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Julius Kühl collection

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1988.003 | RG Number: RG-27.001

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    Julius Kühl collection

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    The Julius Kühl collection consists of photocopies of documents relating to the life and career of Dr. Julius Kühl, a diplomat employed at the Polish embassy in Bern during the War and, his assistance to hundreds of Jews fleeing Nazi tyranny. Records include general correspondence, telegrams, articles and clippings, reports and pamphlets, miscellaneous reports, Professor Penkower’s interview with Dr. Reuben Hecht, a Treblinka report, and Dr. Kühl’s autobiographical report.

    General correspondence relates principally to Julius Kühl's wartime service at the Polish embassy in Bern, and his efforts in cooperation with Jewish and other refugee organizations on behalf of refugees and internees in wartime Europe. A small amount of correspondence is from the postwar era. The material includes, but is not limited to, information about efforts to rescue Jews from Poland, Hungary, and Romania; attempts to send medical equipment and clothing to occupied Poland; work aimed at locating the whereabouts of refugee relatives in occupied France; and assistance to Jewish internees in Switzerland. The collection contains correspondence with or about prominent rescuers such as Saly Mayer, the Sternbuch family, and Raoul Wallenberg.

    Telegrams from Kühl's work at the Polish embassy in Bern relate to his role in assisting refugees and internees. The wartime cables document his work with Jewish and other organizations concerned with refugee affairs. The subjects of the cables include, but are not limited to, urgent pleas for immigration permits and passports, decisions of governments on entry permits for Jews, information about the deportation of notable citizens, attempts to finance the education of refugee children, and the hiding of children in gentile homes. Most of the postwar cables concern the whereabouts of Jews who were released from liberated camps.

    Articles and clippings from Swiss, Jewish, and international newspapers and magazines relate to Jewish affairs in Europe and Palestine (later Israel). The topics of the articles include, but are not limited to, living conditions of Jewry before and during World War II, the history of the Jews in France, the treatment of Jews in Germany and Poland, wartime antisemitism in Switzerland, the Nuremberg trials, and Kühl's embassy work in Bern.

    Printed and typed reports and pamphlets collected by Kühl document refugee organizations, Jewish issues, the Holocaust, and emigration to Palestine. The prewar material pertains to the persecution of Jews in the USSR, Jewish emigration to Palestine, and a legal case concerning the forgery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Bern, Switzerland. Reports and pamphlets from the war include detailed descriptions of Jewish life in Poland, Romania, and Hungary; the Jewish resistance in France; the life of internees in camps; the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; Auschwitz; and Jewish rescue efforts. The postwar documents contain information about refugee aid and displaced persons.

    Miscellaneous reports primarily relate to the fate of Polish Jews. The collection includes information about the judgment on the regulation of private property in Poland, Jewish property in Poland, the General Government, diplomatic passports, Nazi arrest-warrants, visitor permits for the camps, relief organizations, Jewish transports, child refugees, Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz, the fate of Dutch and French Jews, Jewish publications from Palestine, restitution, and the Swiss-Israelite Association.

    Professor Penkower’s interview with Dr. Reuben Hecht relates to Reuben Hecht's work for the New Zionist Organization, Vaad Hatzalah, and Irgun Berit Zion to rescue Jews and assist them with emigration to Palestine. The interview provides details on talks with Vaad Hatzalah, the Catholic church, and Sam Woodson, a U.S. intelligence agent.

    The Treblinka report is by Jankiel Wiernitz, a former prisoner who worked as a craftsman in Treblinka. In the report, Wiernitz describes living conditions and the murder of Jews and Roma and Sinti, the treatment of inmates by Germans and Ukrainians, everyday life, John Demjanjuk, the rape of Jewish women, and the preparations of the camp uprising that led to Wiernitz's escape.

    Dr. Kühl’s autobiographical report describes his life, including details about his birth, his family in Galicia, his years of studies in Switzerland, his service with the Polish legation in Bern, his mother's deportation to and rescue from Siberia, the rescue efforts of prominent individuals including the Sternbuchs and Papal Nuncio Bernadini, and his emigration to Canada after the war.
    inclusive:  1929-1982
    Collection Creator
    Julius Kühl
    Dr. Julius Kühl (Juliusz, Yehiel, 1913-1985) was born in Sanok, Poland (Galicia at the time). He moved to Switzerland and studied economics and the University of Zurich. At the outbreak of World War II he received a position at the Polish legation, which remained loyal to the Polish government-in-exile and was supervised by Aleksander Ładoś. Kühl was charged with aiding Polish soldiers in Swiss internment camps and Polish refugees from German-occupied countries, most of whom were Jewish or of Jewish descent. Kühl, Stefan Ryniewicz, and Konstanty Rokicki supervised an illegal market of Latin American passports used by Jewish refugees to claim neutrality and exemption from deportations. The group became known as the “Bernese Group” or “Ładoś Group.” Kühl saved hundreds of Jews by aiding them in obtaining passports and visas, aiding their passage into Switzerland, and working with Jewish organizations and prominent rescuers, including Isaak and Recha Sternburch. After the war, he received letters of praise from Jewish organizations, the British embassy, and the American military. He left the foreign service following the communist takeover in Poland, moved to the United States in the late 1940s, and then relocated to Canada where he ran a successful construction company. In 1980 he moved to Miami. He and his wife Yvonne Weill had four children.

    Physical Details

    6 boxes
    System of Arrangement
    The Julius Kühl collection is arranged in eight series:

    Series 1: General correspondence, 1937-1982
    Series 2: Telegrams, 1941-1962
    Series 3: Articles and clippings, 1933-1982
    Series 4: Reports and pamphlets, 1931-1979
    Series 5: Miscellaneous reports, 1929-1979
    Series 6: Interview with Dr. Reuben Hecht by Professor Penkower, 1982
    Series 7: Treblinka report, undated
    Series 8: Dr. Kühl’s autobiographical report, undated

    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

    Geographic Name

    Administrative Notes

    Holder of Originals
    The Julius Kühl collection was donated anonymously to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum around 1980.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:10:32
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