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Adult's pith helmet acquired in India during the journey to the US by a Jewish family fleeing German occupied Poland

Object | Accession Number: 2009.376.28

Pith helmet acquired by Jerzy Klein in January 1941 during the long journey to the United States after he, his wife, Nadzieja, 3 year old daughter, Joanna, and Nadzieja's aunt, Elizawieta Palcew, escaped Warsaw, Poland, after living under German occupation since September 1939. Jerzy had applied for US visas in 1936 following Hitler’s remilitarization of the Rhineland, but was unsuccessful because of restrictive US entry quotas. Jerzy acquired false travel papers for roundtrip travel to Peru via Italy. The family traveled by train to Trieste where they obtained transit permits through Yugoslavia and Greece to Turkey. Up to this point, they had been accompanied by Nadzieja’s brother, wife, and child. But in Istanbul, Nadzieja’s family obtained US visas, valid for 3 months; her brother’s family had not applied previously and continued onto Palestine. Jerzy Klein's family and Elizawieta Palcew were evacuated by the British by train to Baghdad, and then Basra, in Iraq. From there, they sailed to Karachi and Bombay (Mumbai), India, where, in January 1941, they boarded an American cruise liner, the USS President Harrison, and arrived in New York on February 17.

emigration:  1940 April 20-1941 February 17
received:  1941 January
received: India
Dress Accessories
Object Type
Topees (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Joan Kent Finkelstein
Record last modified: 2023-03-02 09:04:26
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