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by Rick Landman

Thanksgivakkah
Thanksgivakkah Story

A German Thanksgivakkah Miracle

From German Pulse November 28, 2013

Today is a special day. In a very rare occurrence, the first day of Chanukah falls on Thanksgiving Day. Seventy four years ago, my family got its best gift. Henry Landman, my 19-year-old father arrived by himself in New York City on Thanksgiving Day in 1939.

A year earlier in November 1938, he was arrested and sent to Dachau after Kristallnacht and was released thanks to Charles Aukin, a London attorney, who obtained a temporary transit visa for my father to get to London on April 15, 1939. His father Joseph retained Mr. Aukin when he was in London en route to New York earlier in 1939.

My father became a stateless refugee, and after the War broke out he was an enemy alien. My father went to thank the lawyer, who invited him to a Shabbos dinner with his family. At dinner my father showed a photo of his family and the lawyer's father-in-law said to him, "We know these two people (pointing to his Gerson and Sofie, his grandparents). They live in Munich. When we were fleeing from Poland they put us up in their apartment until our papers came through to get to London." After that the lawyer watched over my father and finally got him the necessary paperwork to get to America to unite with his father, mother and siblings, already settled in Washington Heights.