In March 2007, my grandmother Edith Wald died at age 97. She left behind a suitcase, a hard-shell black Samsonite, filled with things she had saved. Among these were photographs, yellowing bank statements, U.S. naturalization papers, an address book with penciled-in entries, a German Fremdempass (issued to “stateless” Jewish Germans in the 1930s), scrip from the Thereseinstadt labor camp, Nazi-era Reichsmarks, a tattered wallet containing a crisp $10 bill from 1950, and, most astonishingly, a complete correspondence of more than 150 letters written weekly from Edith’s parents in Frankfurt am Main, Germany to their daughter, who emigrated with her family to Philadelphia in 1938.

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