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Monogrammed silver ladle brought with a German Jewish prewar refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2008.204.4

Large, silver ladle engraved with Ernestine Unger Wiesenthal’s initials and taken with her when she emigrated from Berlin, Germany, to London, England in 1939. The long stem suggests that this ladle was used to serve liquids from deep dishes, and the fiddlehead shape of the handle was very popular in the 1800s. The maker’s mark might refer to Emil Harnisch, and the 12 Lothian silver purity mark on the back suggests this piece was made prior to the 1888 change in German silver marks. 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 in a Greek convoy.

emigration:  1939
manufacture:  after 1800-before 1888
manufacture: Berlin (Germany)
en route: London (England)
Household Utensils
Serving utensils
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Nellie Fink
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 21:51:04
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