Helmet's Circulating Library
from From Berlin to Shanghai, The Flight of Alice Zander
and Helmut Tischler
in The Last Address
by Leslie Starobin
The events leading to the flight of the Tischler and Zander families began on Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938. Helmut Tischler's father-in-law, Georg Zander, was arrested and imprisoned in Dachau, despite his protests that he was a German and had fought for his native land in World War I. After three terrible months, he was released with the stipulation that he and his family leave the country. One of the only places to which Jews could emigrate was Shanghai, which had remained open due to the confusion of the Japanese invasion. Helmut, photographed here in his sailor suit during happier days in Berlin, organized a circulating library in Shanghai with books taken from Germany. Glued between certain pages of the books was contraband: American dollar bills. Shanghai, the last remaining escape route for European Jews, closed its doors in 1940.