A woman of letters

By Robyn Rosen, January 27, 2011
Dr Shirli Gilbert

Dr Shirli Gilbert

An academic has been awarded a £9,000 grant to translate and catalogue 2,500 newly-discovered letters between an exiled German Jew and his family in Nazi Germany.

The collection was found by Daniel Schwab in his parents' garage in Johannesburg, and is now the subject of a research project by Dr Shirli Gilbert, a lecturer at Southampton University.

Mr Schwab's grandfather, Ralph sought refuge in South Africa after the Nazis came to power and exchanged many letters with a friend who was Nazi Party member.

Many of the letters chart Ralph's desperate attempts to help his parents escape Nazi Germany.

His family contacted South African Dr Gilbert, who now lives in London, through the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre and she obtained funding from the Kaplan Kushlick Foundation in South Africa.

Last updated: 3:35pm, January 27 2011