Remarks by Ursula Andreas: ADL Courage to Care Award
Posted: October 12, 2010
Remarks by Ursula E. Andreas
On the occasion of the presentation of the ADL Courage to Care Award
To her father, Horst B. Lantzsch (posthumously)
October 7, 2010
Thank you Abe for your wonderful introduction and giving me the opportunity to accept this award on behalf of my late Father.
Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentleman.
My family lived in Chemnitz, Germany, which had a very diversified population, who loved the arts, the opera and the theater. The fashion market was also very upscale.
My Father grew up with a very special friend Freddie Ascher, who happened to be Jewish. They became very close and my Dad, my Mother, Freddie, and his wife Edith saw each other frequently and went on numerous vacations together.
In the late 30's Germany was in big turmoil. When the Nazis took power the life in Germany changed for the worst, especially for the people that were against them, which included my Family.
On Kristallnacht November 1938 the Nazis broke into Jewish shops and plundered their merchandise. Freddie owned a shoe boutique on the exclusive shopping street in Chemnitz. All the hard work the Jews had accomplished was gone in one night. My Father's concern about the Ascher's wellbeing intensified.
After Kristallnacht the Nazis started rounding up Jewish people and sent them to concentration camps. The Ascher's were sent to Buchenwald.
Every day my Father tried in every way possible to help his friend. One day in a coffee shop he met an SS official, and my Father in his desperation revealed his concern about his friend.
After he came home, my Father was not sure if he had made the right decision talking to the official. However, within 2 weeks the Ascher's were released with orders to report to the Gestapo in Chemnitz each day.
In accordance to my Mother, during the night of their release my Father could not sleep. He was not sure that the Gestapo visits with possible tragic outcome were better than the concentration camp.
Immediately my Father went to meet the Ascher's and told them that they had to leave for Belgium within an hour. He made all of the arrangements. Freddie told him that he wanted to take care of a few things before they left. My Father was adamant. They had to leave immediately.
My Dad was the driver, and drove through the small country roads to avoid the Gestapo check points the 600 kilometers to Belgium. With these difficulties of driving carefully through the country roads the 600 kilometer trip took one week.
Freddie and Edith came via Belgium to the United States and settled in Manchester, New Hampshire.
My parents and the Aschers' kept in contact over the years. Several years later, the Ashers persuaded my parents to come to the United States. This was after the Nazi Years and the Russian Occupation from which we escaped to West Germany in 1950. My Dad never joined the Nazi Party and equally despised the Russian occupation. My grandfather had instilled in him the importance of freedom.
Since we needed a sponsor the Aschers' volunteered immediately to become our sponsor.
The reason my parents and I came to the United States is that my Dad and Mother wanted the freedom the United States represented, especially for their daughter. I will forever be thankful to my parents for their vision and the Aschers for their sponsorship that we were able to come here and had the opportunity to live in the USA, the best country in the world.
I have a wonderful husband, a great son and daughter-in-law and two super grandchildren. I feel very blessed to have had such a courageous dad who had a vision for his family to live in the land of the free.
Thank you very much.