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Walter and Elizabeth Richards family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1996.A.0444

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    Walter and Elizabeth Richards family papers

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    The Walter and Elizabeth Richards family papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, restitution files, and subject files documenting a German Jewish family from Berlin, some family members’ escape to Argentina, the United States, and England, the deaths of Elizabeth Richards’ parents at Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, and postwar efforts to receive restitution for confiscated money and property.
    Biographical materials include a 1922 German citizenship form for the Lewin family, employment information for Gyuri Olah, Hans Reich, and Walter Richards, emigration forms and correspondence for the Lewins and Richards, a death certificate for the Richards’ twenty‐two‐day‐old baby in Argentina, and marriage certificate, naturalization, and death certificates for Elizabeth and Walter Richards.
    Correspondence primarily documents relationships among the Lewin, Richards, and Olah families and their friends, follows their movements among Germany, Argentina, the United States, England, and Hungary, and records family news, efforts to emigrate, concerns about relatives, Heinrich and Elsa Lewin’s deportation to Theresienstadt, and their deaths.
    Photographs depict Elizabeth and Walter Richards, their son Thomas, their grandson Lawrence, Elizabeth’s parents Heinrich and Else Lewin, and her sisters Eva Lewin and Anne Olah.
    Restitution files include correspondence, property lists, and clippings documenting the Lewin and Richards families efforts to receive restitution for confiscated bank holdings, securities, properties, jewelry, and silverware and insurance policies.
    Subject files include records documenting the Lewin family business, Lewin and Lesser family trees, refugees in Great Britain, and an invitation to an art exhibition in Berlin.
    inclusive:  1877-1998
    Collection Creator
    Richards family
    Walter Richards (1901‐1953) was born Walter Reich on the outskirts of Poznań (Posen). He married Elizabeth Lewin (1906‐1994) who was born in Poznań to Heinrich (1869‐1943) and Elsa Lewin (nee Lesser, 1881‐1944). Elsa’s father, Hermann Lesser, owned a successful iron wares and farm machinery business. The Lewin family had moved to Breslau (Wrocław) after World War I and then to Berlin. Walter and Elizabeth Reich moved to Buenos Aires in the mid‐1930s and immigrated to the United States in 1938. They lived in Columbus, Ohio with Walter’s brother Hans and had son Thomas in 1939 before moving to San Francisco and changing their last name to Richards. Walter Reich worked in the banking industry and then in the film industry.
    Elizabeth Lewin had two sisters, Anne (born 1904) and Eva (born 1913). Anne married Hungarian Gyuri Olah and moved to Birmingham, England, before the outbreak of war and then to West Ealing. Eva never married and initially stayed with her parents in Berlin before joining the Olahs in Birmingham and West Ealing. Heinrich and Elsa Lewin were deported to Theresienstadt, where Heinrich Lewin died and from where Elsa Lewin was sent to her death at Auschwitz.
    Walter’s siblings were Arthur, Ellie, Charlotte, and Hans. Hans Reich immigrated to the United States in 1937 with his Catholic wife and settled first in Ohio and then in New Hampshire. Charlotte immigrated to the United States in 1940 and lived in Binghamton, working for the Agfa subsidiary Ansco, and then Brookline. Ellie emigrated to Palestine, and Arthur emigrated to India although he returned to Germany with his family after the war.

    Physical Details

    1 box
    System of Arrangement
    The Walter and Elizabeth Richards papers are arranged as five series: I. Biographical materials, 1920-1996, II. Correspondence, 1933-1946, III. Photographs, approximately 1890-1990, IV. Restitution files, approximately 1938-1998, V. Subject files, 1877-1996

    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

    Thomas Richards and Ann Herrmann-Richards donated the Walter and Elizabeth Richards family papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1996 with three accretions the same year and another accretion in 2003. Accessions previously numbered 1996.A.507, 1996.A.533, 1996.A.534, and 2000.35 have been incorporated into this collection.
    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:
    2024-03-20 07:38:38
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