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Decorated porcelain teacup saved by a German Jewish prewar refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2008.204.2

Meissen, ivy-patterned teacup brought with Gertrude Wiesenthal when she emigrated from Berlin, Germany. In March 1939, Gertrude joined her husband, Fritz, and daughters, Illa and Nellie, in the United States. The teacup bears the Meissen, crossed swords maker’s mark and the number 44 beneath, which may be a date stamp indicating it was produced in 1844. Pieces bearing the ivy pattern are often accented with gold lines, and the lack of those here may suggest that this is a factory second, which Gertrude enjoyed acquiring. On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. Following the passage of the Nuremberg laws in 1935, Gertrude’s husband, a doctor, began looking for places where the family could immigrate because life was becoming increasingly difficult for Jews in Germany. Later that year, Gertrude and Fritz sent Illa to boarding school in England. When Nellie was no longer allowed to attend public school, she moved to her grandmother Ernestine’s home in order to attend a Jewish school nearby. Eventually, Jews were no longer able to practice medicine, and the family needed to emigrate. In 1938, Fritz left for the US in order to make living arrangements for his family and begin studying for the medical boards he needed to pass in order to practice medicine. He sent for Illa in August 1938, and Nellie arrived in the US escorted by a governess in January 1939. Later in the year, Ernestine arrived in London, England. In late 1942, Ernestine joined her family in the US.

emigration:  1939 March
manufacture:  1815-1924
acquired: Berlin (Germany)
manufacture: Meissen (Germany : Landkreis)
en route: New York (N.Y.)
Household Utensils
Object Type
Teacups (lcsh)
Drinking vessels.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Nellie Fink
Record last modified: 2022-05-20 12:48:20
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