your life.

1

The writings of Aristotle state,

That man is a social being.

As is the horse, the sheep, the bull

And other such herd animals.

2

Already in prehistoric times,

He seeks to avoid solitude

And from family, tribe and clan,

He was only snatched from the death of Hippe (? – she was the daughter of Centaur Chiron and Chariclo in Greek mythology if that makes sense)

3

So, first of all, there is no doubt

That society sustains man,

But it will now be necessary to explore

How he best fits in.

4

To test this difficult question,

We are particularly able,

We are indeed 3000 men at The Kitchener Camp,

It all depends on the individual there.

5

So enough, I falter here, I say it freely,

I’m going like the cat around the bush

I don’t need to prove at all,

What “zoon polikon” means (Trans. note: Aristotle’s definition of man as a political animal)

6

Such a wesep(?) are you guys,

What are rarely bothers and are usually pleased

What at work or play,

Always needed, and never too much.

7

So then let’s look around and see

If we are lucky enough

To end up finding a man here

Who combines the above gifts.

8

For whom no job is too much here,

Who puts his man in every game?

Who is skilful in English?

To whom does everyone go with translations in hand?

Who is the master of social arts?

In short, he’s called WERNER

9

He plays bridge, skat, rummy and chess,

He doesn’t care (?) about table tennis,

He swims like a fish around the craziest of water,

He playfully climbs the highest mountain.

10

English is quite fun for him,

I believe he also understands some Spanish

He also once practiced Latin

But today he likes French more

11

Marriage hasn’t been too bad either.

The valiant one calls his own,

A charming wife, a lovely son,

We shouldn’t enviously keep quiet about that.

12

Now I’m actually at the end,

So the main thing must still be said,

Dear Werner, on your birthday,

We wholeheartedly congratulate you.

13

That your wife and son in Baelde,

Tell you of the happy news from over there,

And that before March springs upon us,

You close (?) both of them to the heart

14

And may happiness flourish for you in the States,

Sometimes think back to Richborough,

And to your friends in a time of care,

We wish it had just happened/it was time (??)

15

And, as is tradition, we call,

Long live the birthday boy.

 

Kitchener Camp, 25th November, 1939

Hut 36/2

 

Dr Max Hamburger

Josef Heumann

Herbert Mosheim

Ernst Levy

Alex Flechtheim

Fritz Eckstein

Richborough transit camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, News about passage to USA, 30 November 1939, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, News about passage to USA, 30 November 1939, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Richborough refugee camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, News about passage to USA, 30 November 1939, page 2
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, News about passage to USA, 30 November 1939, page 2
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, News about passage to USA, Hut change immanent because of emigrants, Saw a film by Edgar Wallace, which was "very exciting", Warmer but always raining, Gets up "at 9am, then I buy two rolls for 1d, wonderful white. Then I have to clean my shoes, to make my bed. At 11.30 I have dinner, then two courses English. The number of my pupils is ever increasing and I have got now sixty men!", Afternoons are 'at my disposal', Teacher training in evenings, 30 November 1939, page 3
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, News about passage to USA, Hut change immanent because of emigrants, Saw a film by Edgar Wallace, which was “very exciting”, Warmer but always raining, Gets up “at 9am, then I buy two rolls for 1d, wonderful white. Then I have to clean my shoes, to make my bed. At 11.30 I have dinner, then two courses English. The number of my pupils is ever increasing and I have got now sixty men!” Afternoons are ‘at my disposal’, Teacher training in evenings, 30 November 1939, page 3
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Advantage of eating twice in the evenings - the ordinary meal and 'special permisison on account of my job', Weight has increased and feels quite well, Life is very regular, Bed at 10pm, Alone and missing wife, "Sometimes I am rather down, but, then, I stick to our old motto that, finally, all will end well', "the day has only two eventful minutes: in the morning and in the evening, when the post comes', 30 November 1939, page 4
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Advantage of eating twice in the evenings – the ordinary meal and ‘special permisison on account of my job’, Weight has increased and feels quite well, Life is very regular, Bed at 10pm, Alone and missing wife, “Sometimes I am rather down, but, then, I stick to our old motto that, finally, all will end well’, “the day has only two eventful minutes: in the morning and in the evening, when the post comes’, 30 November 1939, page 4
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

December 1939

Werner Gembicki, Letter, Anxiety at absence of letters from family, Expected pay rise not forthcoming, Had hoped to send family some money, 9 December 1939, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Letter, Anxiety at absence of letters from family, Expected pay rise not forthcoming, Had hoped to send family some money, 9 December 1939, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Letter, Camp humour over lack of money, Accustomed to new hut, Defeated second chess-champion, Appreciated by camp-professor - "Teachers are believed to be higher beings", Weight now 14 stones (127 pounds) - increase of 4 or 5 pounds, A new cafe in Sandwich established by a campman, Recently ate there Wiener Schnitzel (6d) and coffee and cakes (1 sh) - "we must have some pleasure and the greatest pleasure is eating, as the camp food is not very good", 9 December 1939, page 2
Werner Gembicki, Letter, Camp humour over lack of money, Accustomed to new hut, Defeated second chess-champion, Appreciated by camp-professor – “Teachers are believed to be higher beings”, Weight now 14 stones (127 pounds) – increase of 4 or 5 pounds, A new cafe in Sandwich established by a campman, Recently ate there Wiener Schnitzel (6d) and coffee and cakes (1 sh) – “we must have some pleasure and the greatest pleasure is eating, as the camp food is not very good”, 9 December 1939, page 2
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Unhappy because no letter from wife, Very cold, Glad of work as a teacher in classroom building - the only one with central heating, "Huts are hardly heated and terribly cold", Six blankets on bed but still cold sometimes, "And then the darkness! Owing to the blackout restrictions there is no light on the camp-streets and it is, literally, so dark that you can't see your hand before the eyes", Working hard with '3 prviate lessons with daily income of 8 1/3d', 13 December 1939, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Unhappy because no letter from wife, Very cold, Glad of work as a teacher in classroom building – the only one with central heating, “Huts are hardly heated and terribly cold”, Six blankets on bed but still cold sometimes, “And then the darkness! Owing to the blackout restrictions there is no light on the camp-streets and it is, literally, so dark that you can’t see your hand before the eyes”, Working hard with ‘3 prviate lessons with daily income of 8 1/3d’, 13 December 1939, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Hopes of regular payment have been frustrated - only for craftsmen working for the military, Can sell item of wife's father for a good price to military, Asking about job prospects in USA, This evening a festival with a show and concert, Enjoyable if wrapped in blankets and coats, Emigration details, Possible invasion of the Nazis in Holland, "which could place us in the centre of their air attacks, or America becoming involved in the war or something like this", Julius Rosenbaum leaving for New York on 20th, Did not leave camp since Saturday, 13 December 1939, pages 2 and 3
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Hopes of regular payment have been frustrated – only for craftsmen working for the military, Can sell item of wife’s father for a good price to military, Asking about job prospects in USA, This evening a festival with a show and concert, Enjoyable if wrapped in blankets and coats, Emigration details, Possible invasion of the Nazis in Holland, “which could place us in the centre of their air attacks, or America becoming involved in the war or something like this”, Julius Rosenbaum leaving for New York on 20th, Did not leave camp since Saturday, 13 December 1939, pages 2 and 3
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, 13 December 1939, page 4
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, 13 December 1939, page 4
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Letter, Kitchener camp Hut 19/II, No post from family, Correspondence with "a rather important man", English lesson - new words and idioms and a lot of grammar, 17 December 1939, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Letter, Kitchener camp Hut 19/II, No post from family, Correspondence with “a rather important man”, English lessons – new words and idioms and a lot of grammar, 17 December 1939, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Difficulty in English conversation and Kentish accent, Easier to understand "good speakers like Lord Reading, Mr May or the Archbishop of Canterbury", Popular teacher because he understands his pupils' difficulties, Sure of good testimonial from camp, "No news in the Camp", Works hard and business flourishes, Has a torchlight, Nearly broke his nose in collision "with another boy" in the dark, Went to Deal by train with Mosheim and Levy, "I am inclined to consider going by train as a privilege of the rich. The compartments are splendidly equipped and there is only 1st and 3rd class, both of which are up-holstered. In Deal I bought the torch-light, envelopes, ink and cocoa, and afterwards we went into a tea-house ... had a nice afternoon", 17 December 1939, pages 2 and 3
Werner Gembicki, Letter, Difficulty in English conversation and Kentish accent, Easier to understand “good speakers like Lord Reading, Mr May or the Archbishop of Canterbury”, Popular teacher because he understands his pupils’ difficulties, Sure of good testimonial from camp, “No news in the Camp”, Works hard and business flourishes, Has a torchlight, Nearly broke his nose in collision “with another boy” in the dark, Went to Deal by train with Mosheim and Levy, “I am inclined to consider going by train as a privilege of the rich. The compartments are splendidly equipped and there is only 1st and 3rd class, both of which are up-holstered. In Deal I bought the torch-light, envelopes, ink and cocoa, and afterwards we went into a tea-house … had a nice afternoon”, 17 December 1939, pages 2 and 3
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Letter, Kitchener camp Hut 19/II, Family post has finally arrived, 17 December 1939, page 4
Werner Gembicki, Letter, Kitchener camp Hut 19/II, Family post has finally arrived, 17 December 1939, page 4
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough camp Hut 19/II, Letter, Teaching pupils in classroom, 65 medicals today for USA consulate, Friend Alexander Flechtheim has been summoned and will probaby sail in a few days, "It is clear that the Consulate proceeds only according to the early transference of documents, and I have made a big fault that I delayed too long", Little news, "I do my duty, but my private business is rather bad, as most of my pupils are either ill or on leave", 29 December 1939, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp Hut 19/II, Letter, Teaching pupils in classroom, 65 medicals today for USA consulate, Friend Alexander Flechtheim has been summoned and will probaby sail in a few days, “It is clear that the Consulate proceeds only according to the early transference of documents, and I have made a big fault that I delayed too long”, Little news, “I do my duty, but my private business is rather bad, as most of my pupils are either ill or on leave”, 29 December 1939, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 9 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough camp Hut 19/II, Some letters taking over 5 weeks to arrive, No-one is writing news about Germany, "I laugh always with the baby of Mr May who is always in the garden in his pram (pre-ambulator) and think always of Peter, then", 29 December 1939, page 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp Hut 19/II, Some letters taking over 5 weeks to arrive, No-one is writing news about Germany, “I laugh always with the baby of Mr May who is always in the garden in his pram (pre-ambulator) and think always of Peter, then”, 29 December 1939, page 2

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp Hut 19/II, Letter, "I hope Mr Bondie can do something in view of my passage", "This morning, the idea came across that your mother (?) should write to Mrs Otto Schiff, Berkeley Square 25, London W1. She is the right man for this. The Consulate works gorgeously, Mr May gave (?) a lot of summons again", "To-morrow is new year; it is not celebrated in England", "I am now learning Spanish again, as I think it rather important for me", "This evening I shall go to the pictures: 'Lambeth Walk'. Fee: 6d", Ernst Levy's wife coming over from Holland, 29 December 1939, page 3
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp Hut 19/II, Letter, “I hope Mr Bondie can do something in view of my passage”, “This morning, the idea came across that your mother (?) should write to Mrs Otto Schiff, Berkeley Square 25, London W1. She is the right man for this. The Consulate works gorgeously, Mr May gave (?) a lot of summons again”, “To-morrow is new year; it is not celebrated in England”, “I am now learning Spanish again, as I think it rather important for me”, “This evening I shall go to the pictures: ‘Lambeth Walk’. Fee: 6d”, Ernst Levy’s wife coming over from Holland, 29 December 1939, page 3

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough camp Hut 19/II, Letter, "We are all glad", Mr Flechtheim got his medical, Mr Levy's wife arrives, Another good friend got his medical, 29 December 1939, page 4
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp Hut 19/II, Letter, “We are all glad”, Mr Flechtheim got his medical, Mr Levy’s wife arrives, Another good friend got his medical, 29 December 1939, page 4

January 1940

Werner Gembicki, Richborough camp, Letter, Feeling ill with a cold because of thin underdressings, "Yesterday I bought two new pants which are thicker", Going to buy flannel pyjamas, "such things are very cheap in England", Pjs cost 61/2 shillings, Clothes becomming worn out, camp "k.z." dress gets holes, no emigration news, "now we have more than 300 people with visas in hands without tickets", 3 January 1940, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Feeling ill with a cold because of thin underdressings, “Yesterday I bought two new pants which are thicker”, Going to buy flannel pyjamas, “such things are very cheap in England”, Pjs cost 61/2 shillings, Clothes becomming worn out, camp “k.z.” dress gets holes, no emigration news, “now we have more than 300 people with visas in hands without tickets”, 3 January 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 10 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough camp, Letter, Cunard White Line protected by a convoy, "Through Herbert Mosheim and Ernst Levy I made the acquaintance of an English family in Ash nr. Sandwich. You can't imagine such charming people", They invited Ernst Levy's wife, My business is better again, "I have now about 10-12 d a day extra", Played chess in hut on new year's eve, 3 January 1940, page 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Cunard White Line protected by a convoy, “Through Herbert Mosheim and Ernst Levy I made the acquaintance of an English family in Ash nr. Sandwich. You can’t imagine such charming people”, They invited Ernst Levy’s wife, My business is better again, “I have now about 10-12 d a day extra”, Played chess in hut on new year’s eve, 3 January 1940, page 2

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Got some free writing paper from a friend on honeymoon at Regent Palace Hotel, London, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Got some free writing paper from a friend on honeymoon at Regent Palace Hotel, London, page 1, 9 January 1940
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 10 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Wonders if son Peter will recognise him after so long, John should know and contact Vice-consul in London "who was formally in Hamburg", Many registered on the same day that Werner did, so John's letter might help, Needs a £20 payment, "The Committee are very reluctant with the payment, as they prefer the men to accept another job. Therefore, we cannot rely on it", page 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Wonders if son Peter will recognise him after so long, John should know and contact Vice-consul in London “who was formally in Hamburg”, Many registered on the same day that Werner did, so John’s letter might help, Needs a £20 payment, “The Committee are very reluctant with the payment, as they prefer the men to accept another job. Therefore, we cannot rely on it”, page 2

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Family illnesses in USA, page 3
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Family illnesses in USA, page 3

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Dilligently learning Spanish and shorthand, and "am far from getting an 'inferiority complex'", Some nice days, Levy arrived from Holland and they spent some merry afternoons, Cinema in Sandwich to see 'Broadway Serenade' with Jeanette McDonald, Yesterday played (?) in the German team against the Austrian one, "We won 3:2", My business is not so bad, Today I gave 3 private lessons, page 4
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Dilligently learning Spanish and shorthand, and “am far from getting an ‘inferiority complex'”, Some nice days, Levy arrived from Holland and they spent some merry afternoons, Cinema in Sandwich to see ‘Broadway Serenade’ with Jeanette McDonald, Yesterday played (?) in the German team against the Austrian one, “We won 3:2”, My business is not so bad, Today I gave 3 private lessons, page 4

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough transit camp, Letter, No US post has arrived in KC, all post subject to delays, Friday is weekly salary day, Reduced salary this week because of illness, Ongoing Consulate problems, 12 January 1940, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, No US post has arrived in KC, All post subject to delays, Friday is weekly salary day, Reduced salary this week because of illness, Ongoing Consulate problems, 12 January 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 10 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Family news, Missing his wife and family, 12 January 1940, page 2
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Family news, Missing his wife and family, 12 January 1940, page 2

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, "nobody knows what will happen tomorrow ... ! And we are left to pray and hope", "Today, at noon, I have been in the Camp-cinema. I saw a film with Conrad Veidt, very interesting", (Ed. Possibly 'Contraband'; released as 'Blackout' in the USA), Visiting Sandwich on Saturday "for my usual 'drink'", 12 January 1940, page 3
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, “nobody knows what will happen tomorrow … ! And we are left to pray and hope”, “Today, at noon, I have been in the Camp-cinema. I saw a film with Conrad Veidt, very interesting”, (Ed. Possibly ‘Contraband’; released as ‘Blackout’ in the USA), Visiting Sandwich on Saturday “for my usual ‘drink'”, 12 January 1940, page 3

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough transit camp, Letter, Family letters arrived, Change of hut reminder, "I believe that we will leave the camp in one or two months, but I hope that I can go straight to you", Nothing from Consulate, "the near tension of the Low Countries worries me", "I am living in a permanent fear that something might happen, e.g., my papers could be lost, Germany could invade Holland, USA might become involved in the war, a great aerial onslaught might begin", 16 January 1940, page 1
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, Family letters arrived, Change of hut reminder, “I believe that we will leave the camp in one or two months, but I hope that I can go straight to you”, Nothing from Consulate, “the near tension of the Low Countries worries me”, “I am living in a permanent fear that something might happen, e.g., my papers could be lost, Germany could invade Holland, USA might become involved in the war, a great aerial onslaught might begin”, 16 January 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 10 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, "Today, 27 medicals came from London", Worrying whether son will recognise him, "I hope further you have sold the piano to cover the debts", "the mail is interrupted sometimes and then subjected to censorship here", Last Saturday Herbert asked me to come along with him to see Peabody", Had tea with Edgar's wife "in their home - nearly all English have an own home - and we stayed there until 8pm", 16 January 1940, pages 2 and 3
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, “Today, 27 medicals came from London”, Worrying whether son will recognise him, “I hope further you have sold the piano to cover the debts”, “the mail is interrupted sometimes and then subjected to censorship here”, Last Saturday Herbert asked me to come along with him to see Peabody”, Had tea with Edgar’s wife “in their home – nearly all English have an own home – and we stayed there until 8pm”, 16 January 1940, pages 2 and 3

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough transit camp, Letter, "How nice these people are. They speak a very good and distinct English and I have a good profit of it", Invited with "two other boys" to go to Canterbury with Peabody family the next day to visit friends, Traveled by bus, paid for by Edgar Peabody, Arrived at "a sweet little cottage with one living room, both small walls of glass. The room was very new-fashioned ... a young couple, he designs furniture ... quite contrary to the usual furniture here which is awful", Stayed from 3pm to 8pm, "a wonderful afternoon", Asked to drop in again, 16 January 1940, page 4
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, “How nice these people are. They speak a very good and distinct English and I have a good profit of it”, Invited with “two other boys” to go to Canterbury with Peabody family the next day to visit friends, Traveled by bus, paid for by Edgar Peabody, Arrived at “a sweet little cottage with one living room, both small walls of glass. The room was very new-fashioned … a young couple, he designs furniture … quite contrary to the usual furniture here which is awful”, Stayed from 3pm to 8pm, “a wonderful afternoon”, Asked to drop in again, 16 January 1940, page 4

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, "You can scarecely imagine what it means to me under normal conditions, and therefore, this afternoon was grand", Going to see Maud and Edgar again this week, Maud makes him show his wife's pictures, "we feel like at home; we help cleaning the plates and dishes", My purse has been stolen including my ring, all keys and 4 shillings!" 16 January 1940, page 5
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, “You can scarecely imagine what it means to me under normal conditions, and therefore, this afternoon was grand”, Going to see Maud and Edgar again this week, Maud makes him show his wife’s pictures, “we feel like at home; we help cleaning the plates and dishes”, My purse has been stolen including my ring, all keys and 4 shillings!” 16 January 1940, page 5

 

Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Letter, “I am rather desperate about” the stolen ring, “We have lost so much, that we can miss even that, although it is a subject of special importance and remembrance”, 16 January 1940, page 6

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Mail taking 10 days to arrive from USA, Very cold - shaving brush and tooth brush are frozen every morning although kept in box in hut, "Much snow has fallen, even into the huts, if the roof was not durable", "Every morning, when I wake up, I find myself lying in bed with my head deeply hidden in the blankets, but, none the less, this chilliness is better than the wet cold which causes so many influenzas", News about Consulate, 20 January 1940, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Mail taking 10 days to arrive from USA, Very cold – shaving brush and tooth brush are frozen every morning although kept in box in hut, “Much snow has fallen, even into the huts, if the roof was not durable”, “Every morning, when I wake up, I find myself lying in bed with my head deeply hidden in the blankets, but, none the less, this chilliness is better than the wet cold which causes so many influenzas”, News about Consulate, 20 January 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 10 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Consulate and registration numbers, Sending "a few snapshots", Wrote letter for money "as I have to face big expenses ... the Committee does not pay anything except the visa fee", Business poor because 5 of classrooms have been occupied by others, Did not get stolen purse returned, Book 'English learning - a pleasure', Today had lesson with "a Sandwich mistress", Interesting "and she gave out candies!", No visit to Ash but intending to go, Been here half a year, Entertainment to be put on but "I am only waiting, waiting ...", 20 January 1940, pages 2 and 3
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Consulate and registration numbers, Sending “a few snapshots”, Wrote letter for money “as I have to face big expenses … the Committee does not pay anything except the visa fee”, Business poor because 5 of classrooms have been occupied by others, Did not get stolen purse returned, Book ‘English learning – a pleasure’, Today had lesson with “a Sandwich mistress”, Interesting “and she gave out candies!”, No visit to Ash but intending to go, Been here half a year, Entertainment to be put on but “I am only waiting, waiting …”, 20 January 1940, pages 2 and 3

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Bloomsbury House affidavit, Mail from Germany subject to interceptions, "Last night we celebrated our 'Stiftungsfest'. It was a really nice evening, Mohrenwitz is very gifted", Food 6d and a performance with sketches and a poem, Sketch urging people to learn English, 28 January 1940, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Bloomsbury House affidavit, Mail from Germany subject to interceptions, “Last night we celebrated our ‘Stiftungsfest’. It was a really nice evening, Mohrenwitz is very gifted”, Food 6d and a performance with sketches and a poem, Sketch urging people to learn English, 28 January 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 10 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, English essential for their future, Good to have entertainments because it improves mood, Enclosed photographs of camp, Cycled to Ash again on Thursday, Ate peaches and cream and cakes, Had to push the bike back because road so slippery, 28 January 1940, page 2
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, English essential for their future, Good to have entertainments because it improves mood, Enclosed photographs of camp, Cycled to Ash again on Thursday, Ate peaches and cream and cakes, Had to push the bike back because road so slippery, 28 January 1940, page 2

February 1940

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Missing wife, New affidavit, Jewish Aid Committee, Overseas Settlement will send a reply, 2 February 1940, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Missing wife, New affidavit, Jewish Aid Committee, Overseas Settlement will send a reply, 2 February 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 10 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Richborough transit camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, A new Consul has been appointed, much sharper than his predecessor, "As my affidavit will be expired and the deposit does not exist any longer I fear troubles", Consul likes 'Letter of Friendship', Not agreeable to have to beg but have to do all in our power, "Not many medicals up to now for this month". "It was a great loss for us that Ernst Levy, one of our Clique, left us some days ago to do his bit against Hitlerism. He has joined up, as many refugees do", "We become always fewer and fewer people, nearly every day 10-20 men leave the camp for good. And when is my turn? Now Herbert and I are alone and we stick fairly together. It makes life go more agreeably if you have somebody on whom you can rely, to whom you can tell your trobles, etc. And I am glad to have found him. He is a good comrade", To cinema twice recently - invited by two of my pupils in Sandwich, Saw The Lion has Wings about the Royal Air Force, Also saw comedy in camp cinema, "Probably I shall never go to the Cinema so often and cheap again like now", 2 February 1940, pages 2 and 3
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, A new Consul has been appointed, much sharper than his predecessor, “As my affidavit will be expired and the deposit does not exist any longer I fear troubles”, Consul likes ‘Letter of Friendship’, Not agreeable to have to beg but have to do all in our power, “Not many medicals up to now for this month”. “It was a great loss for us that Ernst Levy, one of our Clique, left us some days ago to do his bit against Hitlerism. He has joined up, as many refugees do”, “We become always fewer and fewer people, nearly every day 10-20 men leave the camp for good. And when is my turn? Now Herbert and I are alone and we stick fairly together. It makes life go more agreeably if you have somebody on whom you can rely, to whom you can tell your trobles, etc. And I am glad to have found him. He is a good comrade”, To cinema twice recently – invited by two of my pupils in Sandwich, Saw The Lion has Wings about the Royal Air Force, Also saw comedy in camp cinema, “Probably I shall never go to the Cinema so often and cheap again like now”, 2 February 1940, pages 2 and 3

 

Richborough transit camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Consulate problems, Papers from Hamburg not arrived, nd, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Consulate problems, Papers from Hamburg not arrived, nd, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 10 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, "Til few days ago the Committee did not pay any ticket or at least very few, but now matters turned out very friendly and the Kitchener Camp Committee is prepared to give you a ticket if you can secure 50% of the fare", "Many people who had no chance to get £40 are able to get £20", "I am very glad about this announcement, which was made in the frame of other favourable arrangements. ... The whole Camp was in a state of deterioration, it was cold, no [*] ship tickets", "Now a new work scheme has been established: everybody must work 8 hours and gets 31/2 sh a week ... or even 5 sh", "This is very good as people must work again which prevents them from quarrelling. On the other hand I am likely to lose my actual job as I don't believe that the Educational Dept. will be maintained", "I don't grieve as I am glad to work if I get paid for it", "Today I was told that in February only 500 [*} Numbers are at the Consul's disposal instead of 1200 in last months. This covers all England, not only the Camp", Has to move huts again at end of week - present hut needed, "It is really a pity because I had just accustomed to my new fellows and now I have to change again", Camp cinema again, nd, pages 2 and 3
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, “Til few days ago the Committee did not pay any ticket or at least very few, but now matters turned out very friendly and the Kitchener Camp Committee is prepared to give you a ticket if you can secure 50% of the fare”, “Many people who had no chance to get £40 are able to get £20”, “I am very glad about this announcement, which was made in the frame of other favourable arrangements. … The whole Camp was in a state of deterioration, it was cold, no [*] ship tickets”, “Now a new work scheme has been established: everybody must work 8 hours and gets 31/2 sh a week … or even 5 sh”, “This is very good as people must work again which prevents them from quarrelling. On the other hand I am likely to lose my actual job as I don’t believe that the Educational Dept. will be maintained”, “I don’t grieve as I am glad to work if I get paid for it”, “Today I was told that in February only 500 [*} Numbers are at the Consul’s disposal instead of 1200 in last months. This covers all England, not only the Camp”, Has to move huts again at end of week – present hut needed, “It is really a pity because I had just accustomed to my new fellows and now I have to change again”, Camp cinema again, nd, pages 2 and 3

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Invited for dinner in Sandwich, "I ate Liver, [*] and Sauerkraut - excellent!" "I put all my things in order, repaired my socks myself for the first time! Ironed my shirts", "All linen suffers very much from the laundry", nd, page 4
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Invited for dinner in Sandwich, “I ate Liver, [*] and Sauerkraut – excellent!” “I put all my things in order, repaired my socks myself for the first time! Ironed my shirts”, “All linen suffers very much from the laundry”, nd, page 4

Werner Gembicki, Richborough transit camp, Hut 19/II, Letter, Otto Schiff, Stuck in England, War delaying visa delay, request to postpone ship ticket date, 20 January 1940
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 19/II, Letter, Otto Schiff, Stuck in England, War delaying visa delay, request to postpone ship ticket date, 20 January 1940
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, You can never know how many letters will be lost in these times, I am going to work here after I have finished writing, 12 February 1940, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, You can never know how many letters will be lost in these times, I am going to work here after I have finished writing, 12 February 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, What is America like, Does Peter already speak English, I enclose a copy of the letter I sent to Mrs Peabody. You know, this lady sent a copy of the (?) to me, another to the Committee. And the application itself to the Consulate, My papers have not arrived yet in London, I expect my visa in the beginning of April; February is already finished up but in March many people are to get their visas, I hope my papers arrived in the meantime, Immediately when I get the medical I sent you a telegram, Unfortunately, my means are rather limited ... But I can earn now 5 shillings per week and 3 or 4 through private lessons, so I hope to fill my purse. Yesterday I bought a new (scarf?) for 4 sh., as both my hats are of poor quality and lost their (?), 12 February 1940, page 2 and 3
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, What is America like, Does Peter already speak English, I enclose a copy of the letter I sent to Mrs Peabody. You know, this lady sent a copy of the (?) to me, another to the Committee. And the application itself to the Consulate, My papers have not arrived yet in London, I expect my visa in the beginning of April; February is already finished up but in March many people are to get their visas, I hope my papers arrived in the meantime, Immediately when I get the medical I sent you a telegram, Unfortunately, my means are rather limited … But I can earn now 5 shillings per week and 3 or 4 through private lessons, so I hope to fill my purse. Yesterday I bought a new (scarf?) for 4 sh., as both my hats are of poor quality and lost their (?), 12 February 1940, page 2 and 3

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, I moved ... to Hut 24/I together with Herbert and some other lads. But as the old hut has not been taken over yet, we still use it ... Of course, I was in the cinema again and saw 'Tarzan' rather ? but splendid natural studies. To-morrow I go again. Yesterday I was in Ash with Jupp (Herbert is on leave in London) and had a really nice time. I learn a lot through them. Suddenly I got rheumatism in my upper left arm, no wonder in this (?) But I am already cured with (?) and massage. But, apart from it I am quite well and you need not bother about me (if you do at all?), 12 February 1940, page 4
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, I moved … to Hut 24/I together with Herbert and some other lads. But as the old hut has not been taken over yet, we still use it … Of course, I was in the cinema again and saw ‘Tarzan’ rather ? but splendid natural studies. To-morrow I go again. Yesterday I was in Ash with Jupp (Herbert is on leave in London) and had a really nice time. I learn a lot through them. Suddenly I got rheumatism in my upper left arm, no wonder in this (?) But I am already cured with (?) and massage. But, apart from it I am quite well and you need not bother about me (if you do at all?), 12 February 1940, page 4

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Envelope, Letter 22, 14 February 1949
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Envelope, Letter 22, 14 February 1949

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Hut 24/I, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Hut 24/I, 14 February 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Hut 24/I, Now you are already working, and I am not enthusiastic about it. But you are quite right; here all women work in the same job, and even Horowitz's wife, who (he) has plenty of money, has a domestic job. And it appears that you found a nice position. I hope Peter will get accomstomed to his new surroundings. I earn 5 shillings a week, which is really quite a lot here. But unfortunately the exchange rate is very unfavourable and my whole salary is only $1. But for 5 sh I could buy a pyjama (?) for instance or a shirt. But I think $1 is not much in USA, page 2
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Hut 24/I, Now you are already working, and I am not enthusiastic about it. But you are quite right; here all women work in the same job, and even Horowitz’s wife, who (he) has plenty of money, has a domestic job. And it appears that you found a nice position. I hope Peter will get accomstomed to his new surroundings. I earn 5 shillings a week, which is really quite a lot here. But unfortunately the exchange rate is very unfavourable and my whole salary is only $1. But for 5 sh I could buy a pyjama (?) for instance or a shirt. But I think $1 is not much in USA, 14 February 1940, page 2

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, The Committee in London pays half the fare, send the other half to Barclays Bank, Sandwich at my disposal and not at the Camp one's. I believe after you have been for my sake in the Concentration Camp, you will not fail to do this for me, too. I am very industrious now, and besides my teaching, I earn money by translating letters and petitions, 21 February 1940, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, The Committee in London pays half the fare, send the other half to Barclays Bank, Sandwich at my disposal and not at the Camp one’s. I believe after you have been for my sake in the Concentration Camp, you will not fail to do this for me, too. I am very industrious now, and besides my teaching, I earn money by translating letters and petitions, 21 February 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Herbert brought me a marvellous sausage from London which Kate Levy the wife of my friend Ernst Levy who is now with the Army in France had given him for me and Jupp. These are our joys and pleasure. But it is really no longer so bad here and unless there were that fear of hostilities and the longing for you, I should think twice, whether I would prefer USA or England. The life in England is very comfortable and there is not such an exploit of the men like in USA. Really I should like to remain here, if the above mentioned causes were not relevant. Gradually we are approching Spring, which on the one hand is of course nice, on the other hand there are so many prophesies about an deterioration of warfare that I don't know what is better, The whole life consists nearly only of the question: how many medicals have arrived to-day and which is the registration number on them. 21 February 1940, page 2
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Herbert brought me a marvellous sausage from London which Kate Levy the wife of my friend Ernst Levy who is now with the Army in France had given him for me and Jupp. These are our joys and pleasure. But it is really no longer so bad here and unless there were that fear of hostilities and the longing for you, I should think twice, whether I would prefer USA or England. The life in England is very comfortable and there is not such an exploit of the men like in USA. Really I should like to remain here, if the above mentioned causes were not relevant. Gradually we are approching Spring, which on the one hand is of course nice, on the other hand there are so many prophesies about an deterioration of warfare that I don’t know what is better, The whole life consists nearly only of the question: how many medicals have arrived to-day and which is the registration number on them. 21 February 1940, page 2

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Has received letter from mother, Letters not arriving from USA to Germany, Reports of forced emigration and deportation to Lublin, Worrying about tickets and money, We had some nice days here. On Saturday afternoon I went with Mohrenwitz and Männe Stern to Sandwich: it was very funny as always, when Mohrenwitz is in the party. We had some coffee and in the evening there was a variety show in the camp. Yesterday I was in Ash with Herbert; it was enjoyable as always. We played at cards and I learnt some new games. Now a little surprise: I am going to change my actual profession as a teacher for that of a ... driver! Männe Stern, whom I mentioned above, is a driver and he gave me lessons to brush up my old knowledge of driving, 26 February 1940, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Has received letter from mother, Letters not arriving from USA to Germany, Reports of forced emigration and deportation to Lublin, Worrying about tickets and money, We had some nice days here. On Saturday afternoon I went with Mohrenwitz and Männe Stern to Sandwich: it was very funny as always, when Mohrenwitz is in the party. We had some coffee and in the evening there was a variety show in the camp. Yesterday I was in Ash with Herbert; it was enjoyable as always. We played at cards and I learnt some new games. Now a little surprise: I am going to change my actual profession as a teacher for that of a … driver! Männe Stern, whom I mentioned above, is a driver and he gave me lessons to brush up my old knowledge of driving, 26 February 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, As there is a vacancy I hope that I can come into this group. I think it is very much better than teacher, because I shall learn to drive a lorry safely and perfectly. This morning I had a little accident. The lorry was heavily loaden and I had forgotten to take this into account. Therefore I drove a curve too round and had a collision with a notice board poster which crashed. There was a great noise and officers and sargeants came up to us. Männe Stern got scolded because he is of course not allowed to let other people drive. But, nevertheless, I hope to come into this group in the next days. It can only be good when I can drive well in USA. At any rate, it is great fun, do you remember how fond we were of driving, and now even with a lorry in the Camp. At first I shall not be permitted to drive outside the Camp, as I have no English license, but perhaps later ... And I can go on giving my private lessons, as there is plenty of time left. I do love you more than ever, and it is impossible to imagine that we argued sometimes about some trifles. But we did not do that after my release from the KZ, Money problems ongoing, 26 February 1940, page 2 and 3
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, As there is a vacancy I hope that I can come into this group. I think it is very much better than teacher, because I shall learn to drive a lorry safely and perfectly. This morning I had a little accident. The lorry was heavily loaden and I had forgotten to take this into account. Therefore I drove a curve too round and had a collision with a notice board poster which crashed. There was a great noise and officers and sargeants came up to us. Männe Stern got scolded because he is of course not allowed to let other people drive. But, nevertheless, I hope to come into this group in the next days. It can only be good when I can drive well in USA. At any rate, it is great fun, do you remember how fond we were of driving, and now even with a lorry in the Camp. At first I shall not be permitted to drive outside the Camp, as I have no English license, but perhaps later … And I can go on giving my private lessons, as there is plenty of time left. I do love you more than ever, and it is impossible to imagine that we argued sometimes about some trifles. But we did not do that after my release from the KZ, Money problems ongoing, 26 February 1940, page 2 and 3

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Letters recived, family news, 26 February 1949, page 3
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Letters recived, family news, 26 February 1949, page 3

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Paperwork for emigration incorrect, Matter is urgent because the quota year expires in April, Letter of Friendship, In the meantime rules have become more difficult, 27 February 1940
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Paperwork for emigration incorrect, Matter is urgent because the quota year expires in April, Letter of Friendship, In the meantime rules have become more difficult, 27 February 1940
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, From Foreign Service of the USA, American Consulate General, London, Evidence for Visa application insufficient
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, From Foreign Service of the USA, American Consulate General, London, Evidence for Visa application insufficient
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

March 1940

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, American Consulate, Visa problems, 2 March 1940, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, American Consulate, Visa problems, 2 March 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Money and visa problems, Yesterday I ceased to be a teacher. From to-morrow on I shall start driving. Two days ago I was tested by the foreman, and I had luck and came through. But, really, I am a little bit afraid as the roads in the Camp are very narrow and difficult, and a lorry is no toy. The most difficult thing is to get the motor working as there is no electric starter, but only a handle. Up to now I always failed to turn it on, but I hope I'll succeed. Becauseit is a (?) to ask another one to turn the handle. But, if I stand the first four weeks, you may be sure that I can drive them. And that is what I am striving at. By the way I had another chance. I had the occasion to (?) the Overseas Settlement, and I must confess I pondered very long which to prefer. It might be that I had a chance in the Overseas to see to my own affairs better than from outside, and perhaps, I should have been preferred with regard to the ticket. 2 March 1940, page 2
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Money and visa problems, Yesterday I ceased to be a teacher. From to-morrow on I shall start driving. Two days ago I was tested by the foreman, and I had luck and came through. But, really, I am a little bit afraid as the roads in the Camp are very narrow and difficult, and a lorry is no toy. The most difficult thing is to get the motor working as there is no electric starter, but only a handle. Up to now I always failed to turn it on, but I hope I’ll succeed. Becauseit is a (?) to ask another one to turn the handle. But, if I stand the first four weeks, you may be sure that I can drive them. And that is what I am striving at. By the way I had another chance. I had the occasion to (?) the Overseas Settlement, and I must confess I pondered very long which to prefer. It might be that I had a chance in the Overseas to see to my own affairs better than from outside, and perhaps, I should have been preferred with regard to the ticket, 2 March 1940, page 2

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, I'll now learn driving which can be advantageous in USA and furthermore, I can go on giving private lessons, what could be impossible in the Overseas, as they have a very strenuous load from 8am to 10pm. Thus I decided finally to join the transport group. Yesterday I had a big luxury. I had a baths in Sandwich, which cost me 6d. But it was wonderful to lie in the water and thinking of you! ... I kept you the faith, which most husbands have not done so! ... Now I have a nice room at my disposal. The Director, Mr May, left the Camp / with him Miss Gottschalk (?), whom I saw sometimes; she got the medical on March 17th ... Now Mr Mohrenwitz has got the order to look after his flat, which was a very nicely furnished hut. Of course, I can come and go. There are four (?), Mohrenwitz sleeps in one of them and offered me to come in, too, but I refused as this hut will soon be needed for others purposes, and I had to move then again. But, there is a bath and I can use it as often as I want. Then we can play Bridge and Chess there, etc., Just now I hear 'La Paloma' and am going to become quite sad. Do you remember that (?) music always used to touch me very much, 2 March 1940, page 3
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, I’ll now learn driving which can be advantageous in USA and furthermore, I can go on giving private lessons, what could be impossible in the Overseas, as they have a very strenuous load from 8am to 10pm. Thus I decided finally to join the transport group. Yesterday I had a big luxury. I had a baths in Sandwich, which cost me 6d. But it was wonderful to lie in the water and thinking of you! … I kept you the faith, which most husbands have not done so! … Now I have a nice room at my disposal. The Director, Mr May, left the Camp / with him Miss Gottschalk (?), whom I saw sometimes; she got the medical on March 17th … Now Mr Mohrenwitz has got the order to look after his flat, which was a very nicely furnished hut. Of course, I can come and go. There are four (?), Mohrenwitz sleeps in one of them and offered me to come in, too, but I refused as this hut will soon be needed for others purposes, and I had to move then again. But, there is a bath and I can use it as often as I want. Then we can play Bridge and Chess there, etc., Just now I hear ‘La Paloma’ and am going to become quite sad. Do you remember that (?) music always used to touch me very much, 2 March 1940, page 3

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Mohrenwitz could go to USA in a week, but had proferred staying here another three weeks, I am very glad about it as he (?) of very good connexions and can perhaps help me in this or that way. He is really very nice ... By the way, Herbert, who got the same claim from the Consulate, got already his new papers, and so it is very probable that we don't sail together, as he sent the new ones to the Consulate. This afternoon I am going to Sandwich on the usual Saturday afternoon tour, 2 March 1940, page 4
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Mohrenwitz could go to USA in a week, but had proferred staying here another three weeks, I am very glad about it as he (?) of very good connexions and can perhaps help me in this or that way. He is really very nice … By the way, Herbert, who got the same claim from the Consulate, got already his new papers, and so it is very probable that we don’t sail together, as he sent the new ones to the Consulate. This afternoon I am going to Sandwich on the usual Saturday afternoon tour, 2 March 1940, page 4

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Visa problems, Family matters, Our Overseas had advised all men who went for their summons to London yesterday to tell the Consul that 50% of the fare has been paid by the Committee while the men paid the other 50% themselves. (?) the Consul has not given the visas to those who said so, but had requested that they should present a ticket at first. Then they could get their visas. You probably know that it is US Immigration Law that every emigrant must payed the ticket himself ... it is probable that in future everybody must present his ticket when summoned, perhaps even a sworn statement that the Committee has not contributed everything ... Today I (?) with Manfred: an old tennis-player and close friend to (?) he had another brother and sister playing tennis as well? I don't remember the name, do you know whom I mean? He has come from London where he lived for one year to join up the Army, 5 March 1940, page 2
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Visa problems, Family matters, Our Overseas had advised all men who went for their summons to London yesterday to tell the Consul that 50% of the fare has been paid by the Committee while the men paid the other 50% themselves. (?) the Consul has not given the visas to those who said so, but had requested that they should present a ticket at first. Then they could get their visas. You probably know that it is US Immigration Law that every emigrant must payed the ticket himself … it is probable that in future everybody must present his ticket when summoned, perhaps even a sworn statement that the Committee has not contributed everything … Today I (?) with Manfred: an old tennis-player and close friend to (?) he had another brother and sister playing tennis as well? I don’t remember the name, do you know whom I mean? He has come from London where he lived for one year to join up the Army, 5 March 1940, page 2
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Since yesterday I entered my new position as driver. It is very interesting. I have to clean the cars - private and lorries - to grease them, to make small repairs and so on. Furthermore, I have to drive. I must confess that I am still a little bit anxious about this, as it is rather difficult to drive here, but I am quite sure that I shall have learnt it in a short time. Apart from my lorry I drove this morning a Ford V8 which has been rebuilt to a small lorry. It was marvellous, and never in my life I have driven such a wonderful engine. In any case, I am very glad to have this opportunity and my foreman is very nice and shows me everything. Therefore, I am sure that I shall be a good driver when I come to USA. And this is not wrong with respect to the position of a married couple which you suggested to me. In the evening hours I continue giving private lessons, as far as my time permits. Mohrenwitz will prpbably arrive in NY in the beginning of April. He will get in touch with you; please, be kind to him he was very nice to me here ... I am just writing this letter in the flat of our former Director - I told you that he has been appointed care-taker for it and it is of course very quiet, 5 March 1940, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Since yesterday I entered my new position as driver. It is very interesting. I have to clean the cars – private and lorries – to grease them, to make small repairs and so on. Furthermore, I have to drive. I must confess that I am still a little bit anxious about this, as it is rather difficult to drive here, but I am quite sure that I shall have learnt it in a short time. Apart from my lorry I drove this morning a Ford V8 which has been rebuilt to a small lorry. It was marvellous, and never in my life I have driven such a wonderful engine. In any case, I am very glad to have this opportunity and my foreman is very nice and shows me everything. Therefore, I am sure that I shall be a good driver when I come to USA. And this is not wrong with respect to the position of a married couple which you suggested to me. In the evening hours I continue giving private lessons, as far as my time permits. Mohrenwitz will prpbably arrive in NY in the beginning of April. He will get in touch with you; please, be kind to him he was very nice to me here … I am just writing this letter in the flat of our former Director – I told you that he has been appointed care-taker for it and it is of course very quiet, 5 March 1940, page 1
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York

 

Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Family news, Letter of Friendship, 6 March 1940, page 1
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, To Aunt Ella, Family news, Letter of Friendship, 6 March 1940, page 1

 

Richborough camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Items not arriving through post, After all these years of hardship and troubles I am so longing for a peaceful life without that permanent fear of something unforeseen which will spoil everything which had been built up before. Since the November 10th, 1938 I have always been followed by misluck, first the Concentration Camp, then my deportation from Holland, then my emigration to England and finally the war, which means such a long separation from my wife. But I learnt a good English expression: keep your chin up - and this rules my life now. The Camp life has improved somewhat; first of all, the food has become better, and now, when the Winter disappears, life conditions are likely to become still better. On the other hand, there is War, and just the East Coast is a frequent target for enemy aircraft. Fortunately, the war has not begun its real extent, and so long life is comaratively agreeable here. I hope so that Hitler will be swept away from the earth after having destroyed so many lives and fortunes. Perhaps, the German people will understand whom they are following so blindly and will finish up with the whole system of oppression and outrage, 6 March 1940, page 2
Kitchener camp, Werner Gembicki, Letter, Items not arriving through post, After all these years of hardship and troubles I am so longing for a peaceful life without that permanent fear of something unforeseen which will spoil everything which had been built up before. Since the November 10th, 1938 I have always been followed by misluck, first the Concentration Camp, then my deportation from Holland, then my emigration to England and finally the war, which means such a long separation from my wife. But I learnt a good English expression: keep your chin up – and this rules my life now. The Camp life has improved somewhat; first of all, the food has become better, and now, when the Winter disappears, life conditions are likely to become still better. On the other hand, there is War, and just the East Coast is a frequent target for enemy aircraft. Fortunately, the war has not begun its real extent, and so long life is comparatively agreeable here. I hope so that Hitler will be swept away from the earth after having destroyed so many lives and fortunes. Perhaps, the German people will understand whom they are following so blindly and will finish up with the whole system of oppression and outrage, 6 March 1940, page 2

 

Werner Gembicki, Richborough transmigrant, Hut 27/I, Postcard, 6 November 1940, address
Werner Gembicki, Kitchener camp, Hut 27/I, Postcard, 6 November 1940, address
Werner and Vera Gamby Family Collection, AR 25617, Box 1 Folder 3 at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York