<p>A transport of Jewish prisoners forced to march through the snow from the Bauschovitz train station to <a href="/narrative/5386">Theresienstadt</a>. Czechoslovakia, 1942.</p>

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  • A notice sent by the American Consulate General in Berlin regarding immigration visas

    Document

    A notice sent by the American Consulate General in Berlin to Arthur Lewy and family, instructing them to report to the consulate on July 26, 1939, with all the required documents, in order to receive their American visas. German Jews attempting to immigrate to the United States in the late 1930s faced overwhelming bureaucratic hurdles. It was difficult to get the necessary papers to leave Germany, and US immigration visas were difficult to obtain. The process could take years.

    A notice sent by the American Consulate General in Berlin regarding immigration visas
  • Advertisement for the Violetta women's club

    Document

    A newspaper advertisement for the Damenklub Violetta, a Berlin club frequented by lesbians, 1928. Before the Nazis came to power in 1933, lesbian communities and networks flourished in Germany.

    Advertisement for the Violetta women's club
  • American propaganda announcement

    Document

    Announcement dropped by American planes on Shanghai near the end of the war. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    American propaganda announcement
  • Anti-Nazi Cartoon

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    This cartoon, “The Modern Mercury” by Jerry Doyle, appeared in The Philadelphia Record, December 7, 1935. The faded large figure in the background bears the label “Olympics ideals of sportsmanship and international good will.” The image of Hitler in the foreground bears the words “1936 Olympics,” “Intolerance and discrimination,” and “Nazism.”

    Anti-Nazi Cartoon
  • Antisemitic cartoon

    Document

    Antisemitic cartoon showing a Jew leading a Soviet official by a leash. It reads "The 'ideal' person for the chosen people: There’s no accounting for taste."

    Antisemitic cartoon
  • Antisemitic illustration

    Document

    Antisemitic propaganda of an agricultural worker kicking a stereotypically depicted Jewish man through a fence. It reads "German export: Out of our German country with the slimy Jewish band."

    Antisemitic illustration
  • Cartoon depicting enemies of the Nazis

    Document

    Cartoon depicting Jews, communists, and other enemies of the Nazis hanging on a gallows, 1935

    Cartoon depicting enemies of the Nazis
  • Census Card

    Document

    On December 17, 1941, the Romanian government issued a decree requiring a census of all those with "Jewish blood.” All persons having one or two Jewish parents or two Jewish grandparents were ordered to register at the Central Jewish Office. This is a census certificate issued by that office in 1942.

    Census Card
  • Census Card

    Document

    On December 17, 1941, the Romanian government issued a decree requiring a census of all those with “Jewish blood.” All persons having one or two Jewish parents or two Jewish grandparents were ordered to register at the Central Jewish Office. This is a census certificate issued by that office in 1942.

    Census Card
  • Certificate of "Aryan" Descent

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    A certificate of "Aryan" descent, issued to Joseph Schäfer of Mühlheim, Germany. To prove one's "Aryan" racial status in Nazi Germany, an individual had to trace their ancestry back to 1800. Signed by an official justice of the peace, this certificate attests to Schäfer's parentage and baptism. Dated January 14, 1936.

    Certificate of "Aryan" Descent
  • Certificate of Polish citizenship (inside)

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    Many refugees had difficulties replacing lost or invalidated personal identification documents. The certificate of Polish citizenship shown here was valid in place of a passport. A Polish Jewish refugee used this certificate to travel legally from Lithuania, through the Soviet Union, to Japan. It contains the Curacao notation needed to obtain Soviet and Japanese visas. The bearer of this certificate aimed to reach Palestine, but ended up spending most of the war in Calcutta, India, part of the British…

    Certificate of Polish citizenship (inside)
  • Dismissal letter

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    During the interwar period Dr. Susanne Engelmann served as the principal of a large public high school for girls in Berlin. This letter notified her of her dismissal, as a "non-Aryan," from her teaching position. The dismissal was in compliance with the Civil Service Law of April 7, 1933. On April 7, the German government issued the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums), which excluded Jews and political opponents from all civil…

    Dismissal letter
  • Dismissal letter from the Berlin transit authority

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    A letter written by the Berlin transit authority (Berliner Verkehrs Aktiengesellschaft) to Viktor Stern, informing him of his dismissal from his post with their agency as of September 20, 1933. This action was taken to comply with provisions of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service. On April 7, the German government issued the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums), which excluded Jews and political opponents…

    Dismissal letter from the Berlin transit authority
  • Document Belonging to Chief Prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz

    Document

    One page of a document belonging to Chief Prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz listing the defendants in the Einsatzgruppen Case along with their position and crimes, line of defense, counts against them, and sentence.

    Document Belonging to Chief Prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz
  • Documentation for a false identity: Simone Weil

    Document

    Simone Weil kept this blank identification card bearing her picture in case her cover as "Simone Werlin" were blown and she needed to establish a new false identity. Both resistance workers and sympathetic government employees provided her the necessary stamps and signatures. Such forged documents assisted Weil in her work rescuing Jewish children as a member of the relief and rescue organization Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (Children's Aid Society; OSE).

    Documentation for a false identity: Simone Weil
  • Aaron A. Eiferman Letter: Page 1

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    First page of a letter from a US soldier describing "the living dead" and conditions his unit encountered in a subcamp of Dachau in April 1945.

    Aaron A. Eiferman Letter: Page 1
  • German Map of the Baltic Countries

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    This German map indicates the number and distribution of Jews living in the Baltic countries as of 1935. It served as a reference for the SS mobile killing squad assigned to carry out the mass murder of the Jews there.

    German Map of the Baltic Countries
  • German passport issued to Alice "Sara" Mayer (inside)

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    A German passport issued to Alice Mayer on February 24, 1939, in Bingen, Germany. Mayer's daughter, Ellen, is also listed on the passport. Both mother and daughter's names include the middle name "Sara." This middle name became a mandatory addition required by a law of August 17, 1938. Thereafter, all Jewish women in Germany with a first name of "non-Jewish" origin had to add "Sara" as a middle name on all official documents. Jewish men had to add the name "Israel". This enabled German officials to…

    German passport issued to Alice "Sara" Mayer (inside)
  • German passport Issued to Erna "Sara" Schlesinger (inside)

    Document

    German police authorities issued this passport to Erna "Sara" Schlesinger on July 8, 1939, in Berlin. This first page of the passport illustrates the German laws that facilitated the identification of Jews in Germany. From 1938, German regulations required that Jewish women with a first name of "non-Jewish" origin use the middle name "Sara" on all official documents. Jewish men had to add the name "Israel". The letter "J" (standing for "Jude," that is, the word "Jew" in German) was stamped in red on the…

    German passport Issued to Erna "Sara" Schlesinger (inside)
  • Hand-drawn plan of Westerbork transit camp

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    The Dutch government established a camp at Westerbork to intern Jewish refugees who had entered the Netherlands illegally. This sketch of the Westerbork transit camp was made by a Jewish inmate who was able to emigrate to the United States. In early 1942, the German occupation authorities decided to enlarge Westerbork and convert it into a transit camp for Jews. The systematic concentration of Jews from the Netherlands in Westerbork began in July 1942. From Westerbork, Jews were deported to the killing…

    Hand-drawn plan of Westerbork transit camp
  • Identification papers issued to Erika Tamar

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    Identification papers issued to Erika Tamar stating that she was born in Vienna on June 10, 1934. Erika was one of the 50 children rescued by Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus.

    Identification papers issued to Erika Tamar
  • Ilona Kellner's recipe for butter scones with jam

    Document

    Ilona Kellner and her family lived in Pelsöc, which became part of Hungary before World War II. Following the German occupation of Hungary, Ilona, her sister Vera, and her parents Karoly and Jolan were forced into a ghetto in another area of the town. In mid-June, the family was deported to the Auschwitz camp in German-occupied Poland. Ilona's parents were killed in the gas chambers at Birkenau. In early August, Ilona and her sister were deported to Hessisch Lichtenau, a subcamp of the Buchenwald…

    Ilona Kellner's recipe for butter scones with jam
  • Ilona Kellner's recipe for various strudel fillings

    Document

    Ilona Kellner and her family lived in Pelsöc, which became part of Hungary before World War II. Following the German occupation of Hungary, Ilona, her sister Vera, and her parents Karoly and Jolan were forced into a ghetto in another area of the town. In mid-June, the family was deported to the Auschwitz camp in German-occupied Poland. Ilona's parents were killed in the gas chambers at Birkenau. In early August, Ilona and her sister were deported to Hessisch Lichtenau, a subcamp of…

    Ilona Kellner's recipe for various strudel fillings
  • Intourist service voucher for the Trans-Siberian Railroad

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    Voucher for travel on the Trans-Siberian Railroad purchased at the "Intourist Travel Company of the USSR" in England for Joseph and Ruth Schaffer. Thousands of Jewish refugees fled Nazi Europe on the Trans-Siberian Railroad through the Soviet Union to Japan with the help of Japanese visas provided by Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Intourist service voucher for the Trans-Siberian Railroad
  • Letter from Esther Lurie regarding lost art, 1945

    Document

    This document is one page of a letter from artist Esther Lurie, written after the war, asking for help in following down leads and locating the artwork she had created and hidden while imprisoned in the Kovno ghetto, Lithuania.  She wrote, "The matter concerns a collection of 200 pen-and-ink drawings representing scenes of ghetto life which I made during my internment in the Kaunas Ghetto (Lithuania) in 1941-1944.  I left the drawings buried in the earth as I felt that I had no hope of survival."

    Letter from Esther Lurie regarding lost art, 1945
  • Letter home from an American soldier about the end of World War II in Europe

    Document

    Rudolph Daniel Sichel (b. 1915) left Germany in 1934 for England and then immigrated to the United States in 1936. His father, who had remained in Germany, was arrested during Kristallnacht, sent to Buchenwald for a couple of months, forced to sell his store at a loss, and immigrated to the United States with Rudolph's mother shortly after. Sichel joined the US Army in 1943, attending courses at the Military Intelligence Training Center at Camp Ritchie, MD. He landed on Utah Beach in July 1944 and was…

    Letter home from an American soldier about the end of World War II in Europe
  • Listing of Jews for deportation to Riga, Latvia

    Document

    The SS compiled lists of Jews who were to be deported to ghettos, concentration camps, and killing centers. This document provides the names, birthdates, marital status, and addresses of Jews who were “evacuated” on November 20, 1941 from Germany to the Riga ghetto in German-occupied Latvia.

    Listing of Jews for deportation to Riga, Latvia
  • Lithuanian safe conduct pass (reverse)

    Document

    A Lithuanian safe conduct pass bearing a stamp for transit through Japan (from Chiune Sugihara), two Soviet transit visas, a Lithuanian stamp, a U.S. non-immigrant visa, and a U.S. entry stamp from Seattle, Washington. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Lithuanian safe conduct pass (reverse)
  • Magdalena Kusserow's letter to her sister

    Document

    Magdalena Kusserow, incarcerated in a special barracks for Jehovah's Witnesses in the Ravensbrück concentration camp, used stationery provided to prisoners to write a letter to her sister Annemarie in April 1942. The handwritten numbers in the block in the upper right identify Magdalena as prisoner 9591, assigned to block 17a. Magdalena wrote to her sister in part (translated from German): "Dear Annemarie. Received your letter of March 15, did you get mine? I'm fine. How did it go with Wolfgang's 2nd…

    Magdalena Kusserow's letter to her sister
  • Mariska's recipe for hazelnut cake

    Document

    Ilona Kellner and her family lived in Pelsöc, which became part of Hungary before World War II. Following the German occupation of Hungary, Ilona, her sister Vera, and her parents Karoly and Jolan were forced into a ghetto in another area of the town. In mid-June, the family was deported to the Auschwitz camp in German-occupied Poland. Ilona's parents were killed in the gas chambers at Birkenau. In early August, Ilona and her sister were deported to Hessisch Lichtenau, a subcamp of the Buchenwald…

    Mariska's recipe for hazelnut cake
  • Marriage certificate obtained by Dr. Mohamed Helmy

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    Marriage certificate obtained by Dr. Mohamed Helmy stating that Anna Gutman (Boros) married an Egyptian man in a ceremony held in Helmy’s home. Dr. Helmy also received certification from the Central Islamic Institute in Berlin attesting to Anna’s conversion to Islam, which the marriage certificate reflects. Translation: Marriage certificate On Wednesday June 16, 1943, we have certified the marriage contract between Abdelaziz Helmy Hammad, 36 years old, who was born on May 6th, 1906, in Faqous,…

    Tags: rescue
    Marriage certificate obtained by Dr. Mohamed Helmy
  • Max Diamant's identity card (inside)

    Document

    Max Diamant obtained this identity card from the German health department located in Krakow (Krakau), occupied Poland, in July 1942. This view shows the interior pages, which identify him as a Jew and detail his personal information, such as occupation (dental assistant), birthdate (June 23, 1915), birthplace (Vienna), and current address in Przemysl, Poland.

    Max Diamant's identity card (inside)
  • Max Diamant's identity card (outside)

    Document

    In July 1942, the German health department located in Krakow (Krakau), occupied Poland, issued this identity card to Max Diamant. This view shows the front and back covers of the card. The interior pages identify Diamant as a dental assistant in Przemysl, Poland, and show his signature and photograph mounted under the stamped word "Jew."

    Max Diamant's identity card (outside)
  • Mrs. Zinger's recipe for mocha cake

    Document

    Ilona Kellner and her family lived in Pelsöc, which became part of Hungary before World War II. Following the German occupation of Hungary, Ilona, her sister Vera, and her parents Karoly and Jolan were forced into a ghetto in another area of the town. In mid-June, the family was deported to the Auschwitz camp in German-occupied Poland. Ilona's parents were killed in the gas chambers at Birkenau. In early August, Ilona and her sister were deported to Hessisch Lichtenau, a subcamp of the Buchenwald…

    Mrs. Zinger's recipe for mocha cake
  • Newspaper article "The Refugee Tragedy"

    Document

    San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article titled "The Refugee Tragedy." The article was based on an interview with Moses Beckelman of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an aid organization. It discussed the overcrowding of Polish and Lithuanian refugees stranded in Shanghai, Kobe (Japan), and Lisbon (Portugal), all stops en route to North and South America. The primary cause of this bottleneck was a lack of transit and entry visas, a result of most countries closing their borders to…

    Newspaper article "The Refugee Tragedy"
  • Notice of Gregor Wohlfahrt's execution

    Document

    Authorities in Berlin, Germany, sent this notice to Barbara Wohlfahrt, informing her of her husband Gregor's execution on the morning of December 7, 1939. Although he was physically unfit to serve in the armed forces, the Nazis tried Wohlfahrt for his religious opposition to military service. As a Jehovah's Witness, Wohlfahrt believed that military service violated the biblical commandment not to kill. On November 8, 1939, a military court condemned Wohlfahrt to beheading, a sentence carried out one month…

    Notice of Gregor Wohlfahrt's execution
  • On the waiting list for American visas

    Document

    This document from the American Consul-General in Vienna certifies that the Trost family applied for American visas on September 15, 1938. It states that the family (Josef, Alice, Dorrit, and Erika) were placed on the waiting list for visas with the numbers 47291-47294.

    On the waiting list for American visas
  • On the waiting list for American visas

    Document

    Selmar and Elsa Biener joined the waiting list for US immigration visas in September 1938. Their waiting list numbers—45,685 and 45,686—indicate the number of people who had registered with the US consulate in Berlin. By September 1938, approximately 220,000 people throughout Germany, mostly Jews, were on the waiting list.

    On the waiting list for American visas
  • Our Life newspaper: Allied victory

    Document

    Newspaper Our Life, for September 7, 1945, showing the headline "Long Live Allied Victory". [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Our Life newspaper: Allied victory
  • Page 12 of passport issued to Setty Sondheimer

    Document

    Transit visa in a passport issued to Setty Sondheimer, a German citizen. This visa, issued on August 6, 1940, enabled her to travel through Japan en route to Surinam, Curacao, or other Dutch colonies in the Americas. These plans were disrupted when travel across the Pacific Ocean was forbidden following U.S. entry into World War II. Setty remained in Japan until she was able to emigrate to the United States in 1947. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Page 12 of passport issued to Setty Sondheimer
  • Page 17 of passport issued to Setty Sondheimer

    Document

    A page in a passport belonging to Setty Sondheimer containing stamps from Ecuador. These stamps are marked in red with the word "Anulado," the Spanish word for "canceled." The stamps were canceled when Setty's visa for Ecuador expired because she was unable to travel across the Pacific due to fighting in that theater. Setty remained in Japan for the duration of the war and emigrated to the United States in 1947. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Page 17 of passport issued to Setty Sondheimer
  • Page 2 of passport issued to Setty Sondheimer

    Document

    Page 2, containing an identification photograph, of a passport issued to Setty Sondheimer by the German Consulate in Kovno on January 29, 1938. With aid from Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara in obtaining Japanese transit visas, Setty and her family emigrated from Kovno in February 1941. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Page 2 of passport issued to Setty Sondheimer
  • Page 5 of passport issued to Setty Sondheimer

    Document

    Page 5 of a passport issued to Setty Sondheimer by the German Consulate in Kovno on January 29, 1938. This page contains three visas: (1) visa for Kovno valid from August 27, 1940, until December 31, 1940 (2) a second visa for Kovno valid until June 30, 1941, and (3) first visa for Yokohama, Japan, valid from June 7, 1941, until June 30, 1942. Unable to emigrate from Japan, Setty remained there until she was able to emigrate to the United States in 1947. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and…

    Page 5 of passport issued to Setty Sondheimer
  • Pass for rabbinical student Chaim Gorfinkel

    Document

    Special pass issued to rabbinical student Chaim Gorfinkel. Yeshiva students had to obtain special passes from Japanese authorities to leave the "designated area" in order to continue their studies at the Beth Aharon Synagogue, which was located outside the zone. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Tags: Judaism Japan
    Pass for rabbinical student Chaim Gorfinkel
  • Pass issued to rabbinical student Moshe Zupnik

    Document

    Special pass issued to rabbinical student Moshe Zupnik. Yeshiva students had to obtain special passes from Japanese authorities to leave the "designated area" in order to continue their studies at the Beth Aharon Synagogue, which was located outside the zone. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Tags: Japan Judaism
    Pass issued to rabbinical student Moshe Zupnik
  • Permit for stay in Japan

    Document

    Most Polish Jewish refugees stayed in Japan much longer than their 10-day transit visas allowed. Many feared the day when Japanese authorities would no longer extend their stay with permits like the one shown here. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Tags: refugees Japan
    Permit for stay in Japan
  • Permit for stay in Japan

    Document

    Japanese authorities issued this "Permit for stay in Japan" to Ruth Segal (Rys Berkowicz). After several unsuccessful attempts to obtain visas for the United States, Ruth's father was able to secure a visa for her to go to New Zealand, in the British Commonwealth of Nations. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Tags: Japan refugees
    Permit for stay in Japan
  • Plan of the "St. Louis"

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    Plan of the two-propeller passenger liner the "St. Louis," showing cabins and room numbers. In 1939, this German ocean liner carried almost 1,000 Jewish refugees seeking temporary refuge in Cuba. It was forced to return to Europe after Cuba and then the United States refused to allow the refugees entry.

    Plan of the "St. Louis"
  • Polish citizenship certificate issued to Samuel Solc

    Document

    Polish citizenship certificate issued to Samuel Solc on December 16, 1939, by the Britannic Majesty's Legation in Kovno, charged with representing Polish interests in Lithuania. Samuel decided to emigrate to Palestine in late 1939. His journey lasted over two years and took him through eight countries. Samuel arrived in Palestine on February 6, 1942, after stays in Lithuania; Kobe, Japan; Shanghai, China; and Bombay, India. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Polish citizenship certificate issued to Samuel Solc
  • Polish citizenship certificate issued to Samuel Solc

    Document

    This page of a Polish citizenship certificate issued to Samuel Solc contains two visas. The first (left), stamped by the British Passport control in Shanghai, allowed Samuel to travel to Palestine via Burma, India, Egypt, and Rangoon. The second visa (right) bears the British Mandate "Government of Palestine" stamp, dated February 6, 1942, and allowed Samuel to remain in Palestine permanently. [From the USHMM special exhibition Flight and Rescue.]

    Polish citizenship certificate issued to Samuel Solc

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