About Trudel’s Truth

About Trudel’s Truth

In 1933, my mother, Gertrude “Trudel” Adler, who grew up in Frankfurt, Germany, wrote in her diary, “There is no future for Jewish youth in Germany. I think I shall go to Palestine.”

Her family and friends in Frankfurt asked. “Why would you leave Germany?” What did she see that they didn’t?

She didn’t get papers to go to Palestine, so when family in Chicago sent her papers, the 21 year old young woman came here.

Seventy-seven years ago, on May 8, 1934 she boarded a ship in Hamburg. Instead of keeping a diary, she wrote frequent letters home describing her adventure. On May 9, 1934 she wrote her first letter home. In her third letter she wrote “Please save my letters and if possible get them to me some day since I am to busy to keep a diary.”

More than 50 years later she translated the letters into English.  I have begun posting  excerpts from her letters. Hopefully, each  post will be posted exactly 77 years to the day from the date on which it was written. The letters will be accompanied by snapshots and memorabilia she kept in an album I have recently recovered and supplemented by contemporary materials.

I found the following note with the handwritten translations of Trudel’s letters:

Following is a translation of my letters to my dad and two sisters, not a diary. I figured they had enough worries without my adding to it. Father had lost his seat on the stock exchange, which he had held for fifty-three years. Mother died only months before, I, the youngest of three sisters, left home–maybe forever.

In her memory, I started this blog on May 8, 2011, Mother’s Day in the United States. May this blog be a tribute to all those who bravely set forth for a new world as skies darkened across Europe.


Leonard Grossman
One of Trudel’s sons

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  • September 7, 1937 – The Last Letter.
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    5 Responses to About Trudel’s Truth

    1. Linda Gartz

      November 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      Congratulations on your blog! It’s so meaningful to have our parents’ (and in my case, grandparents’) experiences in their own words – and hand. Thanks for sharing. History is made by those who write. Your mother was certainly prescient. You’re right. What did she see/sense that others missed. I’d have to re-read my 1934 history to see just how the Nazis where already making life very uncomfortable for Jews,

    2. Leonard Grossman

      November 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you, Linda, for your response. I thought I knew a bit of that history, but in the process of posting these letters I have been learning more and have a stack of books I have to read. But it is hard to keep up with my mother and get these letters posted on the anniversary dates as I have planned.

      BTW Good news: I just found over two more years of her letters. And people wondered how I would keep busy in retirement.

    3. Tim Corpus

      September 8, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Dear Mr. Grossman,

      I’m a composer from Chicago, IL and I am working on a commission for a chamber work performance in Union Station – Chicago, IL. I would like to use the text from one of your grandmother’s letters as text in my piece. Please contact me for more details on the event. The performance will be premiered during Open House Chicago on October 18th.

      Thank you,

      • Elizabeth Gross

        April 22, 2021 at 8:30 pm

        Hello–I’m not trying to post a comment but I have a question and don’t see another way to contact you. My father was a passenger on the SS Manhattan from Germany to NY — his trip may have been one month before your mother’s trip. If you would reply to my email address with yours, I would appreciate it. Thank you.


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