With notable exceptions, most countries did little in the way of rescuing or aiding Jews persecuted by the Nazis and their allies during the Holocaust.[See 2012.1.98 and 2015.2.181and 2015.2.182]. In the United States immigration was stymied by unrealistic quotas on Jewish immigration in part because of fear of competition for scarce jobs and resources and the economic burden immigrants could present in the wake of the Depression, but as well the intransigent antisemitism in Roosevelt’s own Department of State, and the vaunted fear of enemy aliens. As polls taken at the time have demonstrated, pervasive antisemitism and distrust of Jews was common. Racist and antisemitic organizations did not want Americans to enter another European war-especially if it was promoted by Jews since it would ultimately redound to their benefit. The failure of the Wagner-Roberts bill which would have allowed up to 20,000 Jewish children under the age of 14 to enter the US, and the active ignoring of the plight of the SS St. Louis passengers seeking safe harbor are testimony to the difficulties Jews faced finding asylum during this time. With the advent of World War II, Jews became even less of a priority. The burden of helping the Jews of Europe fell to a number of organizations and some extraordinary individuals, communities, and one remarkable nation.
Rescue and Aid: Organizations
HICEM AND HIAS
Among the critically important organizations helping Jews was HICEM, an umbrella group formed in 1927 by a merging of three other groups including the well-known HIAS (Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society) which was based in New York, managed immigration to America, and was the main source of HICEM’s financial support essentially. They had offices in Europe and the Americas as well as the Far East and helped refugees in the process and preparation for emigration. After the Germans invaded France its office was moved to Lisbon-Portugal was considered a neutral country- along with the JDC and the American Friends. 2019.2.241 Airmail Cover Sent from Lisbon, Portugal Office of HICEM to Committee for Protections of Jewish Immigrants, Santiago, Chile (1946). [See 2014.1.378]
The American Joint Distribution Committee (“Joint”)
The JDC was formed during World War I to help Jews in Palestine and Europe. After the war, with antisemitism on the rise, the JDC continued to provide support to Jews in Poland, Lithuania and other occupied countries. Saly Mayer headed the JDC office in Switzerland. He was instrumental in sending much needed funds to ghettos in Poland. The JDC helped support Romanian and Hungarian Jews, and supported Raoul Wallenberg and Carl Lutz’s efforts to forge documents in an effort to create diplomatic immunity for Hungarian Jews and thus prevent deportation. They worked with HICEM in Portugal in helping refugees emigrate and provided critical financial and material support to refugees in Displaced Persons camps in Europe. [See 2012.1.260, 2012.1.276, 2012.1.272a, 2012.1.272b, 2012.1.274]
The American Friends Service Committee
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) gave Quakers the opportunity to do service rather than fight. It assisted refugees escaping from European countries. For its work it received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948.[See 2019.2.231]
Relico ( Relief Committee for Jewish War Victims) was an organization established in 1939 by Dr. Abraham Silberschein to provide assistance to Jewish refugees. Relico mediated the transmission of information; helped in the search for missing relatives; and delivered food packages and medical supplies. Funding was provided by the “Joint” or JDC and other agencies. Wealthy businessman Alfred Schwarzbaum escaped Poland and worked in Switzerland with RELICO providing aid to fellow Polish Jews including helping in the emigration process.[See 2015.2.119, 2015.2.120, 2015.2.121, 2015.2.122, 2015.2.125, 2015.2.134, 2015.2.135, 2015.2.139, 2015.2.140]
Rescue and Aid: Communities
Le Chambon sur Lignon
From 1940 to 1944 the residents of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, a town in the hills of southeastern France, provided shelter to more than 3000 (some estimates as high as 5,000) Jewish children fleeing the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators. These children were sheltered and educated, or, with the help of the French underground, spirited to Spain or Switzerland. They were housed in private homes, on farms and in public institutions, and when Gestapo or their Vichy French collaborators approached, the villagers would hide the children in the forest until it was deemed safe to come out. As soon as the Nazis left, villagers would sing a song, signaling that it was safe to emerge from hiding. This extraordinary undertaking was guided by the Protestant pastor of the village, Andre Trocme, and his wife Magda. Despite continued threats by Vichy collaborators, the Trocmes and the villagers refused to betray their charges. This effort, however, did not go seamlessly. On June 29, 1943, Nazis raided a local school and arrested students, five of whom were identified as Jews who were deported to Auschwitz where they were murdered. Trocme’s cousin Daniel Trocme was also arrested and sent to the concentration camp Majdanek, where he perished. Roger Le Forestier, the village physician who helped Jews obtain false documents, was arrested and shot on August 20, 1944, in Lyon on Gestapo orders. Andre Trocme himself was eventually forced to go into hiding, while his wife Magda continued the work of sheltering Jews until the end of the war.The entire community of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon has been honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Gentiles, the first community to be so honored for risking their lives to save Jews. [See 2014.1.463, 2014.1.466, 2014.1.467, 2014.1.468, 2016.1.24]
Rescue and Aid: The Example of Denmark
One of the most remarkable events in the annals of the Holocaust was the collective effort on the part of the Danes to rescue its Jews. Danish boats ferried some 7,300 Jews across a three-mile waterway to neutral Sweden to avert a Nazi deportation, an unprecedented feat carried out by Danes to protect Danish citizens.After the German occupation of Denmark in April 1940, the Danish government was granted some autonomy in running domestic affairs. The Nazis were reluctant to make a major issue of the “Jewish Question” at that time, in great part because they saw the Danes as fellow “Aryans”. Thus, the standard measures reproduced in occupied countries to humiliate and subjugate Jews did not occur in Denmark, such as having to wear the yellow star, register property and other assets, give up homes and businesses, etc. The Jewish community was even able to go to synagogue and hold services. More remarkably, King Christian was outspoken in his support of a Jewish community integrated into Danish society and consequently opposed their persecution. In 1943, however, the Nazi military government of Denmark declared martial law, a state of emergency was declared, and citizen arrests occurred. Danish military and police were taken over by the Nazi authorities. Hitler approved a proposal to commence deportation of the Danish Jews. Ferdinand Duckwith, a German naval attache-and Nazi-warned non-Jewish Danes of the planned deportations. The response was swift, if uncoordinated, and involved the combined efforts of Jewish community leaders, Danish authorities and citizens. On October 1, 1943, operations occurred to move the Jewish population of Denmark in fishing boats, rowboats and kayaks to Sweden. Jews were hidden in cars on ferries to Sweden. In consequence, 99 per cent of Danish Jews were saved from persecution and certain death. Only 470 Jews were seized by the Nazis-most of whom were not Danish citizens- and deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto. Only 120 Danish Jew died during the Holocaust.[See 2012.1.122, 2014.1.216, 2014.1.223, 2014.2.224, 2014.2.226, 2015.2.77]
--Michael D. Bulmash, K1966
Browse the Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection.
Postcard with View of Protestant Temple, Chambon-Sur-Lignon, France
Front: Black and white photograph of a small church, titled, "Le Chambon-sur-Lignong Hte-Loire -- Le Temple Protestant."Back: Message written in blue ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: From 1940 to 1944 the villagers of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon had provided shelter in their homes and farms, saving more than 3000 Jewish children fleeing the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators. This extraordinary effort was guided by the Protestant pastor of the village, Andre Trochme and his wife Magda. Despite continued threats by Vichy collaborators, the villagers did not betray their charges.This effort did not go seamlessly. Five children were arrested in school in 1943 and deported to Auschwitz where they were murdered. Trochme’s cousin Daniel was arrested and deported, and the town physician was shot. Andre Trochme himself was forced to go into hiding, while Magda continued the work of sheltering Jews.
The entire community of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon has been honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Gentiles, the first community to be so honored.
Postcard with View of Chambon-Sur-Lignon, France
Front: Black and white photograph of a forest.Back: Message written in blue ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: While the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators delivered 83,000 Jews--including 10,000 children--to concentration camps, the ordinary citizens of the town of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, in the hills of southeastern France, took in and protected Jews at great peril to their own lives. Approximately 5,000 Jews were saved, sheltered, educated, or, with the help of the underground, spirited to Spain or Switzerland. Jews were housed in private homes, on farms and public institutions, and when Gestapo or their Vichy French collaborators approached, villagers would hide the children in the forest. As soon as they left, villagers would sing a song signaling that it was safe to emerge from hiding. This extraordinary effort involving the entire village was guided by the Protestant pastor of the village, Andre Trochme, and his wife Magda. Despite being threatened by Vichy collaborators, he would not betray his charges. His cousin Daniel Trochme, however, was arrested and sent to the concentration camp Majdanek, where he perished. When Andre Trochme was finally forced to go into hiding, his wife Magda continued his work of sheltering the Jews of Le Chambonn until the end of the war. The entire community of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon has been honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Gentiles, the first community to be honored.
Helga Kreiner of First Kindertransport Arrives in Harwich, England
Front: An image of a girl in an overcoat clutching a doll. Back: Typewritten information about the image.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Helga Kreiner is pictured having arrived in Harwich, England , a member of the first Kindertransport of refugee children escaping the Nazi menace against Jews in Germany. Clutching her doll to her chest, holding her bag by her side, she stands anxiously awaiting her future in a foreign land without her parents whose own fate she could not know.
Jewish Refugees at British Holiday Camp
Front: An image of a woman in a kerchief alongside children and adolescants in front of row houses.Back: Typewritten, handwritten, and stamped information pertaining to the photograph.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Acme wire photo with following information verso: "Jewish refugees from Germany, temporarily staying at the holiday camp here (Dovercourt, Essex, England). They have been promised new homes in Britain. They will be supported by voluntary contributions, sheltered by British families, educated and taught trades and will then emigrate to British possessions. 12/13/1938"
Postcards from Copenhagen, Denmark to Tel Aviv on the Eve of German Occupation
a: Postcard with purple printed text and Danish stamps at top. Another stamp reads "Palestine. Passed by Censor." Address and message written in black ink. Message continues on opposite side.
b: Postcard with purple printed text and stamps. Stamp at bottom right designates letter has passed through censor. Message is handwritten in black ink and continues on opposite side.
c: Postcard with printed purple text as well as purple and blue stamps at top and two black ink stamps. Address handwritten in black ink. Typewritten message on opposite side.
d: Postcard with printed purple text as well as blue, black, and purple stamps and two black ink stamps. Purple stamp at bottom right indicates postcard has passed through censor. Address and message handwritten in black ink. Handwritten message continues on opposite side.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
Postcards from Copenhagen, Denmark from W. Reichert to family member Dr. E. Reichert living in Tel Aviv. All messages are in Hebrew. Mr. Reichert discusses the family in Poland; contact with the Red Cross in Sweden; attempts to get ALIYAH certificates; reports on relatives who escaped to Lwow; use of a Christian Polish maid who was free to travel in occupied Poland; aid parcels sent; and more. All cards with Palestine censor hand stamp. Interestingly, Mr. Reichert in Copenhagen writes that: “There is no fear of Nazi invasion, since Denmark is just like Sweden…” In just a few months, on April 9, 1940, the Germans invaded Denmark.
Ironically, Mr. Reichert was not entirely incorrect. After the German occupation of Denmark in April 1940, the Danish government was granted some autonomy in running domestic affairs. The Nazis were reluctant to make a major issue of the “Jewish Question” at that time, in great part because they saw the Danes as fellow “Aryans”, as Mr. Reichert naively supposed. Thus, the standard measures reproduced in occupied countries to humiliate and subjugate Jews did not occur in Denmark; e.g., Jews having to wear the Star of David as a means of identification and humiliation. Nor did they have to register property and other assets, give up their homes and businesses, etc. Denmark’s Jewish community was even able to go to synagogue and hold services. More remarkably, King Christian was outspoken in his support of a Jewish community integrated into Danish society and consequently opposed their persecution.
In 1943, however, the Nazi military government of Denmark declared martial law, a state of emergency was declared, and citizen arrests occurred. Danish military and police were taken over by the Nazi authorities. Hitler approved a proposal to commence deportation of the Danish Jews. Ferdinand Duckwith, a German naval attache and member of the Nazi party warned non-Jewish Danes of the planned deportations. The response was as swift as it was remarkable, and involved the combined efforts of Jewish community leaders, the Danish underground, Danish authorities and citizens: doctors, blue collar workers, priests, policemen and others worked to protect their fellow Danish citizens. On October 1, 1943 operations occurred to move the Jewish population of Denmark in fishing boats, ferries, rowboats and kayaks to Sweden. Danish boats ultimately ferried some 7,300 Jews across the waterway to neutral Sweden. As a consequence of this remarkable rescue operation to save Denmark’s Jews, 99 percent of Danish Jews were saved from persecution and certain death. Only 470 Jews were seized by the Nazis – most of whom were not Danish citizens- and deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto. Only 120 Danish Jews died during the Holocaust.
Censored Registered Bank Cover from Oslo, Norway to the American Friends (Quaker) Service Committee in Berlin
Envelope addressed to “American Friends Service Committee,” “Rekommandert” stamped in red ink near top. Back includes black and red seal marked “DEN NORSKE CREDITBANKE – OSLO,” image of building near top.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Relatively little was done by most nations to rescue or assist the Jews of Europe attempting to avert the Nazi scourge, and who were in desperate need. Those countries that did take émigrés placed restrictions on the number. The burden of aiding and rescuing refugees fell on a limited number of Jewish and non-Jewish organizations and individuals. These organizations included AJDC or the American Joint Distribution Committee (“Joint”), HICEM, RELICO, UNRRA, and the AFSC, or the American Friends (Quaker) Service Committee. The AFSC was founded in 1917 to provide Quakers the opportunity to serve rather than take up arms in WWI. The AFSC was instrumental in assisting refugees escape from Germany, France, and other countries. It was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948.
This cover arrived in Berlin on New Year’s day in 1940, just four months before the German invasion of Norway.
Postcards Sent by a Jewish Child Sheltered by OSE to his Mother, Rita Goldstein
Five postcards written in blue and black ink. All bearing blue french stamps.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
The OSE, (L'Œuvre de secours aux enfants), was a humanitarian children’s aid organization providing social and medical assistance to Jewish families in need. After 1933, OSE’s main office was moved from Berlin to Paris, where Jewish children-refugees from Nazi Germany and Austria- were placed in OSE children’s homes in the area. By 1939 more than 200 children had been placed in one of these homes in Paris. OSE also provided social services to foreign Jews living in internment camps such as Gurs and Rivesaltes. OSE attempted to relocate Jewish children from these camps to homes in the unoccupied Vichy region of France where they would be cared for. With the German occupation of the Vichy region in 1942, the OSE mission changed to more clandestine activities: the development of hiding places; the creation of false documents; and smuggling children across the border to Switzerland and Spain. Through the heroic efforts of the OSE, more than 5000 Jewish children were saved from Nazi extermination. OSE’s work continued post-liberation assisting surviving children from Buchenwald find placements in French rehabilitation facilities.
The Goldstein family had lived in a flat on Bismark Street in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin. The parents, David and Frida, did well in the family business: a smoker’s shop. Oscar, then an adolescent, has stated in reminiscing about the OSE and his own experiences as a refugee that his parents decided to emigrate after Kristallnacht when the store was destroyed. By that time, however, it was not possible for them to obtain visas. They left for Belgium, first the father and then Oscar and his sister Rita and mother. Escape was difficult, they went back to Cologne, and this time were successfully smuggled into Belgium. The family received aid from the Jewish humanitarian organization AJJDC or “Joint” and were able to stay in a hotel until the Germans invaded Belgium in May 1940. At this point the family left for France on foot. Oscar would eventually be interned-through the O.S.E. at the Rivesaltes Camp, while his sister Rita was placed by O.S.E. in Hotel D’Angers in Le Mans early in the German occupation. Father David Goldstein would be deported to Auschwitz where he was murdered.
These 5 postcards appear to be written by several family members living at the Villa des Tourelles, an O.S.E. “safe house” located in the Paris region at 113 Rue de Paris, Soisy-sous-Montmorency, France, all addressed to daughter Rita Goldstein placed by the O.S.E. at the Hotel d’Angers in Le Mans. The postcards are somewhat illegible, but appear to be written just before the German occupation of France.
Kindertransport Correspondence:International Red Cross from Walter Herz, United Kingdom, to Marie Herz, Bohemia-Moravia
Document with Red Cross at top, titled, "War Organisation of the British Red Cross and Order of St. John. Includes typewritten and printed information in English and German.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
Red Cross correspondence. An official "War Organization of the British Red Cross..." inquiry filed by Walter Herz, ("Relationship of enquirer to addressee: Son") a young Czech Jew, sent by his parents to Great Britain, prior to WWII. His parents remained in Bohemia-Moravia. Form has official 4-line boxed hand stamped address at top: "Red Cross Message Bureau 22, 37 Sutherland Avenue, Paddington, London W9." Limited message (no more than 25 words) reads in German: "Dear Mommy, Do not worry about me, I am very fine. I have everything I need. Kisses, Walter." Addressed to his mother, Marie Herz, in Bohemia-Moravia. Form has a red double circle of the International Red Cross, Geneva. It was received in Nazi Germany on October 14, 1940 (per the red boxed hand stamp at top). Back has mother's reply, also in German, "My very dear Walter, Do not worry about me. I am healthy & fine, too. Thousand kisses from your Mama." The form was hand stamped by the International Red Cross in Geneva. Kindertransport (also Refugee Children Movement or RCM) is the name given to the rescue mission that took place nine months prior to the outbreak of World War II. The United Kingdom took in nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Nazi Germany and the occupied territories of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Free City of Danzig. The children were placed in British foster homes, hostels, and farms.
Envelope Stamped “Special Delivery” to Dr. Otto Weiler of the National Refugee Service (NRS) Resettlement Department
Envelope with three stamps on front addressed to Dr. Otto Weiler. “Special Delivery” in black type in upper left corner.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
The National Refugee Service was founded in New York City in May, 1939 to assist European refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. In the six years that it existed, NRS provided a range of programs across the United States to help immigrants arriving in New York to resettle in smaller communities. Services included financial assistance, vocational guidance, job placement and retraining, arranging small business loans, and the instruction necessary to meet the specific requirements of the immigration process. Programs were also geared to helping members of specific professions adjust to American life: for example, rabbis, musicians and physicians. Hundreds of communities across the United States were involved in the services provided by te NRS, which itself was the recipient of funds from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the United Jewish Appeal. After 1946 the NRS merged with several other charitable organizations.
Censored Envelope from Denmark
Envelope Front: White envelope with a typewritten address, four purple postage stamps, a red and a black hand stamp, and several pencil markings.Envelope Back: Typewritten return address, red hand stamp and tan censor tape.Letter: Typewritten letter in English on white paper. Includes a signature in black ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: A letter mailed just weeks before the mobilization to ferry the Jews of Denmark to Sweden, eight days before Hitler approves of planned deportation.
Censored Envelope sent from Central Council for Jewish Refugees in London to New York
Front: Typed address to 'Hotel Marcy, 720, West End Avenue, New York'. Back: Reverse type stamp, side label, 'Opened by Examiner 4811'.
HIAS [Hebrew Sheltering and Immigration Aid Society]
Cover with illustations of six faces, including a baby, woman hugging baby, old man with white mustache, young boy in cap, young girl with brown hair, old woman with white hair. HIAS in left upper corner in white with red background.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: HIAS (Hebrew Sheltering and Immigration Aid Society), based in New York, was an organization focused on helping Jewish immigrants migrate to the United States where they would be assisted with food, shelter, and employment. This magazine was used to solicit funding from Americans sympathetic to the plight of European Jews trapped in Europe, attempting to arrange passage for as many Jews as possible. HIAS' crusade on bhealf of Jews continued after the war, advocating for Jews in Displaced Persons camps. Along with Dorothy Thompson's brilliant essay on anti-Semitism, testimonials are given by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the mayor of New York City, and the Governor of New York State.
Censored Envelope from Bendsburg, Poland
Front: An off-white envelope with writing in blue and black ink and two pasted stamps of Adolf Hitler in profile in green and blue. Includes black, red and purple hand stamps, as well as a white and red pasted stamp.Back: Writing in black ink, several black and purple hand stamps.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
The Bendsberg ghetto was among the first to be liquidated by the Nazis on August 1, 1943. This cover is stamped with the Jewish ghetto administrations stamp. Schwarcbaum was a wealthy Jew from Bendzin who escaped to Switzerland and conducted relief and rescue work for Jews in occupied Poland, as well as supporting armed resistance by Jews in the ghettos.
Censored Letter From Denmark to Germany
Front: A white postcard with a printed return address and address typewritten in blue ink. Includes one red, one maroon, and one green postage stamp, a blue sticker, as well as one red and two black hand stamps.Back: A message typewritten in blue ink with a signature in black ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: A letter sent one year after occupation by Germany.
Postcard to RELICO in Geneva from Piotrkowice Ghetto in the Radom District
Front: Tan postcard with black printed text and dotted lines, filled in with black cursive ink. Includes purple hand stamp in upper left corner, long red slash across page, and additional writing in grey and red pencil in upper left. Back: Black printed postcard lines. Includes several stamps, including long red stamp across type, black writing, and a printed address.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
RELICO card with General Government franking tied KIELCE 8/3/1941, addressed to RELICO (Committee for Assistance of the Jewish Population Stricken by the War) in Geneva. With boxed "Piotrkowice uber Kielce (Distr. Radom)" alongside with Nazi censor. Acknowledgement of receipt of package. Signed by Chaja Liss.
Postcard from Kolomyja Ghetto
Front: Tan postcard with writing in blue cursive ink, and several lines underlined in pencil.Back: Printed postcard lines in green with writing in blue cursive ink. Includes black, red, and purple hand stamps, damage from a paper clip on the left, and three pasted stamps in green and orange on the upper right.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: General Government 12 pfg. postal stationary card with additional 8 pfg. and 10 pfg. stamps. From S. Schein in Kolomea to Alfred Schwarzbaum, a Jewish benefactor who escaped Poland and settled in Lausanne, Switzerland, showing 2 line Judenrat Kolomea (German name) hand stamp alongside. Message in German. Nazi censor markings. Dated October 11, 1941, one day before the mass murder of Jews in the Szeparowce Forest 5 miles outside of town. Kolomyja was an important center of Hassidism. The Judenrat, headed by Mordechai Horowitz, was soon burdened by the arrival of Jewish refugees from Hungary. Approximately 18,000 Jews were herded into the ghetto that was sealed off in March 1942, a holding pen for eventual deportations to the Belzec extermination center.
Affidavit for Stateless Refugee Adele Bertha Levy
‘THE UNITED STATES HIGH COMMISSIONER’ is typewritten at the top center of the document, photograph is stapled at bottom left quadrant with signature spanning from paper to photo to paper.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
Throughout the 1930’s and World War II, the United States government under the Roosevelt Administration and other Western Nations closed their doors to Jewish refugees fleeing Europe. Jewish flight to Shanghai is well-known, a city which did not require entry visas until 1939. Less familiar is the asylum provided by the government of the Philippines to more than 1,300 Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, and the support offered by its president Manuel Quezon, who asked all Filipinos to welcome them and help with assistance. A refugee committee was established and American Jewish organizations such as the Joint Distribution Committee helped with funding. Contributions were also received from relatives of the refugees to increase the prospect of refugees being admitted. Indeed, the process of admission was selective and certain criteria had to be met in terms of desirable professions that would benefit Filipinos. The process of admission was selective. By the end of the war many surviving refugees would migrate to the U.S.
Adele Bertha Levy was a 55 year old German Jewish woman-widowed-from Hannover who fled Nazi Germany and found refuge in the Philippines. She was a resident of Manila.
She was seeking to go to the United States to be with her children in California. Stateless and without a passport, she received in Manila, an “Affidavit in lieu of a Passport '' on October 27, 1941 by a passport agent in Manila. Her photograph is on the Affidavit along with personal characteristics. The visa (verso)-No.1150- was issued on November 10, 1941, under a statute related to quotas on immigrants. She was able to leave Manilla November 25, on the SS President Coolidge with a brief stop in Hawaii on the 17th of December- just 10 days after Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. The Japanese invaded the Philippines on December 8th. She reached the US (San Francisco) on December 30, 1941.
Modliborzyce Ghetto in Lublin District Postcard From Judenrat to RELICO
Front: Tan postcard with black printed text and dotted lines, filled in with blue cursive ink. Includes a long red line through the card, and other red text, as well as numerical and date hand stamps. Back: Black printed postcard lines and address. Includes long red hand stamp across top of card, purple and black hand stamps, pasted purple stamp of a church on upper right, and several pencil markings.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Censored "RELICO" card from Frieda Gold of the ghetto at Modliborzyce with the cachet of the JUDENRAT in violet to the RELICO Committee acknowledging receipt of parcels. Modliborzyce was a small village in Poland's Lublin district. With the German occupation, the Jewish community swelled to 2000 with refugees arriving form Vienna in 1941. In October 1942 the ghetto was liquidated with the Jews being deported to Belzec death camp. RELICO was an organization established in September 1939 by Dr. Abraham Silberschein to provide assistance to Jewish refugees and to help search for missing relatives.
Postcard from Radomsko Ghetto: Anna Rozenbaum to Alfred Schwarzbaum in Switzerland
Front: Tan postcard with writing in blue cursive ink. Back: Printed purple postcard lines with writing in blue cursive ink. Includes blue, purple and black hand stamps, and a printed purple stamp in upper right.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
General Government 30 pfg cancelled Radomsko (District Radom) 3/7/1942 with 2-line violet "Aeltestenrat Radomska Postabteilung" indicating the Jewish Elders of the ghetto, from Anna Rozenbaum to Alfred Shwarzbaum, the Polish benefactor who escaped to Lausanne, Switzerland and helped Jews. Written in Polish 2/271942. Radomsko was in the Lodz district of Poland but the Radom district of the General Government, and almost 40 percent of the population of 10,000 was Jewish. The ghetto--the second in Poland--was established soon after the Germans occupied the city in early September 1939, and incorporated Jews from surrounding towns. Many died from typhus epidemics, malnutrition, and the deplorable conditions rife in the Nazi ghetto system. In mid-October, 1942, all of the Jews in the ghetto were deported to Treblinka. When the ghetto was re-opened in November to house Jews from neighboring towns, they too perished in Treblinka. Anna Rozenbaum did not survive the Holocaust.
Postcard from Kielce Ghetto
Front: Tan postcard with writing in black cursive ink.Back: Printed purple postcard lines with writing in black cursive ink. Includes red, purple and black hand stamps, pencil markings, and two pasted stamps, including one red stamp showing a building, and one purple stamp showing a church.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: General Gouvernement 30 pfg. Postcard with additional 1z., from J. Raufman at Kielce to Alfred Szwarchbaum, Lausanne, Switzerland, showing violet boxed "FLUGPOST." Nazi censor markings, dated March 13, 1942. Kielce was settled by Jews in 1819. They were expelled in 1845. The ban was lifted in 1863 and the population increased dramatically, having numbered 18,000 by the 1930s. This figure represents approximately 33 percent of the inhabitants of Kielce. The Germans entered Kielce on September 4, 1939 and a Judenrat was established soon thereafter. The Jewish population of Kielce swelled with the influx of deportees from other areas, including 7,500 from Vienna in 1941. Two ghettos were established in April, 1941. The "Aktions" commenced in August of 1942 with the deportation of 21,000 Jews to Treblinka and the slaughter of another 3,000 in Kielce. The remaining 16,000 Jews were placed in the smaller ghetto and worked as slave laborers in the munitions factories and labor camps. The Judenrat members were murdered on November 20, 1942.
Postcard from Przemysl Ghetto to Alfred Schwarzbaum in Switzerland
Front: Tan postcard with writing in black cursive ink. Back: Black printed postcard lines and text with writing in black and blue ink. Includes red, blue and black hand stamps, as well as some damage from a paperclip on the upper left, and several pencil markings on bottom right.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
Censored card missing stamp to Alfred Schwarzbaum in Lausanne bearing "EINGELIEFERT AM SCHALTER." Card written May 18, 1942. The Jewish community in Przemysl dates to the 10th century. By 1931, there were over 17,000 Jews living in this town in the Warsaw District of Poland. There were several Hassidic sects, along with their assimilationist counterparts. It was occupied by Germans in 1939, and again in June 1941 it was taken over from the Russians. A Judenrat was established, Jewish property was expropriated, synagogues were destroyed, and by July 1942 Przemsyl's 22,000 Jews were crowded into a ghetto. By fall 1943 the ghetto inhabitants were deported to Belzec, Auschwitz, or murdered outright.
German Red Cross Letter
Front: Tan paper with printed writing and red cross, and typewritten information.Back: Printed and typewritten information, with signature in bottom right, and red stamp.Front: Black printed text.Back: Black printed text.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: German Red Cross Deutsches Rotes Kreuz letter. British censorship stamp. 1942. Letter send from Gertrud "Sara" Senger of Berlin to Hans Liebenthal in Jerusalem. Gertrud Senger was murdered in the Holocaust.
Envelope from Bendsburg
Front: Green envelope with black writing. Includes purple, blue and red hand stamps, a red and white pasted stamp in bottom left corner, and two pasted stamps on right: one green and one blue, each depicting Hitler in profile.Back: Black cursive writing, and black and blue hand stamps.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Registered, censored cover from Isaac Israel in Bendsburg to Alfred Schwartzbaum in Lausanne, Switzerland with Czeladz registered label alongside. Bendsburg, German for Bendzin, was in the Katowice District of Poland. A Ghetto was created on July 1, 1941 containing 6,000 Jews who did slave labor for the German weapons industry. All the Jews were transported to Auschwitz when the ghetto was liquidated between April 1942 and June 1943, including 2,000 Jews who had been transported from Osweicim--the name of the town before it became known as Auschwitz--to Bendsburg.
Wehrmacht Censored Envelope from Denmark to Switzerland
Front: A white envelope with a typewritten address. Includes one purple and three red postage stamps, two black hand stamps, one blue sticker and censor tape, as well as purple and red pencil markings.Back: Includes censor tape as well as one purple and two red hand stamps.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: In approximately two weeks from the date of this letter, Denmark was to ferry most of its Jews to safety in Sweden.
Postcard with View of Beach, Chambon-Sur-Lignon, France
Front: Black and white photograph of people on a beach.Back: Message written in black ink.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: While the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators delivered 83,000 Jews--including 10,000 children--to concentration camps, the ordinary citizens of the town of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, in the hills of southeastern France, took in and protected Jews at great peril to their own lives. Approximately 5,000 Jews were saved, sheltered, educated, or, with the help of the underground, spirited to Spain or Switzerland. Jews were housed in private homes, on farms and public institutions, and when Gestapo or their Vichy French collaborators approached, villagers would hide the children in the forest. As soon as they left, villagers would sing a song signaling that it was safe to emerge from hiding. This extraordinary effort involving the entire village was guided by the Protestant pastor of the village, Andre Trochme, and his wife Magda. Despite being threatened by Vichy collaborators, he would not betray his charges. His cousin Daniel Trochme, however, was arrested and sent to the concentration camp Majdanek, where he perished. When Andre Trochme was finally forced to go into hiding, his wife Magda continued his work of sheltering the Jews of Le Chambon until the end of the war. The entire community of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon has been honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Gentiles, the first community to be honored.