By Philippe Sands
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The cell was unforgiving, and so was Niklas on the subject of his father’s actions. ” Courtroom 600, still a working courtroom, was not greatly changed since the time of the trial. Back in 1946, the route from the cells required each of the twenty-one defendants to travel up a small elevator that led directly to the courtroom, a contraption that Niklas and I were keen to see. It remained, behind the dock at which the defendants sat, entered through the same wooden door, which slid open as noiselessly as ever.
To walk there, we circled Rynok Square, admired fifteenth-century merchants’ houses, passed city hall and the Jesuit cathedral (which was shuttered during the Soviet era, used as an archive and book depository), then into a nondescript square in front of St. George’s, from which the Nazi governor of Galicia, Dr. ” No. 12 was a two-story late-nineteenth-century building, with five large windows on the first floor, next to a building with a large Star of David spray painted onto a wall. From the city archives, I would obtain a copy of the construction plans and early permits.
At ten years old, he was the last man in the family. He left for Vienna with his mother and sister Laura as World War I pushed the family westward. 6 IN VIENNA, they moved in with Gusta and her husband, Max Gruber. In September 1914, Leon enrolled at the local Volksschule (elementary school) on Gerhardusgasse, in Vienna’s 20th District. His school reports recorded his mosaisch (Jewish) origins and modest academic abilities. That month, a first child was born to Gusta and Max, Leon’s niece Therese, known as Daisy.