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Metal bowl recovered from a concentration camp by a Polish Jewish man

Object | Accession Number: 1990.115.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Metal bowl found on the site of the former Janowska Street concentration camp in L’viv, Ukraine (formerly Lwów, Poland, and Lemberg, under German occupation) in 1944 by Isak (later Eric) Hauser. After Isak acquired his master’s degree in engineering and moved to western Poland, his parents, sister, and brother relocated to the city of Lwów. In September 1939, both Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland. As German forces approached the oil fields in western Poland where Isak worked, he fled to the city of Lwów, which had been renamed L'vov and incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as part of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union. There, he briefly joined his family, met, and married his wife, Luise. Isak could not find work in L’vov, so he and Luise headed to Borislav, where he had extended family. There, he became a manager in the Borislav power plant, and worked as the head of a workshop that made shovels for the German army. On July 1, 1941, the German army occupied Borislav (which became Boryslaw). Isak and Luise managed to hide during the Aktions aimed at the Jewish population, and in November 1942 were forced into a labor camp. They escaped the camp in late spring 1944, and hid until Boryslaw was liberated by the Soviet army on August 7. They then traveled to Lwów, where Isak’s family had been forced from the ghetto into the Janowska Street labor camp for the SS German Armament Works. His family was likely killed in 1943, when the ghetto and camp were liquidated. The couple settled in Munich, Germany, until they immigrated to the United States in October 1949.,
    found:  after 1944 August 07-1944 December 31
    found: Janowska (Concentration camp); Lʹviv (Ukraine)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Eric Hauser
    Subject: Eric Hauser
    Isak Hauser (later, Eric, 1908-1996) was born to Moses (1885-1943) and Liebe (nee Eichmann, 1885-1943) Hauser in Gródek Jagielloński, Poland (now Horodok, Ukraine). He had a sister, Hilda (later Adler, 1910-1943), and a brother, Aron (1914-1943). Grodek’s gentile population barred Jews from entering the trade guilds, and as a result, the Jewish community was rather poor. Despite this, Isak’s family was well off. Moses was a contractor with his own business, building houses and issuing mortgages to other Jewish families. Isak’s grandfather, Israel Eichmann, was the head of the Jewish community and he used his influence to place Isak in the Catholic high school, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1926. The Jewish community of Gródek Jagielloński prioritized education, most could read Polish and German and everyone read the religious texts. Like other Jewish youth, Isak had leftist and socialist leanings under Polish rule.

    As a Jew, Isak was not accepted to a Polish university, and moved to Czechoslovakia to attend the technical university in Brno. In 1931, Isak graduated with a master’s degree in electrical and mechanical engineering. After completing his studies at the university, he returned home to Poland. Isak’s degree was not recognized by the authorities, and he had to take a certification exam. After passing, Isak found work as an engineer and assistant manager for a Jewish-owned oil field in the western Galicia region of Poland. In 1939, Isak’s family moved into a large house Moses built in Lwów, Poland. Isak’s sister, Hilda, studied law and married an attorney before buying a movie house in Lwów. His brother, Aron, worked as an accountant.

    In September 1939, in accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Germany invaded western Poland while the Soviet army annexed eastern Poland. Lwów was occupied, renamed L’vov, and incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union. Isak’s manager emptied most of the company’s bank account and fled for America, leaving Isak in charge of the 220 employees and no payroll. Isak’s reputation among the employees prevented them from turning on him. Shortly thereafter, as the Germans approached, Isak was given orders to dismantle the oil wells and equipment to make them non-functional. During the night, he took four other Jews and headed east in a car he had hidden nearby. Due to the dark and rough roads, he crashed the car into a river; they all survived and managed to walk to a railroad station. They caught a train to Soviet-occupied L’vov, where Isak joined his family. There, he met and married Luise Finkler (1911-1999). Isak could not find work in L’vov, so he and Luise headed 47 miles southwest to Borislav, where he had extended family. He became the head of the mechanical and electrical department in the Borislav power plant, and worked as the head of a workshop that made shovels for the German army. Luise worked in administrative positions. Isak and Luise were among the 13,000 Jews of Borislav who were subjected to severe restrictions and psychological abuse by the Soviets, under the leadership of Joseph Stalin.

    In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union, and had occupied Borislav (which became Boryslaw) by July 1. A Ukrainian militia organized a violent pogrom against the Jewish population, and the following month, authority was given to a German civil administration. This administration soon authorized the establishment of a Jewish ghetto in Boryslaw, and near the end of November, they conducted the first organized Aktion in the city, capturing and killing 700-800 Jews. Thirty members of Isak’s extended family were killed as a result. Aktions against the Jewish population continued to take place every few months. Even though they had papers that were supposed to protect them, Isak and Luise hid during the Aktions to avoid getting picked off the street. In 1942, Ukrainian and mounted German police surrounded his column marching to work and Isak fled, jumping over a fence of an oil storage facility while being shot at. During another early Aktion, he and Luise went to the house of a member of the Jewish militia, who let them hide in his apartment. Other times, they hid for days in partially flooded basements. Isak also helped build an escape tunnel for Jews to hide, which they were able to construct without detection. In November 1942, a forced labor camp was established for the 1,470 Jews working for the oil company Karpathen Öl Aktiengesellschaft. During that month, Isak was issued an “R” badge to identify him as a Rüstungarbeiter, or armaments worker, and he had a pass that allowed him to leave the camp to conduct technical work for the oil wells. Isak had to pay a significant bribe to the official issuing the ID card in order to specify that he was a specialized engineer, a profession considered important to the war effort. Authorities continued to kill and transport Jews to concentration camps, and completed the liquidation of the ghetto in early June 1943.

    In April 1944, the Germans completed the final liquidations of the forced labor camp. As the Soviet army began advancing toward Boryslaw, Isak believed the Germans would kill the remaining Jews. He forged a pass for his wife, and they escaped the camp. For six weeks, they hid in the attic of a Ukrainian peasant alongside 16 other people. Borysław was liberated by the Soviet army on August 7. After liberation, Isak was able to acquire Polish papers for Luise and himself, and they were permitted to cross the border into Poland. They went to Lwów, where Isak’s family had been forced from the Lwów ghetto into a labor camp on Janowska Street for the SS German Armament Works. His family was likely killed in 1943, when the ghetto and Janowska camp were destroyed and city was declared “Judenrein” (free of Jews). In 1939, prior to the war, there had been 109,500 Jews living in Lwów. In Boryslaw, the Jewish population in Boryslav had shrunk from over 13,000 to 400 between the onset of German occupation in 1941 and liberation in 1944.

    The couple then traveled to Munich, where Isak acquired a job with the World ORT Union as the director of a vocational school with 2,000 students. ORT was established in Russia in 1880, and following World War II, provided training courses to survivors to help them rebuild their lives in new countries. In 1947, Isak and Luise gave depositions for the court proceedings against the Boryslaw Schupo (police). They lived in Munich until immigrating to the United States in October1949, where they changed their names to Eric and Louise and settled in New York.

    Physical Details

    Household Utensils
    Bowls (Tableware)
    Physical Description
    Light gray, aluminum bowl with a rolled rim and flat base. The bowl is in poor shape and heavily dented, warped, and scratched. The base is approximately five inches across, and heavily dented. Around the lip, an approximately three-quarter inch section of the edge is unevenly folded down and to the outside, creating an undulating rim. Both the interior and exterior of the bowl have small patches of a silver-colored plating. The interior of the bowl has a coating of cement residue in varying shades of white, gray, and tan, an accretion of glue on the sidewall, and small patches of orange corrosion. The exterior of the bowl spotted with dark green paint.
    overall: Height: 2.875 inches (7.303 cm) | Diameter: 8.500 inches (21.59 cm)
    overall : aluminum, concrete, paint, adhesive, metal

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The bowl was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1990 by Eric Hauser.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-28 09:14:25
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