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Eva Ostwalt papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2008.86.1

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    Eva Ostwalt papers

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    The Eva Ostwalt papers contains documents and photographs relating to the personal life of Eva Ostwalt, a Jewish woman who was eventually imprisoned in Ravensbrück concentration camp during World War II. The photographs mainly consist of her family members, with many of Eva herself from both pre-war and her later years. The documents primarily relate to her time post-World War II, and include hospital notes, travel certificates, and identification materials. Other documents include correspondence, documentation concerning reparations, and other various affidavits and written statements. Also included in the collection are a cookbook which Eva created while she was interred at Ravensbrück, two sketches of her father Emil and her ex-husband Karl, and some newspapers.

    The Eva Ostwalt papers contain documents and photographs pertaining to the life of Eva Ostwalt. The documents range from written testimonies to proofs of identification. This includes birth and marriage certificates, hospital documents, travel certificates, and naturalization papers. Other affidavits and statements included also confirm Eva’s history. The testimonies are handwritten by Eva, and explain details of her time at Ravensbrück. Also included are documents relating to reparations made towards Eva, from her time at Ravensbrück where she worked in a factory for Siemens. The correspondence come from a variety of sources, including her sister, her former husband Karl, and a former prison-mate Edith Klemich, whose factual report from Ravensbrück is also included in the papers. Numerous letters, however, come from her daughter Heidemarie living in Dresden, who wrote to her mother while she was interned at Ravensbrück. A cookbook, created by Eva from scraps of paper while working at Siemens, is included in the papers, as well as a preface and foreword intended for eventual publication of the cookbook. The photographs in the collection were taken primarily prior to the war. The photographs range from Eva’s parents, Emil and Else, to Eva and her sisters at a young age to the birth of Eva’s daughter Heidemarie. Additional photos are of Eva’s husbands, her time with Heidemarie in Merano, Italy, Else’s family portrait from 1862, and Eva in her later years. Also included in the collection are sketches of Emil Lippmann and Karl Hesse, and copies of the newspapers the Neue Welt and the Washington Evening Star saved by Eva.
    inclusive:  1862-2007
    bulk:  1905-2007
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Eva Guttsmann Ostwalt
    Collection Creator
    Eva Ostwalt
    Eva Ostwalt (1902-2010) was born in Cologne, Germany to Emil Lippmann and Else Ballin Lippmann. Eva had two younger sisters, Kate and Trude. Although their family was Jewish, they had assimilated to the German community in Cologne. Emil belonged to the board of the Cologne Conservatory, and played cello in the Cologne orchestra. Karl Hesse, a new cellist, was introduced to Emil and consequently to Eva, and the two fell in love. Despite her parent’s wishes to marry someone Jewish, the couple wed anyway, and gave birth to a daughter, Heidemarie, in 1925. Karl got a solo cellist position in Dresden, and the family moved in 1927.

    Meanwhile, anti-Semitism began to spread throughout Germany. Trude and her husband immigrated to Palestine in 1935, and Kate immigrated to the United States in 1939. Their father, Emil, died in 1938. Eva and Karl divorced, partially due to Karl potentially losing his position due to his marriage to a Jew. Eva was awarded custody of Heidemarie, and the two moved to Merano, Italy, where they lived until 1938 when Eva’s passport expired and she was forced to return to Germany. Believing that Heidemarie would be safer with her father, Eva gave custody back to Karl in Dresden. Eva returned to Cologne, where both she and her mother Else were eventually caught by the SS. Else was sent to Auschwitz, where she would be killed. Eva was sent to Ravensbrück.

    Eva arrived at Ravensbrück in 1943 and remained there until the end of the war. While at Ravensbrück, she received letters from her daughter. She was first forced into hard labor, and eventually knitted socks for SS officers, before working at the nearby Siemens production factory. When the guards left them alone, the prisoners would exchange recipes, and Eva would copy recipes onto scraps of paper that she found within the factory. She eventually had enough recipes to make a crude recipe book. Near the end of the war, she was taken on a death march, where she escaped on the second night. She was eventually picked up by a man near the highway who took her to the hospital in Malchow on May 2nd, 1945. She was released August 3rd, and wished to see her daughter in Dresden. She arrived to find the town in ruin from air raids, and learned that her daughter had died from the attacks.

    Eva would stay with cousins and relatives for the next two years in Wurzburg and Munich. She met Harry Guttsmann, whom she would later marry. The two immigrated to the United States in 1947, and became American citizens in 1953. The couple decided to change their last name to Ostwalt (Harry’s mother’s maiden name) so others could pronounce it more easily.

    Physical Details

    English German
    1 box
    3 oversize folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Eva Ostwalt papers are arranged as five series:
    •Series 1: Documents, 1938-2001
    •Series 2: Cookbook, 1945
    •Series 3: Photographs, 1862-2007
    •Series 4: Sketches, 1936-1943
    •Series 5: Newspapers, 1947-1953

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The donor, source institution, or a third party has asserted copyright over some or all of these material(s). The Museum does not own the copyright for the material and does not have authority to authorize use. For permission, please contact the rights holder(s).

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Eva Ostwalt papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2008 by Eva Ostwalt.
    Funding Note
    The accessibility of this collection was made possible by the generous donors to our crowdfunded Save Their Stories campaign.
    Special Collection
    Save Their Stories
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-11 13:19:07
    This page:

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