Max Kaiser – Letters

Max Kaiser – born in Germany, in 1911

Profession in country of origin: University of Breslau – a teacher

Arrived in Britain as a refugee from Germany in 1939

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Below, a three-page letter to Werner Weissenberg, from Max, 29 March 1938

Werner and Max were at the University of Breslau together in the early 1930s

A translation into English follows

From the family collection of Werner Weissenberg
From the family collection of Werner Weissenberg
From the family collection of Werner Weissenberg

Breslau, 29th March, 1938

Dear Werner,

Many thanks for the letter, which arrived so soon after my last letter. I am gradually feeling more settled and I will give you a short account of my exams. On Monday the 8th February I had class activities in the presence of the assistant master Hermann, in Chemistry. Old Dietrich has been pensioned off. As you know, I wrote three articles on colloids, acids and alkali. I didn’t do very well in the Oral. I have already written to you about that. On Friday 4th February there were 4–5 hours of Physics, Quantum Mechanics and thermodynamics at a higher and lower level. Van der Waal gases. [Editor’s note: Van der Waal was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1910 for his work on gases]. First I was tested by Scharrerkorper with easier tasks relating to mechanics, then thermodynamics, electromagnetic capacitors, self induction, sparks and optics – that is to say polarisation preparation and authentication. I failed completely on that score. That damned quarter leaflet. ^.7 hr consisted of Radon 40 minutes, geometrics + 5 minutes theory of activities and then the rest. Definitions of the normal curves, the lecture that you once skipped, various theories for example K= 0 H= 0. There was a question to answer about the function and variation of computing, which was easy. Saturday was philosophy. End.

Now I am at the grammar school in Breslau – at my own request and Vera’s I was transferred. I start on the 25 April. I hope to get an increase from the Ministry; it doesn’t have to be 60.

How are things with you? Have you completed your work for the examiner? When do you get the opportunity to register with the ministry?

Please write to me in detail about it. What are you doing in Frankfurt? If you pass this way you can look at all my work, not before then. There is nothing happening here apart from the football, which I will soon tell you about. I am having an extension to my little house. The materials for it are from my father-in-law. I think back with horror about the chess game which we had and the philosophical conversations now no longer held. Otherwise nothing has changed. Else still talks a lot and Adolar still plays chess tournaments.

And so for football: if you are not already aware of this, listen. Just as I prophesised, it really happened – Gto six times master has retired; that shouldn’t have happened. We had to have two men to replace him. The other nine belong to Elf, who were winners last year. You will remember that I already foresaw the decline last year, but I never dreamt that it would really happen. Yes, yes, ever since old W. died, it’s all over. I don’t know how Saarbrucken fared. I expect they were overall winners. There are going to be some good games for you to watch. I am not going to see any of them. The Vorwarts (first team) are playing in Gleiwitz; up to now I am not satisfied. The start was bad, but it can still improve. There is no way they will ever make the first league. That will be fortunate but I think they will make the second league. Now I have prattled on for too long.

Many greetings from your

Max

Don’t forget to write to me

Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed., geboren Steinhardt

 


Below, a second letter to Werner Weissenberg, from Max, 18 October 1938

A translation into English follows

From the family collection of Werner Weissenberg
From the family collection of Werner Weissenberg
From the family collection of Werner Weissenberg
From the family collection of Werner Weissenberg

 

Breslau, 18th October, 1938

Dear Werner

You will be cross with me that you have not heard from me for such a long time. I am a lazy correspondent, even more than before. Anyway, thank you belatedly for your friendly congratulations on my wedding. It was a great shame that you could not be with us on the day. Anyway, our wedding was very jolly. Now I am an old husband, Arthur Toczek has also congratulated us. He is, don’t laugh, happy to be a father to a little girl.* What do you say to that? After our wedding we travelled for a few days, then school began straight away and I had to teach 15 lessons. You know that as a beginner you have to work damned hard. Now you will be interested to know what lessons I have to give. I am deputy teacher for 2b and I give 3 hours of Maths lessons and 2 hours of geography. Haha. Up to now I give 3b 2 hours geography. I am standing in for another colleague who has emigrated. I don’t have to continue forever with these lessons of his. Furthermore, I teach 3 hours of Physics with 4A. One of these lessons consists of practical work, the other 2 are exercises. Optics is also offered. I have to carry on with these until Easter. Finally, I teach 5 lessons of physics to Class 5. This is quite easy for me. One hour of chemistry and 2 x 2 hours of practical physics, which are divided into sections. The aim of the lessons is electricity. At the moment I am dealing with the magnetic effects on currents. Pupils can test this. The remaining 13 hours I will carry on with until Easter. Even the Gods don’t know what will happen after then, because I am responsible for planning the timetable, as none of my other colleagues know how to do it. I have within 3 days brought the winter plan hopefully to termination. Tomorrow school starts. I am already looking forward to the complaints. But I am not changing anything, however much they shout. The main thing is that my boss and my tutor, who incidentally is female, are satisfied. That is all I have to tell you about my employment. Next time you travel home, you must stay in Breslau a bit longer so that we can have a conversation. How are things with you? You must be on the way to being an assistant teacher. When are you qualifying? Here, one trainee teacher and 3 other passed their probation. It doesn’t seem to be that difficult. I expect you will be better informed about that yourself. How did you like Berlin and what is the school like there? Did you visit Walter Bernstein? I hope to see you soon as a newly qualified teacher. There is a lot for us to talk about until then many regards

From your Max

Dear Werner

I too thank you very much for your congratulations on my wedding. I am so very sorry that you were not able to take part in our celebration. Will you be coming to Breslau? I am sure you will look in on us and we will be delighted with your visit. I hope my lines will find you in the best of health.

Best wishes Vera.

My Mother also sends you greetings.

Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed., geboren Steinhardt

* The little girl referred to here is almost certainly Neomi Nora Toczek, born 28.7.1938 in Hamburg; on 14.7.42 she was deported to Theresienstadt, and on 19.10.1944 she was deported onwards again to Auschwitz. See Artur Toczek’s page for further information on the family.

The envelope that enabled us to decipher Max’s name is shown below, with the postmark date confirming it goes with this letter.