Gross Breesen was an agricultural training farm established by the Central Association of German Jews on a 567 acre plot of land that had previously belonged to a wealthy German-Jew, Willi Rohr. The Association hired Curt Werner Bondy (1894-1972) to run the school. He held a PhD in Social Psychology from Hamburg University and had been a full professor in Gottingen 1930-1933. Bondy was influenced by the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber and had previously worked with juvenile offenders. In addition to teaching agricultural, Bondy sought to instill discipline and also developed a curriculum that included other vocational training as well as languages, music, philosophy, history and religion. In the residential school, boys and girls slept on separate floors, 12 to a room in bunk beds. About 100 students attended the school at any given time, and a total of 240 students passed through the school. On November 9, the night of Kristallnacht, Gestapo raided the farm and arrested older boys and staff including Prof. Bondy and took them to Buchenwald. Also young German boys from surrounding farms vandalized the home, destroying the grand piano. After these events students from the school actively sought to emigrate. Thirty-one went to Australia and others left for Palestine, Kenya, England and Argentina. Some 37 immigrated to the United States to work on communal farm in Burkeville, Virginia established by Richmond businessman, William B. Thalhimer and his cousin, Morton. Dr. Bondy fled to Holland and made his way to the United States where he later taught psychology at the College of William and Mary. However, about half of the Gross Breesen children perished in the Holocaust.
[Source: Robertson, Frank E. "A Teen Holocaust Story", UU Faith Works, http://archive.uua.org/re/faithworks/fall03/curriculumandlearningresources.html]
George Landecker was born on October 1, 1918 in Nordenburg, Germany. In May 1936 he became one of the first teenagers admitted to a new Jewish agricultural training center in Gross Breesen. He brought with him some prior experience with animals as his grandparents owned two cows, and his father used a horse in his hauling business. After a year or two, George moved to Frankfurt where he was arrested on the night of Kristallnacht. After arriving in the Buchenwald concentration camp, he met former classmates and faculty from Gross Breesen. He therefore sardonically commented that Buchenwald was hosting the school's first reunion. Most of the other students were released after five weeks, but George remained in the camp for an additional three weeks. After his release, George made plans to emigrate, and in February 1939 he left for the Netherlands to wait for an American visa. The following year he immigrated to the United States on board the Veendam and came to Virginia to work on a communal farm with other former Gross Breesen students. After some time, the farm disbanded. George met Jessie, and they wed in October 1943. George also enlisted in the US army and fought in Europe. After the war he purchased a diary farm near Utica, N.Y. George's parents and siblings Eva, Hanna and Martin also escaped, but he lost twenty members of his extended family.