• AJR Refugee Voices team

Ten Guiding Principles

In March 1939, interviewee Ursula Gilbert came to the UK on a Kindertransport.

Ursula just after her arrival in the UK on a Kindertransport, March 1939



On the day of her departure her father Ferdinand Brann gave her a prayer book inscribed with his ten guiding principles.











Ferdinand Brann was part of Berlin's Jewish community and, Ursula recollects, one of the initial organisers of the Kindertransport.







He won an Iron Cross for his role in Germany's World War One cavalry but was murdered in Auschwitz with his wife and older daughter in 1943.




Here are his principles for his daughter in her new life, read out (in German) by Ursula during her interview on January 29, 2007.




Gebetbuch der Israeliten

Jewish Prayer Book, edited by Dr Michael Sachs

Mit 10 Leitsätzen Deines Vaters.

With ten guiding principles by your father:


  1. Vergiss nie, dass Du Jüdin bist, dass Du für das Judentum gelitten hast und dass Du es aber trotzdem oder deshalb gerade lieben musst. Never forget that you are Jewish, that you have suffered for Judaism and that despite of this and because of this you need to love it.

  2. Vergiss nie, dass nur Gottesfürchtigkeit die Welt in Ordnung halten kann. Never forget that only piety can keep the world in order.

  3. Achte jedes Menschen Überzeugung, jede Religionsanschauung, übe Toleranz und denke, wie sehr wir selbst unter Intoleranz gelitten. Respect the convictions of everyone and respect everyone’s religious belief. Be tolerant and think about how much we have suffered from intolerance.

  4. Vergiss trotz allem niemals Deutschland und die deutsche Sprache. Denke, dass es die Heimat Deiner Ahnen war. Beteilige dich an keiner feindseligen Handlung gegen dieses Land, es schadet letzthin nur uns Juden. Do not ever forget Germany and the German language, despite everything. Remember that it was the homeland of your ancestors. Do not participate in any hostile actions against Germany, as ultimately it will only harm us Jews.

  5. Vergiss nie Dein Elternhaus. Denke an Deine Eltern und Deine Schwester immer, und lasse dies den Leitfaden Deines Handeln sein, Deiner Familie zu helfen. Never forget your parental home. Always remember your parents and your sister and let the wish to help your family be your guiding principle.

  6. Sei stets voll Dankbarkeit gegen die Regierung des Landes in das Du kommst, weil es Dir Zuflucht gewährt. Sei dankbar gegen jeden, der Dir seine Heimat selbst öffnet. Be always grateful to the government of the country to which you will go, because it provided you with a refuge. Be grateful to everyone who opens his homeland to you.

  7. Bleibe bescheiden, züchtig, fleißig, anständig im Denken und ehrlich. Be humble, modest, hardworking, honest, and decent in your thoughts.

  8. Denke an meinen alten Spruch: Wozu denn kränken, wenn es Dir nichts nützt? Remember my old saying: what is the point of offending somebody if it does not get you anywhere?

  9. Denke daran, dass jeder Streit Hass hervorbringt, der Unfrieden bedeutet und Unfrieden das größte Unglück ist. Remember that every confrontation creates hatred, which results in animosity and animosity is the greatest catastrophe.

  10. Wenn es noch so schwer im Leben, denke daran, dass nur Hoffen und Glauben die Menschheit und jeden Einzelnen vorwärts bringt, und dass auch Dir bis jetzt immer schließlich die Sonne des Glückes geleuchtet, und Du nun in eine neue Heimat kommst. No matter how hard life is, remember that only hope and faith can advance mankind and each individual. Remember that the sun of happiness has always shone for you and that you are now going to a new homeland.


Berlin, März/ March 1939

Seiner lieben Ulla zur Auswanderung

To his beloved Ulla, on the occasion of her emigration

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@ AJR Refugee Voices 2020

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