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Rosary with Virgin Mary medallion and leather pouch owned by a British woman in Shanghai

Object | Accession Number: 2006.19.60 a-b

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    Rosary with Virgin Mary medallion and leather pouch owned by a British woman in Shanghai


    Brief Narrative
    Rosary that probably belonged to Adelaide Kauffman, wife of Fritz Kauffman. Fritz was a German Jewish businessman, who lived in Shanghai, China, from 1931-1949. Adelaide was a non-Jewish British citizen and active partner in his business. Adelaide and Fritz were married on January 23, 1941, in Shanghai. Fritz was active in Jewish community aid efforts before and during World War II. In 1940, because of Nazi politics and the outbreak of war, he resigned from the German firm for which he worked and opened his own import/export business. He was deprived of his German citizenship in 1941 for being Jewish and living abroad. However, as a longtime resident and successful businessman in Shanghai, he was able to surmount wartime difficulties and assist the more recent Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai to escape persecution and the war in Europe.
    use:  approximately 1940
    use: Shanghai (China)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Estate of Adelaide Kauffmann
    a. top arm of crucifix within a scroll : INR
    a. back left of medallion : AP
    Subject: Fritz Kauffmann
    Fritz Kauffman was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1904. His parents were jewelers. He moved to Australia in 1927 to work as an independent sales representative for German manufacturers, selling aircraft, aircraft supplies, electrical appliances, surgical instruments, insulating materials and machinery. In 1931, he moved to Shanghai to work as a sales representative for Australian firms selling wheat, flour, beef tallow, hides, fresh fruit and wool products. Fritz then joined the German import-export firm Reuter, Broeckelmann & Co. managing the industrial raw materials, chemicals, and produce department. In 1940, due to German and Nazi politics, he left Reuter, Broeckelmann & Co. to start his own company, Merchants and Traders.

    Fritz married a non-Jewish British citizen, Adelaide Florence Kerslake, on January 23, 1941, in Shanghai. He was deprived of his German citizenship in the summer of 1941 because he was a German Jew living abroad. Fritz had lived in Shanghai for quite a few years before the refugees started arriving from Europe. Thus he was in a position to help organize a committee established to aid the refugees after their arrival. In July 1942, Fritz and other members of a joint committee of Jews learned that the Japanese, under the influence of the German Gestapo, planned to liquidate the Jews living in Shanghai. Fritz and his fellow committee members were arrested soon after they questioned this policy and tried to meet with highly placed military officials about the rumor. Fritz was held in custody for about a month. In early 1943, the Japanese declared that all Jewish refugees arriving after December 31, 1936 had to relocate to the newly established ghettos. Fritz was not subject to this proclamation, as he arrived in 1931, and he was able to continue to live in his home and run his business. Both of Fritz's parents were killed during the Holocaust.
    Throughout his time in Shanghai, Fritz participated in the sport of polo and was active in the Shanghai Polo and Hunt Clubs. He was retroactively granted membership in 1949. In February of that year, Fritz and Adelaide moved to the British West Indies, where he continued to run his business. They had wished to go to the United Kingdom, but were denied entry on the basis that Adelaide was now German. In 1950, they received United States immigration visas and went to New York. Fritz and Adelaide were granted United States citizenship in 1957. Fritz died in 1993, age 89 years. Adelaide passed away on April 20, 1999, age 90 years.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Rosary (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Rosary of metal chain-link and gray beads. There are multiple sections of small beads with 1 large bead between each section. The beads are glass that is painted to look like gray pearls. The larger loop of the rosary joins the pendant strand; there is a bronze colored medallion in the center. The medallion has an image of the Virgin Mary with a vertical branch with flowers on the back. There is a metal crucifix at the end of this strand. The crucifix is bronze colored and Jesus is silver colored.
    b. Black leather pouch with flap opening and gold colored metal snap. The snap has an M on the center. The interior is tan leather with white paper at the bottom.
    a: Height: 14.880 inches (37.795 cm) | Width: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm)
    b: Height: 1.940 inches (4.928 cm) | Width: 1.810 inches (4.597 cm)
    a : metal, glass, paint
    b : leather, metal, paper, thread, ink
    b. inside of the flap, in black ink : 23

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The rosary and pouch were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2009 by Ronnie Liebowitz, executor, on behalf of the Estate of Adelaide Kauffmann.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:26:33
    This page:

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