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Miniature ivory penknife carried by an Austrian refugee family

Object | Accession Number: 2008.333.1

Miniature penknife given to 13 year old Elisabeth Ornstein by her parents Hilda and Paul after they were reunited in New York in 1940 during the war. Elisabeth and her family were from Vienna where the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938 led to severe anti-Semitic persecution. Although they were practicing Catholics and did not identify themselves as Jews, they were Jews under Nazi law. After Kristallnacht in November 9, 1938, Elisabeth's parents decided to send the children out of the country. Elisabeth and Georg, 9 years, were given passage on a Kindertransport to England by the Quakers in January 1939. Her parents obtained US visas and arrived in New York in January 1940. After the evacuation at Dunkirk in June of that year, her parents insisted that the children be sent to the US, although German U-boats made trans-Atlantic crossings treacherous. The children traveled separately but, by September 1940, the family was together.

emigration:  1940 September
manufacture: Vienna (Austria)
received: New York (N.Y.)
Tools and Equipment
Cutting tools
Object Type
Penknives (aat)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Elisabeth M. Orsten
Record last modified: 2019-12-05 21:09:19
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