Thekla Samuel papers
The Thekla Samuel papers contain documents relating to Thekla Samuel, a Jewish nurse from Cologne, Germany who sought refuge from Nazi persecution in Belgian Congo in 1938. At the time of increasing hostility towards Jews, Thekla fled Germany by marrying her pen pal, German born watchmaker, Erich Samuel who lived in Elisabethville, Belgian Congo. Included among her papers is correspondence from friends and family in Germany, primarily from her father, Moritz Bamberger, and papers documenting her travel preparations including a fiancée visa request filed by Erich, her ship passage information, and currency exchange paperwork.
The Thekla Samuel papers largely document Thekla’s immigration from Germany to Belgian Congo and consists of correspondence from friends and family members in Germany and paperwork documenting her travel preparations in 1938. The correspondence is in the form of postcards and letters and the majority was written to Thekla in the days leading up to her departure from Europe on October 21, 1938. Much of the correspondence is from Thekla’s father, Moritz and other family members. Several notes have greetings from more than one person. Only a few pieces of correspondence were sent to Thekla upon her arrival in Belgian Congo and subsequently, the United States. One such letter, was written by Thekla’s sister-in-law, Ellen Samuel in 1940 and discusses Erich’s detention as a prisoner of war. Another was written by a friend living in Chile in 1964 and is addressed to Thekla in Rochester, New York.
Among Thekla’s travel preparation documents is a fiancée visa request submitted by Erich in Elisabethville in May of 1938 and a letter detailing her travel itinerary aboard the SS Léopoldville. Also included are bank statements certifying currency exchange.
Record last modified: 2021-05-25 15:02:00
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