Translation or transcription needed for handwritten German letters from 1930's/1940's #germany


I have many handwritten letters in German from the late 1930's to early 1940's. These were written by relatives who were trying to escape from Germany and Europe around the time of Kristallnacht and afterwards. Some of the handwriting is difficult to decipher. The letters do not need to be translated into English if they can by transcribed into typewritten German. 
Roger P. Kingsley
Silver Spring, MD


Hi Roger,

I can try. I live in Germany speak and read the language fluently. Boyfriend is also German and he can decipher German handwriting better than me sometimes... It's kinda sloppy. Can you send a few to me and I'll give it a try?
Best from Dresden
Michelle Cosier


Dear Mr. Kingsley,
if you don´t find someone to read your letters for free, I would be happy to help you. Transcibing is one of the services I offer. Further information can be found on my website under
I wish you a happy and healthy new year.
Warm regards
Wolfgang Fritzsche


Our family had a collection that ultimately was over 250 letters, postcards and documents. I got in touch with the Munich Stadarchiv from where our family originated and found common interest. They had a 10 year project to remember the 10,000 former Jews of Munich but not as the number, 10,000, but as individuals with families and stories to tell. I told them about our archive and requested their help to translate the documents. This was beyond their remit and resources but they came up with a suggestion. They agreed to transcribe the documents, most of which were hard for me to decipher. My grandmother knew the Nazi censors were probably reading them and so she would use code; she would write in every corner of the postcards and letters in a handwriting that I could barely read. I sent photocopies of the correspondence to the Stadarchiv and 6 months later, I received back an email, yay yards long, beautifully transcribed in a Word document and with nearly1000 footnotes where the Stadtarchiv had cross-referenced the names and characters mentioned with their own records to give me chapter and verse and explanation. It was breath-taking. As I speak German I was able to translate the documents. It was as if my grandmother, whom I had never known had come out of the mists of time and touched me. It was cathartic and life-changing.

To cut a very long story short, it culminated in an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Munich in 2001 and can be seen at our website

In short again Roger, I recommend contacting the Stadarchiv where your family originated to see if they can help.

Good luck!
Anthony Blechner 


This is an amazing story and I will take some time soon to look at the archive that was created.
My father's family (in Germany their name was Konigsberger) was from Aachen and my mother's family (Herz and still Herz in the U.S.) lived in Dusseldorf. I will check to see if there is a Stadarchiv in these cities that might be of assistance. I would be happy with any help with transcriptions from the handwritten German letters into typed German. Currently, a German woman studying in the U.S. has been transcribing letters from my father into typed German and I have been using on-line language translating systems to turn them into English. The same with typed letters. However, most of the letters from relatives are handwritten because they were fleeing the Nazis and had no access to a typewriter. So far, even people whose native language is German and two relatives who are professors of German have been unable to decipher the handwriting of my grandparents and their generation. 
In the future, I will write to you via private email.
Thank you,
Roger Kingsley