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Blue envelope with American and German censorship marks mailed to the US by a Jewish woman

Object | Accession Number: 2005.376.2

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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Used envelope addressed to and received by Vilma Gingold in New York from Laura Goldberger in Vienna, Austria, with American and German censorship marks, postmarked August 12, 1941. Vilma may have been Laura’s sister. Laura was deported from Vienna to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on July 17, 1942, where it is presumed she perished. The envelope was acquired by Regina Huppert Gingold, Vilma’s niece by marriage, after the war. In March 1943, 28 year old Regina was sent from the Krakow ghetto to Płaszów concentration camp. In October 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau then Lichtewerden slave labor camp in Czechoslovakia. The camp was liberated by the Soviet Army in May 1945. Regina reunited with her fiance, Julius Gingold, following his release from Sonneberg-West, a subcamp of Buchenwald concentration camp, in Hof an der Saale displaced persons camp in Germany. The couple married in 1946, and emigrated to the US in 1949.
    Date
    postmark:  1941 August 12
    Geography
    postmark: Vienna (Austria)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Regina Gingold
    Contributor
    Subject: Regina Gingold
    Subject: Vilma Gingold
    Subject: Laura Goldberger
    Biography
    Regina Huppert was born on April 14, 1914, in Krzeszowice, Poland, to Ignacy and Rozalia Bester Huppert. Ignacy was born in 1880 in Krzeszowice to Karoline Huppert. Rozalia was born in 1885 in Bronowice. Regina had five brothers: Bernard, born on May 14, 1907, Simon, born in 1908, Leszek, born on August 14, 1912, Ginek, born in 1916, and Martin, born on March 7, 1918, and three sisters: Franja, born on February 15, 1906, Erna, born in 1914, and Karolina, born on January 1, 1922. Her father had a small factory where he manufactured paper bags for cement. They were a traditional Jewish family, and attended synagogue and observed the high holidays. They were not affluent, but Regina’s parents used what money they had to educate their children. Regina attended an elementary school with Jewish and non-Jewish students then went to an academy in Krakow. At age 14, she became involved with the Akiva Zionist youth movement where she studied and taught Hebrew. After completing school, Regina worked at an insurance company in Krakow then a factory in Krzeszowice. Leszek attended the university in Krakow. The non-Jewish students frequently bullied and pushed him out of his seat. Martin applied to medical school, but he was not accepted because he was Jewish.
    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. The Germans beat Regina’s brother-in-law and other men from the synagogue, and forced her to clean the palace. Regina, her parents, and her siblings, except Martin who had moved to Russia, were deported by horse and carriage to Bronowice, where they stayed with people who knew her mother. There, she met Julius Gingold, who had been deported from Sinkow. In March 1941, Regina’s family and Julius were forced to move to the Jewish ghetto in Krakow. Her family lived in one room. After part of the ghetto was closed, Julius, his sister, his brother-in-law, and his nephew stayed with them. One day, the Germans came to pick her father up for a transport. He was not home, so they sent Bernard to Bulowice (?) instead. He returned three days later after escaping the cattle car by breaking the iron gate on the window. Regina saw a newspaper announcement for a secretarial position in Kielce that required knowledge of German, which she knew from visiting her family in Teschen. She obtained false papers from Jewish friends and assumed the identity Maria Novak. One night, she took off her armband and went by train to Kielce. She was hired by the office manager and given a room. Regina pretended to attend church on Sundays. She regularly spoke to Erna who now was working in Tarnow. But two days before Christmas, she called and was told that Erna was no longer there. Regina feared her manager suspected she was Jewish, so she decided to return to the Krakow ghetto with the help of a mill owner from Krzeszowice she had met. After returning, Regina was assigned to clean the streets.
    In March 1943, the Germans decided to liquidate the ghetto. Regina, her parents, her siblings, and Julius, now her fiance, were deported to Płaszów concentration camp. Upon arrival, the camp commandant asked for someone who knew German to work in the office. Regina was the only person who volunteered. The next day, she watched as her father was taken to the hill to dig a hole and then executed. Her brother-in-law was shot and killed. Bernard was beaten and had cold water poured on him. Regina was selected to be shot once, but a German Jewish woman with whom she had shared bread begged for her to be removed from the selection.
    In May 1944, Regina’s mother was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. In October, Regina, Franja, and Karolina were sent there. Upon arrival, Dr. Josef Mengele selected them for forced labor. They had little clothing and only wooden shoes. Food was scarce, and rats ate the bread they had. They found out that Erna had been deported to Auschwitz and killed in 1943 because she had typhus. They soon were sent by cattle car to Lichtewerden, a subcamp of Auschwitz-Monowitz, in Czechoslovakia, where they worked in a cotton factory with 300 women.
    In May 1945, the camp was liberated by the Soviet Army. The troops gave them food. The women barricaded their barracks at night to keep the troops from sexually assaulting them. Regina and her sisters started to walk to Krakow, but they were stopped at the border when the Russians suspected they were German spies. They eventually arrived in Krakow. They found Leszek and moved into his apartment. Regina found out that Bernard was ill with typhus in Theresienstadt labor camp. She went to nurse him, but he died in July. Her fiance, Julius, who had survived the camps with her brother, Simon, found out that she was alive and asked her to join him in Hof an der Saale displaced persons camp in Germany. They married in March 1946, and had a son, Jack, in 1947. In October 1948, they were transferred to Bamberg displaced persons camp, where Julius worked for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and Regina worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJDC). She wanted to go to Israel, but Simon and Julius’ brother and his sister already had emigrated to the United States. They received US immigration papers through Julius’ brother and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). They sailed from Bremen to Boston on July 9, 1949, on the USAT General Eltinge. They settled in New York. Regina found out that her mother was sent to the gas chamber in Auschwitz. Her brother, Ginek, was killed in Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria in 1945. Regina’s remaining siblings emigrated to the US. Julius died, age 63, in 1964. Regina died, age 95, on August 9, 2009.
    Vilma Gingold lived in New York in the early 1940s.
    Laura Goldberger was born on May 6, 1882. She corresponded wih Vilma Gingold in New York in 1940-41; they may have been sisters. She was deported on Transport 32, Train 69, from Vienna, Austria, to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on July 17, 1942, where it is presumed that she perished.

    Physical Details

    Language
    English French German
    Classification
    Information Forms
    Category
    Correspondence
    Physical Description
    Rectangular, light blue paper envelope with 3 canceled German Reich postage stamps with a portrait of Paul von Hindenburg affixed to the front: 2 in the upper right corner, 1 on the left center. On the upper left are a handwritten name and address that continues on the lower right. On the lower left is an airmail sticker that is partially covered by a white paper label with English text. In the lower left corner are penciled numbers. Near the reverse top edge are a handwritten name and address. There are 2 stamped numbers on the upper left. Near the bottom is a white paper label with repeating German text and a Reichsadler seal with the letter e, the code of the Frankfurt Censor Office. An indistinct red transit mark is stamped on top. The top edge is torn open.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 4.500 inches (11.43 cm) | Width: 6.250 inches (15.875 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink, graphite, adhesive
    Inscription
    front, upper right, postage stamp, upside down, white ink on blue background : 20 DEUTSCHES REICH
    front, upper right, postage stamp, white ink on green background : 5 DEUTSCHES REICH
    front, upper right, stamped, black ink : 1 [illegible]EN 8 / 12 VIII. 41 .12 / 3d
    front, upper left, handwritten, blue ink : Vilma Gingold / [1]52 West 73rd Street
    front, center left, postage stamp, white ink on purple background : 40 DEUTSCHES REICH
    front, center left, stamped, black ink : 1 [illegible] 8 / 12 [illegible] 41 .12 / 3d
    front, lower left, airmail sticker covered by label, dark blue ink : Flugpost / ar avion
    front, lower right, handwritten, blue ink : New-York City / U.S.A.
    front, lower left corner, pencil : [?1]3 22[1]9
    front, left edge, label, black ink : EXAMINER 4430 / Form 167
    reverse, right edge, label, black ink : P.C. 90 / OPENED BY
    reverse, top edge, handwritten, blue ink : Abs.: Laura Sara Goldberger / [W]ein, I. Zelinka[illegible]. 6. [Sender]
    reverse, upper left, stamped, black ink : [2]32 / 236
    reverse, near bottom, label, black ink : Geöffnet / Oberkommando der Wehrmacht / e [Opened / Supreme Command of the Armed Forces]

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The envelope was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Regina Gingold, the wife of Julius Gingold.
    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:
    2023-06-21 11:30:34
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn47104

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