Marking the New Year

From Our Collections

New Year's card that 12-year-old Flore Henle wrote to her parents, Leopold and Jenny

Flore Henle was born in 1920 in the village of Lehrensteinsfeld, in southwestern Germany, to parents Leopold-Yehuda and Jenny née Weil.  Flore had a brother, Albert (b. 1909), from Leopold's previous marriage.  Leopold was a landowner and cattle trader, and the family owned a restaurant, run by Jenny. The Henles maintained a traditional Jewish lifestyle.

Eleven Jews lived in Lehrensteinsfeld in 1933.  After the Nazi's rise to power, Leopold began to incur financial losses.  Debtors refused to pay, and Leopold was summoned to the offices of the Gestapo for questioning, in the course of which he was brutally beaten.  In 1936, Albert immigrated to Eretz Israel (Mandatory Palestine).  Flore left the village and moved to Stuttgart, where she found work.  Leopold visited his son in 1938, and returned to Germany full of enthusiasm about his son's new life.  Their deteriorating financial situation forced Leopold and Jenny to sell their house for a fraction of its worth.  They packed up their belongings, and prepared to leave the village, but during the Kristallnacht pogrom, their possessions were ransacked and destroyed.  Leopold and Jenny moved to a small apartment in Ludwigsburg, and Flore joined a Hachshara (pioneer training) farm in Urfeld on the banks of the Rhine.  In August 1939, Flore managed to leave Germany and reach England.  There, she obtained an entry permit to Eretz Israel, reaching her destination via Egypt in March 1940.  Leopold, who never recovered from his beating, died in August 1940.  Left alone, Jenny started working in a Jewish home for the elderly in Sontheim. 

Flore met Moshe Rothschild, who immigrated to Eretz Israel from Germany in 1935, and they got engaged.  Jenny and Flore corresponded with each other, and when Jenny heard about her daughter's engagement, she sent her furniture and bedding from Germany.  On 1 December 1941, Jenny Henle was deported from Stuttgart to Latvia.  She was murdered in the Jungfernhof camp in March 1942.