Lightweight brown suitcase carried by a Jewish Austrian refugee child
1946 March-1946 July
use: 1946 July
en route: Gripsholm (Ship); New York (N.Y.)
- Object Type
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Alfred Kurz
Brown cardboard suitcase carried by 9 year old Alfred Kurz when he and his 10 year old sister, Doriane, emigrated to the United States from Sweden in July 1946. After Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, Alfred's parents, Emil and Klara, decided to leave the country with their two children. They went to Amsterdam, Netherlands, where there was a branch of the Kurz family optical frames business. Germany occupied Holland in May 1940 and, by 1942, deportations of Jews to concentration camps were frequent. Emil was arrested and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and killed. Klara and the children were interned in Westerbork transit camp and, in 1944, deported to Bergen Belsen concentration camp in Germany. In April 1945, as the Allies reached the area, the camp was evacuated by train. During the journey, Klara, Doriane, and Alfred were liberated by Soviet forces. They were repatriated to Amsterdam where Klara died in March 1946. Alfred's uncle, Charles, took the children to Sweden where they would be able to get US immigration visas. In July 1946, they sailed on the SS Gripsholm to join their uncle Benjamin and his family in New York.
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:19:16
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn44500
Also in This Collection
The Kurz family papers contain biographical materials, correspondence, immigration papers, business records, and photographs related to the lives of Meilech Kurz and his wife Klara Kurz-Biberstein in Vienna, Austria, and with their children Alfred and Doriane in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Westerbork transit camp, and Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. The papers include letters Meilech wrote to Klara, birth and marriage certificates, identification cards, government registration papers, immigration papers for Palestine and the United States, papers related to Meilech’s optical frames family business, and family photographs. The biographical material primarily contains material related to Meilech Kurz and Klara Kurz-Biberstein. Included are birth certificates, Klara’s will and obituary, identification cards, government registration papers, and Meilech’s school report cards. Along with Klara’s will is some inheritance correspondence. Also included is a testimony by Klara describing her family’s experiences in Amsterdam from 1940-1945, including their internment in Westerbork transit camp and Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The correspondence chiefly contains letters sent to Klara, along with small amounts of correspondence of Meilech, Doriane, and Alfred. The bulk of letters to Klara from Meilech are from 1932-1933, along with three from November 8-10, 1942, which were the last letters Klara received from him. Much of the correspondence of Doriane and Alfred relate to their immigration to the United States from Sweden on the SS Gripsholm. The emigration and immigration papers contain documents related to attempts for the family to emigrate from Amsterdam to the United States, and Klara’s planned immigration to Palestine in 1943. The A. Kurz & Company business records contain business correspondence and financial paper work. There is also substantial correspondence related to attempts by Charles and Benjamin Kurz to transfer Meilech’s dividends from the company to Alfred and Doriane. The photographs are primarily family pictures, including Meilech and Klara’s wedding day and a photo that is likely of Klara’s parents in Palestine. Also included is a photograph of Alfred and Doriane on the SS Gripsholm on their way to the United States from Sweden. The printed material consists of food stamps, postcards, a prayer book, and some receipts.