- The Hanoch Gerstel papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence files, photographic materials, printed materials, and sermons documenting the life of a Vienna‐born pastor who was arrested by the Gestapo in Vienna and his family members in Austria, Sweden, and Hungary.
Biographical materials include birth certificates, a Ketubah and marriage certificate, a certificate of origin, a certificate documenting non‐Jewish status, identification cards, and passports documenting the lives of Hanoch and Ester Gerstel, his father Carl Gerstel, and his grandparents Julius and Charlotte Gerstel.
Correspondence files include letters Hanoch Gerstel wrote to his wife while in a Gestapo prison in Vienna in 1940, letters he wrote from Stockholm to his family in 1943, and miscellaneous correspondence with his daughter Lydia, friends, and colleagues, and a poem dedicated to his sister Edith Elsa one what would have been her fiftieth birthday. Although some of his letters describe his sentencing in Vienna, they do not provide the reason for his arrest.
Photographic materials include a Gerstel family album and an album from relatives named Kesckes in Budapest. Additional photographs show Hanoch Gerstel with his family and divinity school classmates, Ester Gerstel with their daughter Lydia, Hanoch Gerstel’s mother, and his brother and sister, Julius and Anne.
Printed materials include a 1941 pamphlet listing the statutes of the Swedish Mission Immanuel, a 1943 almanac listing Torah portions to be read each week for the year 1943‐1944 and providing information about religious services in Sweden, and a 1948 issue of the Swedish magazine “Judisk Krönika.”
The sermons were written by Hanoch Gerstel and comment on verses from the Old and New Testament. Most are in German and the rest are in Swedish. Dated sermons range from 1932 to 1941, but most are not dated.
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Lydia Gerstel
- Collection Creator
- Hanoch Gerstel
Friedrich Hugo (Hanoch) Gerstel (1899-1956) was born in Vienna to Carl and Theresia Gerstel. He attended divinity school in Stockholm, became a Pastor, and engaged in missionary work. He married Ester Stolpe (1892-1984), and the couple had two daughters: Eva Lydia and Ruth Debora. In 1939 he returned to Vienna to visit his family and preach, but he was arrested by the Gestapo and spent ten months in prison. His sisters Charlotte Gerstel Engel and Edith Gerstel are believed to have been killed at Auschwitz and Chełmno. He worked with the Israelsmissionen Immanuel and the Swedish Society of Friends to the Jewish People, and he published a book honoring the establishment of the State of Israel. His family’s name is sometimes spelled “Gerstl.”