Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Burlap covered steamer trunk used by a German Jewish family

Object | Accession Number: 2008.199.1

Steamer trunk labelled Mombasa used by Max and Clara Davids Berg and their extended family when they fled Cologne, Germany, in May/June 1939. The family was warned by neighbors to leave their home in Lechenich prior to the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 9-10, 1938. Their homes were vandalized and the family decided to leave Germany. Max's sons, Josef and George, and cousin Ernest fled to the Netherlands. They were arrested, but their uncle, Herman Meyer, hired a lawyer and the men were detained but not deported. This gave the family time to find a country where they could emigrate legally. A family friend got them permits for British-ruled Kenya and eventually seventeen family members relocated to a cattle ranch near Nairobi during the war. Max died in 1942 and Clara in 1945. When the war ended in May 1945, the family decided to leave Africa. With the help of two cousins in the US, visas were obtained for the family. Josef, his wife Klara Meyer, and daughters, Inge, 18, and Jill, 14, used the trunk to emigrate to the US. Along with other family members, they arrived in Boston in mid-march 1947.

manufacture:  1938
emigration:  1938
acquired: Cologne (Germany)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jill Berg Pauly
Record last modified: 2022-04-14 10:19:43
This page: