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Steiff teddy bear used to smuggle valuables out of Vienna

Object | Accession Number: 2014.350.2

Golden brown Steiff bear owned by Hans Butzke and used by his parents, Julius and Netty, to smuggle family valuables out of Vienna, Austria, when they left for Panama in early 1940. Jews were not permitted to take valuables from Germany, so Netty sewed the items, including a ring and possibly pearls, inside the bear. She told Hans not to let anyone take it from him, but did not tell him about the jewels hidden inside. The bear wears Hans’ baby clothes. On March 13, 1938, Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany. In early 1940, the family left by train for Amsterdam. German soldiers on the train took the bear away from Hans, 10. He screamed and the men threw the bear back at him while calling him names. The family sailed to Panama. A few months later, they reached the United States and settled in Brooklyn.

manufacture:  1925-1935
use:  1940
manufacture: Giengen (Germany)
received: Vienna (Austria)
Stuffed animals
Object Type
Teddy bears (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Richard Butzke, Eva Butzke Wien, and the Butzke family
Record last modified: 2022-04-04 07:45:01
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