Police report of 23 March 1942

First page of the police report of 1942First page of the police report of 1942

Deposition of Leonhard Freidel, farmer, born 13.11.1892 in Ernsbach, residing in Ernsbach:

Heinrich List, myself and the Pole Klack have been working together in the forest. About a fortnight ago – I don’t remember the exact date – the Pole Klack told me that he had a fight with his boss about food. Among other things he told me that List had been hosting a stranger at his home. He added that that person had been in List's home since November 1941. Without giving it much thought, I told the Pole that I believed it was probably a Jew. The Pole responded: "Yes, I think so too. Looks like a kike". He also said that the stranger had black hair and a mustache. The following day he told me that the stranger's underwear bore the initials F.S. I reported about this to my family during dinner. To this my daughter-in-law said that it must be Ferdinand Strauss. In the coming days I told the Pole he should ask him if he knew the Jew Emil Strauss, the cattle dealer….Among others the Pole told me that the stranger would eat his meals with them. When I asked if there were others who came to List's home, he said that whenever the house door would open, the stranger would disappear into another room. He also said that he had seen the stranger sitting in the closet. Last Thursday or Friday the Pole told me that the Jew had disappeared. Shortly afterwards, possibly the following day, the Pole said that the Jew had reappeared in the evening, and that he was gone by morning. Whether this person is at present here or not, I cannot tell. I would like to add that the sister of Mrs. List, Mrs Weyrauch, who lives in Ernsbach, worked for the dubious Jew-family for many years. The Jew family used to own a shop in Michelstadt, and the family List used to buy a lot from the Jew family.

Statement of Heinrich List, 23.3.1942

I admit that I have hosted the Jew Ferdinand Strauss in my home from the middle of November 1941 until eight days ago. The Jew in question came to me in Ernsbach one morning in mid-November 1941. That day I was working in the field. My wife was at home and took him in. When I came home I asked him what he planned to do here. He told me that his uncle, Adolf Strauss, who resided in Frankfurt/Main, had died and that his aunt killed herself with poison. As he was now left all alone, he decided to come to us for several days. I don't know the name of the street in Frankfurt where his uncle Adolf lived. Ferdinand's father used to live in Michelstadt. After his father's death, his mother moved to America. I don’t know when this was. I know however that she moved after the [Nazi] seizure of power. Since I had business with Strauss before the seizure of power and since my sister in law, Katharinga Weyrauch who resides in Erbach used to work for the Strauss family for many years, I bought some linen and furniture from the Jew's mother before she left. After Ferdinand Strauss' mother moved, he went to Frankfurt/Main to stay with his uncle. In the period between the time he moved to stay with his uncle in Frankfurt/Main and the day in mid November 1941 when he reappeared, I had no contact with him whatsoever. Shortly before Christmas 1941 Ferdinand Strauss went again to Frankfurt/Main. One evening, shortly after New Year, he came again with my worker Wojciek Klack. I then let him stay until 16 March 1942. He told me that he intended to return to Frankfurt.

Question: How was it possible that your Polish worker could provide such exact information about Ferdinand Strauss?

Answer: My worker and the Jew would eat their meals at our table. When someone would come, he would disappear in another room. During the days he would stay in one of our rooms. The Jew participated in everything in our common life – he listened to the news on the radio and to music. He didn't listen to foreign radio broadcasts. He never made any derogatory comments to me or to my wife. I cannot tell whether he read the newspaper….Most of the time he spent with a book that he had brought along. As far as I know it was an English book. He slept alone in a room.

Question: For what reason did you let the Jew Ferdinand Strauss into your home and kept him hidden?

Answer: Because we had known him well since his childhood and he was now all alone.

Question: Why didn't you report him to the police?

Answer: I am not well-informed about the instructions and I didn’t know that I had to report his whereabouts to the police. It is not that my hosting him was motivated by subversive interests. It was merely that I felt sorry for him and let him stay because we knew him very well in the past and had good business relations with him.