From the Mailbox

Last May/June, I received a series of emails from Anat F. who had found my blog on Fritz Lasch, one of the desperate individuals who purchased forged Finnish passports from Algoth Niska. Anat was able to share a bit more information about Fritz's wife, Basia, and their two sons.

Fritz Lasch & Family

In August 1938, Fritz purchased three supposedly legitimate Finnish passports from Algoth Niska. That fall, Fritz, his wife Basia Beila (née Sudarsky), and their two sons, Heinrich Isaac and Ernst-Jakob, escaped to Amsterdam and onwards to Paris. Their relieve was short-lived. In April 1939, after learning of false Finnish passports circulating throughout Europe, the Finnish authorities called Fritz to the Finnish embassy. What transpired there, we don't know. Only that in November 1942, Fritz was deported to Auschwitz and then onwards to Riga where he likely perished.

The mystery in the story was how Basia and her two sons had survived. I was able to track Heinrich Isaac Lasch (born 1924) to California but had found no trace of Ernst Lasch. Anat was able to shed some light on the fate of these three members of the Lasch family.

Basia Lasch was able to escape to Palestine where her sister, Braina (née Sudarsky) Grüngard (Anat's grandmother), had lived since 1934. The two sisters were quite close and lived together in Lithuania, Sweden and later in Berlin. Basia later remarried a man named Moshe Berger. Anat had met her second cousin, Heinrich Isaac Lasch, many times but knew little about Ernst-Jakob Lasch. As far as she knew, Ernst had been sent to the United Kingdom and then immigrated to Canada.

The tip about Canada sent me digging through Ancestry and FindMyPast and I think I found Ernst/Ernest.

The Leathersellers' Company
The Leathersellers' Company
Born 18 October 1921 in Berlin, Ernst/Ernest did indeed travel to the UK and was deemed exempt from internment under the UK's Enemy Aliens act in 1939. He was apparently a student at the Leathersellers' Technical College, founded in 1909 by the Leathersellers' Company, one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London.

The next trace of him is on a passenger list which shows him travelling from Cherbourg, France to New York, USA at the end of January 1948. His ultimate destination was Montreal, Quebec, in Canada and his occupation was "engineer".

From there, his trail gets a little fuzzy. He appears to have married Dorothy Strouse with whom he had four children: Christopher, Noel, Deborah and Melinda. Dorothy passed away in February 1973 in Ottawa, ON. Ernst later remarried a Pauline Drolet.

Ernst passed away suddenly on 20 February 2001 in California while visiting his brother Henry (Heinrich).

I found a tantalizing tidbit from a 1962 edition of the Montreal Gazette which noted that: "Captain Ernest Lasch will be posted to 57 Canadian Signal Unit in the Congo". He would have been 41 years old which, to me, seems a bit old to be serving in the Canadian Army but... who knows... perhaps he became a career army officer. Or... this is another Ernst/Ernest Lasch.

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