Lasker family papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of the Lasker family, a Jewish family from Breslau. The parents, Alfons and Edith Lasker, were deported in 1942 leaving their two daughters Anita and Renate behind. Both sisters survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps but their parents perished.

Included are an inventory of personal belongings and related correspondence. The inventory was drawn up on the day of the parents' deportation in April 1942. The correspondence concerns missing items and arrangements for the children to be moved to a home for Jewish children.

Administrative / Biographical History

Anita Lasker was born in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland) on 17 July 1925. She was the youngest of three daughters of the Jewish lawyer Alfons Lasker and his wife Edith, a violinist. At the end of 1939 her oldest sister Marianne was sent to England. Anita and her sister Renate stayed behind in Breslau. In 1942 Anita's parents were deported and murdered. The daughters were sent to an orphanage and had to work in a paper making factory. The girls tried to escape to France with forged passports but were captured and convicted of forgery. In December 1943 Anita was deported to Auschwitz. As a convicted criminal she escaped the mass transports of Jews and the gas chambers. Once it was known that she could play the cello she became a member of the women's orchestra at Auschwitz lead by Alma Rosé. Later on Renate joined Anita in Auschwitz. In November 1944 the members of the orchestra were moved to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp which was liberated by allied troops on 15 April 1945.

Anita Lasker was a witness in the Bergen-Belsen trials in 1945. She emigrated to Belgium and in 1946 moved to London. Lasker was a co-founder of the London English Chamber Orchestra and played until 2000 as a cellist.

Lasker married pianist Peter Wallfisch (d 1993) with whom she had two children. Her son Raphael Wallfisch (b 1953) is a well known British cellist. Her sister Renate was married to Klaus Harpprecht and lives in France.

It was not until 1994 that Anita Lasker visited Germany. Since then she has been given talks in German schools relating to her experiences of the holocaust. Lasker published 'Ihr sollt die Wahrheit erben - Die Cellistin von Auschwitz: Erinnerungen' in 1997.

Arrangement

Chronological

Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Anita Lasker-Wallfisch

Custodial History

Copies of documents held at Staatsarchiv in Wroclaw, Poland.

Related Material

See also WL1661 Anita Lasker-Wallfisch: correspondence and papers; WL1040 Anita Lasker-Wallfisch: Copy personal correspondence (1939-1945); 76025 'Inherit the truth: 1939-1945: the documented experiences of a survivor of Auschwitz and Belsen'; 70532 'Inherit the truth' - broadcast of her book; 20335 [Memoirs:] 1925-1946 told by Anita: family photographs: Part 2: Letters 1939-1942 and 1945-1946