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Concentration camp inmate uniform cap worn by a German Jewish inmate

Object | Accession Number: 1999.100.4

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    Concentration camp inmate uniform cap worn by a German Jewish inmate
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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Concentration camp inmate uniform cap worn by Norbert Wollheim. Due to the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazi dictatorship that ruled Germany beginning in 1933, Norbert, 20, who lived in Berlin, was expelled from law school in 1933 and fired from his job in 1938. That year, he helped arrange for Jewish children to escape Germany on kindertransports. In February 1942, he and his wife Rose and 3 year old son Uriel were deported to Auschwitz where Rose and Uriel were killed. Norbert was sent to Auschwitz III-Monowitz (Buna) as slave labor for I.G. Farben. On January 18, 1945, he underwent a death march from Auschwitz to Gleiwitz. From there, the prisoners were sent to Czechoslovakia, Austria, back to Czechoslovakia, and finally to Berlin on January 31. They were taken to Heinkel, a satellite camp of Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg. On April 20, the camp was evacuated by forced march. On May 2, Norbert fled to nearby Schwerin (Mecklenburg), where he was liberated by American troops on May 3, 1945. Norbert did not want to return to Soviet-controlled Berlin so he went first to Lubeck and then to Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp in Germany. With Joseph Rosensaft, he organized the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the British Zone. He married Frieda (Friedel) Senta Löwenberg, a German Jewish survivor and had two children. In the late 1940s, Norbert was a witness during the Nuremberg trials. In late 1950, Norbert and his family moved to the United States. They were twice arrested by the immigration authorities and threatened with deportation. Burt in 1952, they were legally admitted to the US. In 1951, Norbert successfully sued I.G. Farben for compensate for two years’ work as a slave laborer. The law suit led to a settlement with I.G. Farben that established a fund of $ 6.43 million to compensate other Jewish laborers.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum collection, gift of Charlotte Wollheim
    Contributor
    Subject: Norbert Wollheim
    Biography
    Norbert Wollheim was born in Berlin, Germany, on April 26, 1913 to Jewish parents. His father was a veteran of World War I, 1914-1918. Norbert was active in the German Jewish Youth Alliance. Hitler came to power in Germany in January 1933. In April, Norbert was expelled from law school at the University of Berlin because of the Nazis’ anti-Jewish laws. From 1935 through 1938, he worked as a clerk and scientific worker at an ore firm, Rawack and Grünfeld AG in Berlin-Charlottenburg. He married Rosa Mandelbrod on May 21, 1938. In September 1938 , he was dismissed from his job because he was Jewish. Following the November 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom, at the request of the German Jewish Community, Norbert helped arrange and escort twenty transports that took thousands of Jewish children to safety in Britain. The last Kindertransport left Berlin on August 29, 1939. Norbert continued to work for the leadership of the Jewish community, now renamed the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (Union of Jews in Germany).

    In 1941, Norbert was drafted to perform forced labor. In February 1943, he and his family were arrested and taken to the Grosse Hamburger Strasse assembly center. On March 11, they were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. His pregnant wife, Rosa, and their 3-year old son, Uriel perished there. Norbert’s arm was tattooed with the number 107984. He was one of 25,000 Jews used as slave labor to build a synthetic-rubber plant for I.G. Farben in Auschwitz III-Monowitz (Buna). On January 18, 1945, the prisoners made a forced march from Auschwitz to Gleiwitz. From there, the members of the evacuation transport traveled to Czechoslovakia, Austria, back to Czechoslovakia, and finally to Berlin on January 31. They were taken to Heinkel, a satellite camp of Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg near Berlin. On April 20, the camp was evacuated and the prisoners marched under SS guard towards an undisclosed location. On the night of May 2, Wollheim fled to nearby Schwerin (Mecklenburg), where he was liberated by American troops on May 3, 1945.

    Not wanting to return to Soviet-controlled Berlin, Wollheim went to Lübeck, where he helped to organize a community of 800 Jewish displaced persons. He was informed that 30,000 survivors lived in the nearby Bergen-Belsen DP camp, formerly a concentration camp. He visited the British controlled DP camp, and with Joseph Rosensaft, organized the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the British Zone. He married Frieda (Friedel) Senta Löwenberg (1921-1977), a German Jewish woman he met in Bergen-Belsen. They had two children. In the late 1940s, Norbert appeared as a witness during the Nuremberg trials and at the trial against Nazi sympathizer film director and actor Veit Harlan.

    Towards the end of 1950, Norbert and his family moved to the United States. They were twice arrested by the immigration authorities, detained on Ellis Island, and threatened with deportation. Finally, in 1952, they were legally admitted to the US. In 1951, Wollheim successfully sued I.G. Farben, arguing that the manufacturer should compensate him for two years’ work. The lawsuit opened the way for a settlement with I.G. Farben that established a fund of $ 6.43 million to compensate other Jewish laborers.

    Wollheim studied accounting at New York University and was granted certification in 1962. After Friedel’s passing in 1977, he married the former Charlotte Sprung. They resided in Queens, NY. Norbert had a successful accounting career until his retirement in 1991. Norbert played a leading role in the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the British Zone [of Germany], in the World Federation of Bergen-Belsen Survivors, and in the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. He was also member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Norbert, 85, died on November 1, 1998.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Clothing and Dress
    Physical Description
    round dark blue and gray striped with solid color rim
    Materials
    overall : cotton, dye

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The concentration camp inmate uniform cap was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999 by Charlotte Wollheim, the wife of Norbert Wollheim.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 17:44:12
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn12985

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