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Brown leather billfold brought with a German Jewish prewar refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2008.204.3

Leather, bifold wallet taken with Ernestine Wiesenthal when she emigrated from Berlin, Germany, to London, England in 1939. The billfold originally belonged to her husband, Otto Wiesenthal, who passed away in 1930. Otto had been a physician, and a slip of paper, identifying his status as a Privy Medical Consultant, is still adhered to the interior. This was an honorary title bestowed on respected medical doctors with more than 20 years of experience. On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. Following the passage of the Nuremberg laws in 1935, Ernestine’s son, Fritz, began looking for places where the family could immigrate as life became increasingly difficult for German Jews. Later that year, Fritz, a doctor, and his wife, Gertrude, sent their daughter, Illa, to boarding school in England. When their daughter, Nellie, was no longer allowed to attend public school, she moved into Ernestine’s home and attended a local Jewish school. 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 begin studying for the medical boards he needed to pass in order to practice medicine. He sent for Illa in August 1938. Nellie arrived in January 1939, and Gertrude arrived in March. Once in London, Ernestine spent her time knitting for the Red Cross. In the fall of 1942, she traveled to the US aboard a freighter in a Greek convoy.

emigration:  1939
received:  approximately 1930
received: Berlin (Germany)
en route: London (England)
Dress Accessories
Object Type
Billfolds (aat)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Nellie Fink
Record last modified: 2022-05-20 12:54:56
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