English version: In Memoriam Frank Harris
Thank you, Frank, dear!
The sad note reached me at the end of March. I was just about to write Frank a new letter; to send him a new Remembrance Book biography and a short film about the Bavarian Teachers’ Association´s project Erinnern (Remembrance). Frank´s passing away is a big loss to us all. Frank was not only an irreplaceable networker and the heart of the widespread Nuremberg/Fürth family, but also a warm-hearted, lovely person, always offering a smile, encouraging words and even his friendship. I always felt this way with regards to him although I was only lucky enough to meet him and Beri in person once, together with Willy Glaser: when he visited Fürth in 2013 to receive „Das Goldene Kleeblatt“, an honouring, awarded by the town of Fürth. We met for lunch in a sunny backyard and spent a far too short but nonetheless wonderful time together. I was grateful, especially because I wasn´t able to attend the 10th Grand Reunion in 2012.
In March 2003, I received my first letter from Frank Harris, together with a Newsletter, which amazed me: What a network this was: worldwide, established and held up by just one person, the son of a former Dachau prisoner! Mrs. Anson had – many thanks to her! – forwarded information about the Remembrance Book for the Prisoners of Dachau Concentration Camp to Frank. Mrs Anson and her husband, Martin, had visited Dachau in 2001 for the presentation of Martin Ansons´ Remembrance Book biography. The project was still new then, having only been founded in 1999. It is a project, in which volunteers – many of them high school students – research biographies of former Dachau prisoners.
Frank mentioned in that first letter that his father had been imprisoned in Dachau, and that he himself had „missed it by one month“. Humble as he was, he never seemed to think of including his father´s biography into the Remembrance Book. Instead, he helped us remember others, publishing letters with information and arranging contact between our volunteers and survivors or family members of former Dachau Prisoners. Once, when I asked him if he would like a volunteer to work on a biography of his father for the Remembrance Book, he said he would talk to someone in his family, who had done a lot of research on their family history. But I think there were too many others to care about…
In 2009 the Bavarian Teachers’ Association established their own biography project, Erinnern (Remembrance), in which Remembrance Book Pages were to be written about former Bavarian Jewish teachers. Again, Frank and Beri helped to announce the project among Nuremberg and Fürth´s Jewish survivors and their families. It was such a pleasure to receive his answers – by email by this point. Whenever I wrote to him, „we are working on a Remembrance Book Page for …, do you know anybody, who knows more about this person or would know who we should talk to?“ – Frank always had an answer for me. Even when I had just missed the latest Newsletter´s editing deadline, he would send me the necessary contact information. Moreover, and more importantly, he always gave me the feeling that my requests were welcome.
Frank´s contacts so far contributed to Remembrance Book Pages of: Henry Landman, Hermann Mandelbaum, Ferdinand Kissinger, Moses Lewkowitz, as well as short biographies of David and Louis Kissinger. The project´s work will continue – maybe one day we will even include a school in Nuremberg or Fürth among our list of partner schools. Sadly, we will not be able to ask Frank for his help any more. His death truly marks the end of one era and the start of another. The project as a whole will miss his networking and his readiness to supply us with the details we need. Personally, I will miss the nice way he started all his mails and even his post-its: „Sabine, dear…“
Farewell, dear Frank, and thank you so much!
(23.6.2017, Foto: Jüdisches Museum Fürth)