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Embroidered tablecloth with blue floral design owned by a Jewish woman

Object | Accession Number: 2014.490.3

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    Embroidered tablecloth with blue floral design owned by a Jewish woman

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Embroidered tablecloth owned by Klara Stempler Greif in Roman, Romania during the Holocaust. Klara and her husband Hersch were both born in Kolomea, Austria-Hungary (now Kolomyya, Ukraine) and had two sons, Maximilian and Ignacy. The family moved to Roman shortly after Ignacy was born, and were there when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, starting World War II. Originally, Romania chose to stay neutral in the war. However, in September 1940, a coalition government came to power led by General Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard, a nationalistic party which promoted violent antisemitism. Following this change in government, Romania officially joined the Axis alliance, and restrictions against Jews began to intensify. In Roman, Jews were spared from much of the antisemitic violence prevalent throughout the rest of Romania because Jewish leaders were able to influence the local Iron Guard commander through financial support. Nonetheless, Klara was still forced to wear the yellow Star of David badge, and was prohibited from moving around town outside of a few designated hours each day. Additionally, Ignacy was kicked out of school in Bucharest, and was a forced laborer in the German barracks. In August 1944, opposition politicians overthrew Antonescu and signed an armistice with the Soviet Union. Romanian troops then started working with the Allies. Following the ousting of the antisemitic Romanian government and the German military, Ignacy reenrolled in school, while Maximilian worked for an import-export company in Bucharest.
    Date
    undated: 
    Geography
    use: Roman (Romania)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Claudia Greif
    Contributor
    Subject: Klara S. Greif
    Biography
    Chaja Itta Stempler (later Klara Stempler Greif, 1881-1946) was born in Kolomea, Austria-Hungary (now Kolomyya, Ukraine) to Feige Bane (née Wulin) and Juda Hersch Stempler. She had at least four sisters and one brother. In the 1890s the Stempler family immigrated to Romania. One of Klara’s sisters stayed in Kolomea, and on a trip to visit her, Klara met Hersch Peretz Greif (1882-1965). Hersch and Klara married in 1910 and Klara moved back to Kolomea. The couple had two sons, Maximilian (1912-1980) and Ignacy (1920-2012). Shortly after Ignacy was born, the family moved to Roman, Romania to join Klara’s family. The rest of Hersch’s family remained in Kolomea, which at the time was part of Poland following the country realignments at the end of World War I.

    On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II. Klara’s sons had both moved to Bucharest by this time, with Ignacy having just enrolled at the Polytechnic Institute to study electro-mechanical engineering. Originally, Romania chose to stay neutral in the war, even though Romanian authorities already pursued a policy of harsh, persecutory antisemitism against Jews. In September 1940, a coalition government came to power led by General Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard, a nationalistic party which promoted violent antisemitism. Following this change in government, Romania officially joined the Axis alliance, and restrictions against Jews began to intensify. Ignacy was kicked out of school, as Jews were no longer allowed to obtain an education. He became a forced laborer in the German barracks unloading and cleaning war supplies.

    In Roman, where Klara and Hersch were still living, Jews were spared from much of the antisemitic violence prevalent throughout the rest of Romania because Jewish leaders were able to influence the local Iron Guard commander through financial support. Nonetheless, many Roman Jews were dismissed from their jobs or had their salary reduced. Some were sent to forced labor either in the surrounding area, or with various Romanian military units that were supporting the German invasion of the Soviet Union. In summer 1941, Jews were ordered to start wearing the yellow Star of David badge, and they were prohibited from moving around town outside of a few designated hours each day. The German army also forced Jews throughout all of Romania to donate blankets and winter clothes to German soldiers.

    In August 1944, as Soviet troops were gaining ground in Romania, opposition politicians overthrew Antonescu and signed an armistice with the Soviet Union. Romanian troops then started working with the Allies, fighting alongside Soviet troops through Hungary and into Germany. Klara, her husband, and both of their sons survived the Holocaust, but many of Hersch’s family members in Poland were killed. Following the ousting of the antisemitic Romanian government and the German military, Ignacy reenrolled at the Polytechnic Institute, while Maximilian worked for an import-export company in Bucharest.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Furnishings and Furniture
    Category
    Household linens
    Object Type
    Tablecloths (lcsh)
    Extent
    1 folder
    Physical Description
    Large, rectangular, white tablecloth with embroidered blue borders. The white cloth has repetitive, evenly spaced, leafy wreaths embroidered across the large area, in-between the borders. The top side of the tablecloth has borders running the length of the long edges with a light blue-gray background and dark blue design of leafy scrollwork with a large plant in the center of each scrollwork piece, and three flowers rising out of an elaborate base in-between. The border on the underside of the tablecloth has the colors inversed. A thin, white border is embroidered on either side of the blue borders with repeating dashes spaced between simple flowers. There is dark blue staining across the center of the tablecloth, and purple staining near the short edges.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 52.125 inches (132.398 cm) | Width: 94.250 inches (239.395 cm)
    Materials
    overall : cloth, thread

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Corporate Name
    Garda de Fier

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The tablecloth was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2014 by Claudia Greif, the granddaughter of Klara Stempler Greif.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 08:07:27
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn159421

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