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Theodore and Martha Burian papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1995.A.0261

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    Theodore and Martha Burian papers

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    The Theodore and Martha Burian papers contain primarily identification documents, which the family used for verification purposes as they immigrated to the United States. Contained in the collections are birth and marriage certificates, citizenship papers, passports, and police registration documents. Also included are boarding passes for the Nyassa passenger ship, and residency certificates for the town of Pohořelice in the Czech Republic.
    inclusive:  1885-1946
    Collection Creator
    Theodore Burian
    Theodore Burian (1885-1974) was one of five children born to Leopold and Jenny (nee Fischer) Burian. A citizen of Czechoslovakia, Theodore left at an early age for the United States, going to school in New York and becoming an athletic teacher. After some time he returned to Europe, settling in Vienna, Austria and marrying Martha Freund in 1921. The couple had two children, Paul and Lucie. Theodore originally was employed as the secretary of the Austrian Jockey club, but was forced to change professions under pressure from Martha’s father. Theodore transitioned his career to become a buyer’s representative for an import/export company, and which resulted in a lucrative lifestyle for his family.

    In 1938, Hitler’s army marched into Vienna. In order to escape the oppressive Nazi regime, the family moved to Prague. However, it was only a year later when Czechoslovakia was also annexed by Germany, and the family made efforts to flee. Paul was 15 at this time, an age where children could be taken away to labor camps. Rather than wait for him to be taken, he was dressed as a child and accepted by one of the last Kindertransports from Prague to Scotland. In April 1941, Theodore, Martha, and Lucie were rounded up and placed on a passenger car with hundreds of others to Paris. En route, an allied air raid near Paris damaged the railroad tracks, forcing the train to a stop. Once the car stopped, everyone emptied the train and fled.

    The family walked to the Spanish border, where they were taken in and medically examined. Once in Spain, Theodore was able to procure tickets to Lisbon, and eventually tickets to the United States aboard the refugee ship Nyassa. They arrived in the United States in May 1941, where they were confined to Ellis Island, under suspicion that Lucie had Tuberculosis. Upon clearance, the family moved into New York City.

    Physical Details

    13 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Theodore and Martha Burian papers are arranged as a single series.

    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 Theodore and Martha Burian papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993 by their daughter, Lucie Liebman
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 13:46:36
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