Timeline for the Less Family

Note: General dates in “black”, Less-specific dates in “orange”

Date Detailed Information
May 13, 1872 Leopold Less born
April 1, 1882 Anna Ahronheim (Less) born
August 7, 1904 Leopold and Anna married
August 1, 1905 Ernst Less born
February 26, 1908 Katherine Less (Kalisch) born
December 3, 1917 Walter Less born
1917 Leopold Less returns from serving in WWI.
June 28, 1919 Germany reluctantly signs The Treaty of Versailles with the Allies (Great Britain, France, Italy and the United States). Terms were harsh and non-negotiable. All territories are relinquished.
Germans are humiliated and outraged and blame the new Weimar government and politicians for being weak and not standing up to the Allies.
July 29, 1921 Adolf Hitler becomes the Nazi party’s first chairman with dictatorial powers.
1922 Hitler’s Boys Storm Troop is established. Renamed Hitler Youth in 1926.
1923–1924 Rampant inflation throughout Germany makes the nation’s currency worthless. First issue of pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer (The Attacker) is published. Its slogan: “The Jews are our Misfortune.” Germany is unable to meet installments of its war reparation payment designed to pay off Germany’s $31 billion war debt, as decreed in The Treaty of Versailles. The Schutzstaffel (SS) is established as a bodyguard for Hitler.
January 30, 1933 Hitler is appointed chancellor of Germany.
March 9–10, 1933 Riots against German Jews by the SA, so-called Storm Troopers of the Nazi party are staged.
March 22, 1933 The Third Reich’s first concentration camp is opened at Dachau, Germany.
April 1, 1933 Germans are directed to boycott Jewish shops and businesses.
April 7, 1933 Hitler approves decrees banning Jews and other non-Aryans from the practice of law and from jobs in civil service. Jewish Government workers are ordered to retire.
May 29, 1933 Ernst Less forbidden to practice law.
September 28, 1933 Walter Less is expelled from high school.
November 24, 1933 Homeless, alcoholic, unemployed, and ‘undesirable’ people are sent to concentration camps.
May 4, 1934 Walter Less leaves Germany for San Francisco.
May 11, 1934 Walter Less arrives in New York.
May 17, 1934 Jewish persecution begins with orders prohibiting Jewish people from having health insurance.
September 15, 1935 The Nuremberg Laws enacted, taking away Jewish rights of citizenship. The laws state that Jews are no longer German citizens, cannot marry non-Jews, and cannot have sexual relations with non-Jews.
1936 Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp opens.
1938–1939 Aryanization laws force the Lesses to sell their store merchandise and house to the SS man Günther Koopmann.
March 13, 1938 Following the Anschluss, joining Germany and Austria, Jews in Austria are persecuted and victimized.
September 22, 1938 Less’s store closed; to be sold to the SS man Günther Koopmann. Because of this, the property was not destroyed on Reichskristallnacht.
October 5, 1938 The passports of all Austrian and German Jews are required to be stamped with a large red letter “J”.
Nov. 9 and 10, 1938 Reichskristallnacht – “the night of the broken glass” – results in the Jewish-owned businesses being destroyed. Hundreds of synagogues are burned, and approximately 100 Jews are murdered. An estimated 20,000 German and Austrian Jews are sent to concentration camps scattered throughout the countryside. Leopold Less was sent to Sachsenhausen.
November 12, 1938 Jews are fined one billion marks for damages caused by Reichskristallnacht.
November 15, 1938 Jewish children are not allowed to attend German schools.
December 12, 1938 Leopold Less released from Sachsenhausen, ID Number 11135.
June 22, 1939 Anna and Leopold Less issued German passports.
September 28, 1939 Approval of sale by the local government president. The Lesses arranged in their contract to live in a first floor apartment and pay rent to Koopmann until their emigration.
October 12, 1939 Jews living in Austria and Czechoslovakia are sent to Poland.
November 23, 1939 Jews in Poland are forced to wear yellow stars for “easy identification”.
Early 1940 Jews in German occupied countries are persecuted by the Nazis, with many being sent to concentration camps.
May 20, 1940 A new concentration camp, Auschwitz, opens.
November 15, 1940 The Warsaw Ghetto is sealed off leaving approximately 400,000 Jewish people living inside.
February 1941 Anna and Leopold Less leave Germany.
April 1, 1941 Leopold and Anna Less arrive in San Francisco.
May 1941 The Gestapo initiates a suit to strip Leopold Less of his citizenship to allow for the confiscation of any additional family assets.
July 1941 The Reich’s Einsatzgruppen (killing squads) begin rounding up and murdering Jews in Russia. Thirty-three thousand Jews are murdered in two days at Babi Yar near Kiev.
July 31, 1941 The “Final Solution”, implemented by Reinhard Heydrich, begins.
December 8, 1941 The Reich’s first ‘Death Camp’ is opened in Chelmno.
1942 Walter Less enlists in the U.S. Army.
January 1942 Mass-gassings of Jews begin at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Summer 1942 Jews from all over occupied Europe are sent to concentration camps where they are gassed to death.
January 29, 1943 Orders are issued for Gypsies to be sent to concentration camps, now commonly known as “Death Camps”.
April 19–May 16, 1943 The Warsaw Ghetto uprising takes place following news of an order to liquidate the ghetto as a birthday present for Hitler and deport the Jews to Treblinka. A group of 750 Jews, realizing they have nothing to lose, hold the German troops for nearly a month with smuggled weapons before being rounded up and shot or sent to death camps.
May 14–July 8, 1944 Forty-four thousand Hungarian Jews are transported to Auschwitz.
October 30, 1944 Auschwitz’s gas chambers are used for the last time.
January, 1945 The Third Reich closes remaining concentration camps, and evidence of their existence is destroyed. Prisoners surviving the camps are forced to complete “Death Marches” leading away from the camps. More than 250,000 die.
April 30, 1945 Faced with impending defeat, Hitler commits suicide with his mistress and wife, Eva Braun.
May 8, 1945 Germany surrenders and the date is celebrated as “VE Day”. The war in Europe is over.
July 18, 1945 Leopold Less dies at 73.
November 20, 1945 Surviving Nazi leaders are put on trial at Nürnberg.
July 24, 1947 Walter Less marries Joan Todd in San Francisco.
May 13, 1948 Margaret Ann Less born.
1950s – 1960s Ernst Less, for Anna Less, applies for financial restitution of the Lüneburg property from the German government, with success.
March 6, 1968 Anna Less dies at 86.
April 1, 1986 Joan Todd Less dies at 65.
1986 Walter Less relocates to Newburyport, Massachusetts to be with Margaret and her children Jessica and Matthew.
December 12, 2001 Walter Less dies at 84 years old.



An Orange in Winter Copyright © 2017 by Margaret A. McQuillan and Geschichtswerkstatt Lüneburg e.V.. All Rights Reserved.


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