December 19, 1938 - Klaus Langer


December 19, 1938




The Diary of Klaus Langer 

Klaus Langer was a German-Jewish boy who was eight years old when Adolf Hitler became the leader of Germany. He was not the only young diary writer to record his experiences under Nazi persecution, but he was one of the few to do so from a German perspective. Many other writers’ accounts began with the dramatic events surrounding the invasion of their countries during World War II.

find a new home

Klaus’ parents, like many other German Jews, raced to get things in order so that they could emigrate quickly. Unfortunately, it was a detailed and time-consuming process with many obstacles along the way. Klaus recorded their frustrations and setbacks. On December 19, 1938, he wrote, “Regarding the emigration of my parents, I have the following to report. First came two refusals from Argentina for lack of letters of credit.  The rich uncle in America is unable to assume such a financial responsibility. We don’t have an affidavit for the U.S. India requires firm employment there or a contract. Father is now trying to make connections in India to obtain a contract.” Klaus’ diary entry for this day went on to mention five other possible destinations that were most likely out of their reach.

Many people ask why the rest of the world didn’t do more to help the Jews during the war years when news of the “Final Solution” began to spread. More could have been done at that time, but the real missed opportunity came after the violence of Kristallnacht rendered the Nazi’s intent crystal clear. Thousands of lives could have been saved if other countries had opened their doors to Jewish refugees on an emergency basis. Sadly, this did not happen.

Klaus Langer’s diary was included in a book entitled, Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder.

Read more about Kristallnacht and hear Holocaust survivor recollections.Excerpts from Klaus Langer’s diary may be found in Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder.