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Kodak Retina handheld folding camera and leather case taken out of occupied Poland by a Jewish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2010.211.2 a-b

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    Kodak Retina handheld folding camera and leather case taken out of occupied Poland by a Jewish refugee

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    Brief Narrative
    Kodak 35mm Retina camera and leather case with adjustable straps that belonged to 26 year old Mark Asch, when he escaped German occupied Kutno, Poland in 1940 with his parents, Yankev and Itta, and his siblings, Roma, Golda, and Adam. At the time of invasion, Yankev was in London, England. In February1940, Itta bribed a German official and escaped with the children to Warsaw. Another bribe procured false travel visas and they traveled to Italy and separated; Itta left to join Yankev and the children went to Lisbon, Portugal. They sailed on the Serpa Pinto and arrived in the United States on June 23, 1941. Itta and Yankev followed in 1946.
    emigration:  1941 June 23
    use: Kutno (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Glenn B. Asch
    a. exterior, front, manufacturer’s plate, stamped : 'KODAK'
    a. exterior, back, script, embossed : Retina
    a. exterior, top, back, engraved : R / A
    a. interior, back door, right, engraved : 301356K
    a. interior, back door, left, on sticker, yellow and blue ink, printed : Kodak Film (yellow) / Panatomic F135 (blue) / SS Panchro SS135 (blue)
    a. interior, front, encircling lens, white paint, engraved : Schneider-Kreuznach N0 1 338298 Retina-Xenar f:3.5 F=5cm
    a. interior, front, front of shutter, stamped : COMPUR-RAPID ; a. interior, front, front of shutter, on manufacturer’s plate, engraved : KODAK
    b. lid, top, embossed : GRIMMiKAMIEŃSKI / Sp. Zogr.odp. / WARSZAWA. KREDYTOWA 8 / ODDZIAkY : GDYNIA.KATOWICE.KÒDŻ ; b. back, center, embossed : Retina
    Manufacturer: Eastman Kodak Company
    Subject: Mark Asch
    Moyshe Asz was born on July 29, 1914, in Kutno, Poland, near Łódź, to an upper middle class Hasidic Jewish family. His parents were Yankev Shie Asz, born on April 14, 1879, and Itta Geller Asz, born in 1884, both in Kutno. He had two sisters and a brother; Roma, born on September 22, 1910, Golda, born in 1913, and Adam, born on October 4, 1918. His uncle, Sholem Asz, was Yeshiva educated and a world renowned Yiddish writer.

    In September 1939, the Germans invaded Poland, and on September 15, 1939, entered Kutno. They deported Jews to forced labor and prison camps, seized their property, and burned the synagogue. Yankev was in London at the time of the invasion. In February, 1940, Itta bribed a German official, and she and the children escaped Kutno hidden in an ambulance; Golda died that year. They arrived in Warsaw where a second bribe procured them false travel permits to Greece. They traveled to Italy and separated; Itta joined Yankev in England and the children travelled to Lisbon, Portugal, via Tangier, Morocco. They sailed on the Serpa Pinto and arrived in New York City on June 23, 1941, and were met by their Uncle Sholem, who had emigrated in 1914. Itta and Yankev, now Jacob, departed on the Kenyon Victory from Liverpool, England, for the United States, on May 3, 1946.

    The family settled in Massachusetts. Moyshe became a citizen on December 2, 1946, and changed his name to Mark Asch. He married Eugenia Tabaczynska, a Polish Jew and survivor, in 1948, and they had a son.
    Jacob died on January 5, 1948, at the age of 69, Itta on June 8, 1956, at 72, Roma on July 25, 1958, at 47, and Adam, on January 14, 2002, at 84. Mark died on December 24, 1979, in Newtown, Massachusetts, at 65 years old.

    Physical Details

    English German Polish
    Object Type
    Retina camera (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Rectangular, metal handheld folding camera covered in black leather with embossed lines and black painted metal trim. On the front is a square bed and a rectangular silver and black painted metal release tab. The back opens outward with a silver metal keyhole shaped lock release on the left and a silver metal piano hinge on the right. Attached to the top is a film winding knob, shutter release, exposure counter, clutch, lever release, viewfinder, and film rewind knob. On the underside is a field of depth indicator and a tripod socket. The bed opens out on a spring hinge; the interior is black plastic and has a glass lens and a black plastic and silver metal shutter attached to a lens board on 2 scissor struts. A black leather bellows connects the lens board to the film plane. The back interior is black plastic and has 2 compartments on either side of the aperture. Numbers, symbols, and German and English text are on the exterior and interior.
    b. Rectangular brown leather camera case with rounded corners and an adjustable, narrow leather strap with metal buckles riveted to each side. The lid is sewn to the front of the base with white thread and a leather snap closure is riveted on the back. The front of the base has a protruding square with beveled edges; the base is sewn together with brown thread. There is a hole in the bottom right for the tripod socket. Green velvet lines the interior. There is embossed English and Polish text on the front and lid.
    a: Height: 3.120 inches (7.925 cm) | Width: 4.750 inches (12.065 cm) | Depth: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm)
    b: Height: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) | Width: 5.250 inches (13.335 cm) | Depth: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm)
    a : metal, leather, plastic, paint, glass, paper, adhesive, ink
    b : leather, cloth, metal, adhesive, thread, paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Kodak Retina camera and case were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Glenn Asch, the son of Mark Asch.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 21:51:09
    This page:

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