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Heartbreaking letter is returned to Holocaust survivors relatives

A letter written by a Holocaust survivor to her sister telling how their whole family had died  has been returned to her family 75 years after it was written after it was discovered at a New York flea market.

Ilse Loewenberg, who died in 2001 aged 92,  penned a letter to her sister in 1945 describing her life under the Nazi regime, including how she jumped out of train on the way to Auschwitz only to be captured again in Berlin. 

Her sister Carla had moved to London prior to World War II and avoided persecution by the Nazis, however their parents were among the six million Jews killed by Hitler’s regime.

Last year, the letter, which was lost for more than 75 years was discovered by Chelsey Brown, 28, an interior designer and ‘heirloom detective’ at a flea market in New York. 

She managed to track down Carla and llse’s great-niece Jill Butler, who has been reunited with family heirloom. 

Speaking to FEMAIL, Jill said that she thought it was ‘a scam’ when Chelsy first got in touch, but is ‘in awe’ of the work she’s done. 

Ilse Loewenberg, (left) who died in 2001 aged 92, penned a letter to her sister Carla (right)  in 1945 describing her life under the Nazi regime, including how she jumped out of train on the way to Auschwitz only to be captured again in Berlin. Their great-niece Jill (centre) now has it

Last year, the letter, which was lost for more than 75 years was discovered by Chelsey Brown, 28, an interior designer and 'heirloom detective' at a flea market in New York. She managed to track down Carla and llse's great-niece Jill Butler, who has been reunited with family heirloom. Jill and Carla are pictured

Last year, the letter, which was lost for more than 75 years was discovered by Chelsey Brown, 28, an interior designer and ‘heirloom detective’ at a flea market in New York. She managed to track down Carla and llse’s great-niece Jill Butler, who has been reunited with family heirloom. Jill and Carla are pictured

Last year, the letter, which was lost for more than 75 years was discovered by Chelsey Brown, 28, an interior designer and 'heirloom detective' at a flea market in New York.

Last year, the letter, which was lost for more than 75 years was discovered by Chelsey Brown, 28, an interior designer and ‘heirloom detective’ at a flea market in New York.

Timeline: When was Ilse sent to Auschwitz, how did she escape and when did she contact her sister?

1908:  Ilse Loewenberg was born to shop owners Simon Berghausen (1870-1943) and Hannchen (Goldschmidt) Berghausen in Büren, Germany. She had three sisters, Margarete, Carla and Lieselotte

1930s:   Together with her second husband, Gerhard Grün (1906-1943), she joined the underground resistance group Gemeinschaft für Frieden und Aufbau (Association for Peace and Development)

February 1943: Ilse was arrested and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. 

While on a fast-moving train, she escaped by jumping out near Ruda, Poland. She went back to Berlin and continued to hide.

March 16, 1943: Gerhard (Isle’s husband) was arrested and sent to the Sachenhausen concentration camp near Berlin, where he was shot.

1943: Simon Berghausen (Ilse’s father) was killed at Theresienstadt concentration camp

1943: Lieselotte and Margarete (her sisters), and her mother were all transported to Auschwitz in 1943 where they perished. 

October 19th, 1944: Ilse was arrested again and remained in prisons in Berlin until 1945 when she was liberated by Russian troops.

1948: She immigrated to the United States and settled in Forest Hills, New York.

She later married Ludwig Loewenberg.

•Her other sister, Carla, immigrated to England prior to the war, and later immigrated to the United States.

2021:  Chelsey Brown found, traced and returned Ilse’s German letter to Jill

 

In her spare time Chelsey scours thrift stores and antique fairs and flea markets in New York City and returns items to family descendants. 

Recently she found a letter sent from Berlin in 1945 addressed from Ilse to her sister Carla, the only sister and family member of Ilse’s to survive the Holocaust. 

The heart breaking letter – written in German  –  tells how ‘no one is alive’ as Ilse explains to her only living family member that their parents and her husband have been murdered by Nazis.

It reads: ‘Through the kindness of our liberators, I am able to give you a sign of life from me after so many years… Dad, Mom, Grete, Lottchen and Hermann: no one is alive anymore. 

‘My pain is unspeakably big. 

‘My husband, whom I married 3.5 years ago, was also taken from me! 

‘When there will be a regular mail connection, I will tell you everything in detail.’

The heart breaking letter - written in German - tells how 'no one is alive' as Ilse explains to her only living family member that their parents and her husband have been murdered by Nazis.

The heart breaking letter – written in German – tells how ‘no one is alive’ as Ilse explains to her only living family member that their parents and her husband have been murdered by Nazis.

From left - Jill's husband Dr. Bob Butler, Ilse, baby Carla a and Siegfried

From left – Jill’s husband Dr. Bob Butler, Ilse, baby Carla a and Siegfried

A light hearted moment with Jill's father, Carla,  and Ilse and Siegfried in 1997..

A light hearted moment with Jill’s father, Carla,  and Ilse and Siegfried in 1997..

Ilse Loewenberg is pictured after escaping the Nazi regime  - she later moved to the US

Ilse Loewenberg is pictured after escaping the Nazi regime  – she later moved to the US

Using MyHeritage.com Chelsey discovered that Carla and her husband Siegfried never had children but Siegfried’s brother, Ludwig, did.

Ludwig’s granddaughter Jill was extremely close with Ilse – and the letter has now been returned to her. 

After the war, Carla and Ilse reunited in New York where they spent the rest of their lives. 

Sadly, Ilse passed away on September 11, 2001. 

In her spare time Chelsey scours thrift stores and antique fairs and flea markets in New York City and returns items to family descendants.

In her spare time Chelsey scours thrift stores and antique fairs and flea markets in New York City and returns items to family descendants.

Recently she found a letter sent from Berlin in 1945 addressed from Ilse to her sister Carla, the only sister and family member of Ilse's to survive the Holocaust.

Recently she found a letter sent from Berlin in 1945 addressed from Ilse to her sister Carla, the only sister and family member of Ilse’s to survive the Holocaust.

Her death was unrelated to the terror attack, but her close friends believe it was because she couldn’t possibly witness any more tragedy. 

Speaking about the return of the letter, Jill told FEMAIL: ‘ My whole family is truly in awe of all you [Chelsy] have done for us.

‘Almost everyone’s first reaction of “Is this a scam?” quickly transformed into bewilderment at your selfless dedication to reuniting heirlooms with families.

‘We all loved our Great-Aunt Ilse and are thrilled beyond words to read her thoughts in her own handwriting after she emerged from the depths of the European inferno.

‘May God bless your noble work and may you receive many blessings in return for all you do for families like mine 

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk