Breslau Boy

  • Warner Max Corden
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought book series (PHET)


Breslau boy was originally named Werner Max Cohn. After we arrived in Australia in 1939, my name was changed to Warner Max Corden (or just W M Corden on the title pages of my books), and that was the name under which I later became known as an economist.

Breslau was the capital of Silesia, which was a province of Germany when I was born there in 1927. My grandfather, Louis Cohn, had immigrated there from another German province Posen. In Breslau, he had founded the family firm Trautner. Later, Rudolf Cohn, my father, the youngest son of Louis, became the manager of this firm.

The coming of Nazi rule led to Rudolf losing his job and prospects deteriorating for Jews in Germany. This then led to Werner—and earlier my brother Gerhart—being sent to school in England. This required visas and financial support, which were arranged by Aunt Elli, who lived at that time in England. While Gerhart and I were in England, my father was picked up by the Gestapo in Breslau as part of the Kristallnacht campaign and taken to Buchenwald, the concentration camp.

This chapter describes my life in Germany under the Nazi regime, including one memorable episode when I, aged, nine, sneaked from home to join a crowd to see Hitler in the Kaiser Wilhelm Strasse.


  1. Ascher, Abraham (2007) A Community Under Siege: The Jews of Breslau under Nazism. Google Scholar
  2. Davies, Norman and Roger Moorhouse (2002) Microcosm: A Portrait of a Central European City, Jonathan Cape, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warner Max Corden
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations