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Belt for a kittel [ceremonial robe] saved by a Czech Jewish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2009.147.6

Long, narrow belt for a kittel, a ceremonial robe worn by a Jewish male, used by Norbert Meissner, who was president of the synagogue in Trest, Czechoslovakia, before and during the Holocaust. He and his wife, Lotte, and son, Leo, were deported to Theresienstadt in 1943. A year later, they were sent to Auschwitz death camp where they perished. The belt was preserved by his son, Frank. Frank, age 16, left Czechoslovakia in October 1939 because of the increasing Nazi persecution of Jews as Czechoslovakia was dismembered by Nazi Germany and its allies. With the encouragement of his family, he left for Denmark with members of Youth Aliyah, a organization that helped people to emigrate to Palestine. In 1943, the Germans began to deport all Jews from Denmark. Frank was warned that the Gestapo was looking for him and he was smuggled on a fishing boat to Sweden. He had been receiving weekly letters from his family, even after their deportation to the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1942; the letters stopped in 1943. After completing his education, Franz left for Great Britain where he joined the Czech army in exile. In the fall of 1944, Franz learned that his family had been sent to Auschwitz death camp. After the war, he returned to Czechoslovakia, searching for his family, but he found no survivors.

Date
1939 October  (emigration)
Geography
received : Trest (Czech Republic)
Classification
Dress Accessories
Category
Belts (Clothing)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Margit Meissner
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Record last modified: 2018-01-11 14:26:01
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn37632