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Steffens and Meyer families photographs

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2009.172

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    Steffens and Meyer families photographs

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    The collection consists of one wartime portrait of the family of Heinrich and Else Steffens of Bottrop, Germany. In the portrait, Heinrich and Else pose with their son, Fritz, in a Nazi naval uniform and holding their infant daughter, Liesel. The family posed in front of a portrait of Adolf Hitler. There is an accretion of one photograph of the Meyer family of Bottrop. The photograph depicts Wilhelm and Fajga Dobra Meyer and their son Edgar August in a wagon shortly after their arrival in Palestine around 1939. Heinrich and Else Steffens's daughter, Liesel, had a chance meeting with Wilhelm Meyer in Bottrop in 1951 when she was nine years old. He had returned to the town to find and thank Friedrich Sommer for saving his son Edgar August during Kristalnacht in 1938. After learning some of his story, and more about her parents' Nazi past, Liesel became estranged from mother, and dedicated her life to educational and philanthrophic causes regarding the Holocaust. She has also spent time researching the Meyer family so that their story and connection to Bottrop would not be forgotten.
    inclusive:  circa 1939-circa 1942
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Liesel Appel
    Collection Creator
    Meyer family
    Steffens family
    Wilhelm (b. 1903) and Fajga Dobra Meyer lived in Bottrop, Germany where they owned a department store. They had one son, Edgar August (b. 1937). During Kristalnacht, the Meyers were physically attacked, and Edgar was thrown from a second-story balcony. He was caught and rescued by neighbor Friedrich Sommer. Edgar was then hidden by nanny Johanna Banner and smuggled to England via the Kindertransport. After Kristallnacht, the Meyers left their business and immediately immigrated to Palestine, where they were also reunited with Edgar.
    Liesel Appel (née Steffens, b. 1941) was born in Klingenberg, Germany to Heinrich (d. 1950) and Else Steffens. She had one older brother, Fritz (b. 1921). Heinrich worked as a headmaster in a public school and joined the Nazi party in 1933. During the war, he was appointed Minister of Education in occupied Poland by his friend, Erich Koch (Gauleiter of East Prussia and Reich Commissar of the Ukraine). After the war, American soldiers sought Heinrich for questioning so he went into hiding, and Else and Liesel moved to Else's hometown, Bottrop, Germany, to live with her parents. Heinrich returned in 1948 after his arrest, but died before his trial was scheduled to begin. Liesel became estranged from her mother over her parent's Nazi past, and left Germany at 17 to move to England, and later the United States.

    Physical Details

    1 folder
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged in one folder.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Liesel Appel donated this photograph to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on February 4, 2009. Liesel Appel donated an additional photograph on January 6, 2016.
    Record last modified:
    2023-12-26 14:06:06
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