The first to leave were the young adults with an education. They had prospects of work, especially in the United States. However, visas were subject to quotas and one had to designate a guarantor person (who gave a so-called affidavit) in the country. Older people and families with young children were usually denied this. Therefore, they tried more “exotic” countries, such as Cuba, Ecuador or even Rhodesia, which rarely or never worked out. After the pogrom in November 1938, in the wake of which the men who had been deported to concentration camps were only released if they had signed to emigrate, everything had to happen quickly. Already in January 1939 the children were sent in organized transports to England or Holland. The parents of 9-year-old Kurt Abraham sent their boy alone to relatives in Paris. After the family reunited in France, they fell into the hands of the Nazis a second time. The parents were deported, little Kurt survived the war with the help of the Jewish underground. Others were more fortunate. The family with the five boys of the cattle dealer Leopold Kahn was able to emigrate to Canada via England-where they were able to pick up their two oldest sons. The second most important escape route was to Palestine. But here, too, entry was at least made more difficult by the British Mandate authorities. The window of opportunity for escape from Germany was not open for much longer. After the start of the war, but at the latest from 1940, the regular connections to the free world were cut.
The letter from the cattle dealer Leopold Kahn to his two oldest sons, Ernst and berthold, whom he had sent to England at the beginning of 1939 and did not know whether he would see them again:
Sunday, Lorsch 12 February 1939
I am so pleased that both of you are well, blithesome and healthy, which I can – thanks God – still say of myself and the children, too. Dear children, we would love so much to see a picture of you once, maybe you have the chance to send us one. Dear Berti, concerning your tonsils, that ‘s a trifle, you know Ruth got her’s out a few years ago in Bensheim and could instantly return home, you see it’s not a big deal. The children are already in bed and I was told to send their regards and kisses. Fritz is eagerly studying English now. Lorsch played Oggersheim today and won there by 4:1, I still have the cows. Very well then, go and write a nice letter to uncle Ralph, because he is a very good man and he does so much for us, just go and thank him for everything. Let us soon have more good news from you, stay healthy and blithesome, be greeted and be kissed many times by your loving Papa.