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Rudolph Daniel Sichel papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2003.149.1

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    Rudolph Daniel Sichel papers

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    The Rudolph Daniel Sichel papers include biographical materials, correspondence, military papers, photographs, printed materials, prisoner of war and witness reports, and a sketchbook containing drawings by German prisoners of war. The records documents Sichel’s immigration to the United States, training in Military Intelligence, service in the United States Army as an interrogator, and efforts to obtain restitution for the persecution of his family under Nazi Germany.
    Biographical materials include records related to the Sichels’ family history, clothing store in Frankfurt, immigration, and efforts to obtain restitution, Sichel’s passport and membership cards, and certificates for military service from Presidents Harry S. Truman and Jimmy Carter.
    Most of the correspondence files are comprised of letters from Sichel to his parents during the war. Of particular interest are Sichel’s selection of letters labeled “Highlights,” which describe his training, advance through Europe, meeting with Empress Hermine, visit to Nordhausen/Dora-Mittelbau, efforts to begin restitution proceedings for the family store, the deaths of relatives at Theresienstadt, the Deggendorf displaced persons camp, and the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Correspondence files also include letter of introduction and recommendation for Sichel before the war and correspondence with family, friends, and Macy’s co-workers before, during, and after the war.
    Military papers include awards, commendation, and separation papers, Camp Ritchie training materials, and correspondence including orders, accounts of activities, reports to the Timberwolf Division, and lengthy communications between Sichel and the military after the war regarding his status and desire to be transferred to the Military Intelligence section of the Officers’ Reserve Corps. Military papers also include leaflets air-dropped by the Allies, ten marks in Allied Military Currency, maps, history and stationery related to the Timberwolves (104th Infantry Division), German organizational charts, Jewish prayer books for the American Armed Forces, and a newsletter distributed aboard the S.S. Sheepshead Bay Victory which brought Sichel back home.
    Photographic materials include three albums of snapshots taken by or of Sichel in Europe and hundreds of loose photographs documenting Sichel’s life in Germany, pre-war life in the United States, and wartime and postwar experiences. The albums trace Sichel’s progress, not necessarily in chronological order, through cities including Krostitz, Cologne, St. Brieu, Muir de Bretagne, Pontivy, Vannes, Atteln, Brakel, Halle, Teutchenthal, and Naumburg, and a post-war trip to the French Riviera. Of particular interest are Sichel’s snapshots taken at the Nordhausen/Dora-Mittelbau and Buchenwald concentration camps. Loose wartime photographs include landscapes, bombed out buildings and bridges, corpses, and airplane nose art. Additional photographs depict Sichel and his family and friends in Europe and the United States before, during, and after the war as well as the Sichels’ clothing store in Frankfurt, Macy’s employees, the S.S. Sheepshead Bay Victory, and the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics. The negatives in the collection correspond to some of the photographs of Nordhausen/Dora-Mittelbau, bombed out buildings, landscapes, military personnel, parades in England, and miscellaneous photographs as well as unidentified images of a family with young children.
    Printed materials include postcards from England, Belgium, France, and Germany, an English restaurant menu, stamps, handbills printed by the Christliche-Soziale Union, German-English and German-French dictionaries, and a newsletter published by the Textile Salesmen’s Association. The collection also includes clippings from American, British, and German newspapers including Yank, Die Neue Zeitung, Mittelbayerische Zeitung, and Täglische Rundschau, and Passauer Neue Presse, New York Sun, Daily News, and Deggendorf Center Revue mentioning Sichel or describing the war and its aftermath.
    Prisoner of war and witness reports document people and subjects including Dr. Friedrich Weber, Dachau Commandant Martin Weiss and other concentration camp personnel, cleanup after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, euthanasia at Hartheim, the war in Russia, and the Kovno Ghetto.
    The sketchbook in the collection was presented to Sichel by prisoners of war Kodak, Weigand, and Plettenberg describing themselves as “Der Unfreie Künstlerbund.” The book contains original pencil, ink, and watercolor drawings signed by the artists and depicting Sichel and prisoner of war camp life.
    inclusive:  circa 1903-1978
    bulk:  1934-1952
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Howard S. Sichel and Linda Sichel Strohmenger
    Collection Creator
    Rudolph Daniel Sichel
    Rudolph Daniel Sichel (1915-1978) was born in Frankfurt, Germany to clothing store owner Ernst Sichel (1874-1962) and Frieda Sichel (nee Oppenheimer, 1876-1963). He worked in the family clothing shop, S. Sichel, until he left Germany in 1934 for England and then immigrated to the United States in 1936. He worked for R.H. Macy & Co from 1936 to 1943. His father was arrested during Kristallnacht, sent to Buchenwald for a couple of months, forced to sell his store at a loss, and immigrated to the United States with his wife shortly after. Sichel joined the United States Army in 1943 and attended courses at the Military Intelligence Training Center at Camp Ritchie, MD. He landed on Utah Beach in July 1944 and was assigned by the Military Intelligence Service to Interrogation of Prisoners of War (IPW) Team 13 as Chief Interrogator. He was second in command of his team, which was attached to the 104th (Timberwolf) Infantry Division in October 1944, and interrogated prisoners in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. He returned to the United States in May 1946, continued his work at Macy’s, and married Sylvia Ruth Eisenkraft on January 18, 1948.

    Physical Details

    English German French
    6 boxes
    1 oversize box
    System of Arrangement
    The Rudolph Daniel Sichel papers are arranged as seven series:
    I. Biographical Materials, approximately 1903-1978 (bulk 1934-1952)
    II. Correspondence, 1934-1971
    III. Military Papers, approximately 1939-1950
    IV. Photographs, approximately 1910s-1950
    V. Printed Materials, 1910-1946 (bulk 1935-1946)
    VI. Prisoner of War and Witness Reports, 1945-1946
    VII. Sketchbook, approximately 1945

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Rudolph Daniel Sichel papers were donated in 2003 and 2004 by Sichel’s children, Dr. Howard Sichel and Linda Sichel Strohmenger.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-01 10:20:00
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