Franziska Willer collection

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 92583
Level of Description
  • German
  • English
EHRI Partner

Biographical History

Franziska Willer née Manasse (1903-1999) came from an assimilated Jewish family in which her father was not observant and mother had converted to Protestantism. Her father, Paul Manasse, was a distinguished Professor of medicine in Strassburg.

Franziska and her four siblings had all been christened and confirmed into the Protestant Church but were not religious. She married Johannes David Willer (Hanne Willer) (b.1897) in 1927. He was an assistant, trainee doctor at the time and a pupil of Franziska's father. Hanne Willer had no Jewish roots and it is thought that part of the reason why he rejected all contact with his children after their divorce in 1933, was his antisemitism and attraction to Nazi ideology. He had been a proud member of a right wing student fraternity and later an officer in the German army.

They had two sons, Paul Willer (b. 1928) and Peter Willer (1932-2015) who became epileptic either due to a childhood accident or, possibly, as the result of racial persecution during the Nazi era.

The now single Franziska emigrated to Great Britain in 1939, where she retrained to become a doctor while her two boys were farmed out to foster parents. The family had been sponsored to come to Great Britain by Clement Attlee, the future British Prime Minister. Initially Paul stayed with the Attlee family and was later reunited with his brother when they went to a progressive school in Redhill, Surrey. Franziska ended up working as a doctor in Sedgefield, County Durham; Paul became a sales director for a textiles manufacturer.


Donated 3.2.2017

Donor: Jo Willer

Scope and Content

This collection contains original correspondence, personal memoir, compensation claim material, photographs and ephemera.

Included in the digital files are the photographs (1950_3); some transcribed and translated correspondence of Hanne Willer and some contemporary research material documenting Franziska's efforts to extricate her non-aryan Christian children (1950_1)

Conditions Governing Access





This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.