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Carl Henry Collection

Film Collection

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    Collection Summary
    Carl Henry Levy travelled to Europe from the United States with his family from May to July 1927 where they visited Paris and several locations in Alsace-Lorraine, France. Fourteen-year-old Carl filmed the trip with his first camera, purchased a few days before leaving on the trip, about which he wrote in his diary, "I am in love with it to say the least." The Levys visited Ingwiller, which Carl’s father August left in 1892 in order to escape being drafted into the German Army. These home movies show Ingwiller’s synagogue, the house where August Levy was born, and prewar Jewish life in France, including relatives of the Levy family who did not survive, such as Salomon and Mina Levy, two of 36 members of the French resistance who were thrown alive into a well by the Nazis in Guerry in July 1944. From May to July 1927, when Carl Henry Levy was 14 years old, he travelled to Europe with his family - father, August Levy (1875-1967); mother, Clara Levy (1890-); sister, Emilie Jane Levy Drooker (1924-) and her governess; and his brother, Robert (1918-). They were accompanied by close friends - Louis Hartman, a shoe manufacturer from Haverhill, Massachusetts, his wife Deborah (Dora), and their daughter Sarah (known as Sally, later as Sarah Gould). Carl filmed the trip with a camera he purchased a few days before leaving for Europe; it was his first camera. [Carl wrote in a travel journal on May 19, 1927 in New York prior to departing for France, "Tinkered around with my movie camera. I am in love with it to say the least."] Upon the family's return to Cincinnati, young Carl would screen the footage to family friends about 50 times over a period of 2-3 months. The repeated projection of the images in social occasions might explain some of the scratches on the film. Abrupt cuts are a result of Carl's novice talent or experimentation. A bit of lint gets caught in the camera near the end of the film. Carl Henry's family visited his father's place of origin in Ingwiller in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. The area has alternated between French and German rule for hundreds of years. In 1870, the French lost the territory in a humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Under German rule and a policy of Germanization, which included the prohibition of speaking in French, the elimination of all French references, and other policies, many inhabitants of the area moved to France. Carl's father, August, moved to Cincinnati from Alsace in 1892 in order to escape the draft of the German army. The French desire to rule the Alsace-Lorraine region was a major mobilizing cause for French nationalism, and the French indeed regained control of the area after World War I, in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. When Carl's family visited Alsace, it was under French rule, and his father could freely show the family the places of his youth. In 1940, Hitler's troops occupied Alsace and regained German control of the region. Under Nazi control, the Jewish community captured in this footage would perish. In 1945, French and American troops regained the control of the region for France.
    US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Carl Henry Levy

    Administrative Notes

    Film Source
    Diana Mara Henry
    University of Massachusetts-Amherst
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    Browse 8 Items In This Collection

    Levy family aboard SS France en route to Europe

    Film | RG Number: RG-60.1467 | Film ID: 2987

    Event:  May 21-28, 1927

    Prewar Jewish life in Alsace-Lorraine; tourist views

    Film | RG Number: RG-60.1468 | Film ID: 2987

    Event:  June 8-18, 1927

    Levy family on SS France - departure and arrival in France

    Film | RG Number: RG-60.1469 | Film ID: 2987

    Event:  May 21-28, 1927

    Sightseeing in Paris

    Film | RG Number: RG-60.1470 | Film ID: 2987

    Event:  May 28-June 8, 1927

    Levy family visits spa in Baden-Baden

    Film | RG Number: RG-60.1471 | Film ID: 2987

    Event:  June 18-27, 1927

    Prewar Jewish life in Alsace

    Film | RG Number: RG-60.1472 | Film ID: 2987

    Event:  1927 June

    Sightseeing in Switzerland and Italy

    Film | RG Number: RG-60.1473 | Film ID: 2987

    Event:  June 27-July 13, 1927

    Levy family on SS Rotterdam returning to US

    Film | RG Number: RG-60.1474 | Film ID: 2987

    Event:  July 20-29, 1927
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 21:52:02
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