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Cigarette holder made by a former concentration camp inmate in a DP camp

Object | Accession Number: 2003.64.1

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    Cigarette holder made by a former concentration camp inmate in a DP camp
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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Green plastic case with cigarette holder and case made and used by Izy Freudenreich after the war in Landsberg displaced persons camp, Lager 7, in Germany, May-June 1945. In February 1940, several months after Germany occupied Poland, Izy, 20, and his parents, Leib and Tauba, were forced into Łódź ghetto. Izy developed a relationship with Irma Herzfeld, 23. Following mass deportations in summer 1944, Izy’s parents arranged a hiding place for them, but could not secure a place for Irma’s sister Ruth. Irma refused to go without her, so they all stayed and, in August, were sent to Auschwitz. On September 1, Izy and Leib were transferred to Dachau in Germany. Izy was assigned prisoner number 96118, and Izy 96117. They then were sent to Kaufering VII in Landsberg, where Leib died. Irma, Ruth, and Tauba were sent from Auschwitz to Hambuhren slave labor camp, and then to Bergen Belsen, where they were liberated on April 15, 1945. Tauba died of typhus four days later. Izy was liberated by US forces on May 2. He found Irma, with Ruth, in Bergen-Belsen in June 1945 and they married in July. Izy and Irma went to a displaced persons camp in Munich, and then Hamburg. Izy, Irma, and their 2 year old daughter emigrated to America in 1950.
    Date
    creation:  after 1945 May 02-before 1945 June
    Geography
    creation: Landsberg am Lech (Displaced persons camp); Landsberg am Lech (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Irma Freudenreich, in memory of her husband Izy Freudenreich
    Contributor
    Subject: Izy Freudenreich
    Subject: Irma Freudenreich
    Biography
    Isidor (Izy) Freudenreich was born on September 1, 1920, in Free State Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland), to a Jewish couple, Leib (Laib) and Tauba (Taube) Pytowski Freudenreich. Leib was born on February 16, 1897, in Łódź, Poland, to Moritz and Baila Freudenreich. He was a mechanic. Tauba was born on March 15, 1899, in Łódź, to Aron and Frieda Pytowski. The Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I (1914-1918) separated Danzig and West Prussia from Germany and declared it a Free State under League of Nations protection. The majority of the population was ethnic German and the Nazi Party became a dominant force in Danzig. By the mid-1930s the Party had political control and persecuted the Jewish population with policies like those in Nazi Germany. It is likely that Izy's parents decided to return to Łódź where they both were born during these years.

    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. German troops occupied Łódź a week later. Izy and his parents were forced into the Łódź ghetto in early February 1940. Izy worked at the vegetable market where rations were distributed weekly. His parents worked in the kitchens. Izy began a relationship with Irma Herzfeld, also Jewish, who was born in Lobsens, Germany (Lobzenica, Poland) on April 7, 1917, to Abraham and Frieda Herzfeld. Izy and his parents looked out for Irma and gave her extra rations. Following mass deportations in summer 1944, Izy’s parents arranged to go into hiding with Izy and his girlfriend Irma. Irma refused to go without her sister Ruth. She said that if they both lived, she would marry Izy the day he found her, but that she could not abandon her sister. Izy refused to go without Irma and his parents would not leave him behind, so they all stayed in the ghetto. On August 21, 1944, Izy was arrested in Łódź. Izy, his parents Leib and Tauba, Irma, and her sister Ruth were loaded on a cattle car. After several days with no water, they arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The men and women were separated. On September 1, Izy and Leib were transferred to Dachau concentration camp in Germany. Izy was assigned prisoner number 96118 and Leib number 96117. They next were sent to Kaufering VII slave labor camp, a subcamp of Dachau in Landsberg. On February 23, 1945, Izy’s father Leib died. On May 2, 1945, Izy was liberated by American forces in Landsberg.

    After his liberation, Izy stayed in Landsberg displaced persons camp. He was determined to find Irma and his mother. He took a bicycle and rode from camp to camp in Germany, looking for them. He arrived in Bergen-Belsen on June 25 and found Irma. Irma told him that his mother Tauba had died from typhus on April 19, four days after the camp was liberated by British forces. Irma's sister Ruth was also in Bergen-Belsen. After arriving in Auschwitz, Irma, Ruth, and Tauba were sent to Hambuhren slave labor camp in Germany. In February 1945, they were sent to Bergen-Belsen. Izy and Irma found a rabbi and married on July 1. They went to a displaced persons camp in Munich in August, and then to Hamburg. Izy worked as a mechanic and clerk. In July 1947, the couple had a daughter, Tonika. Izy and Irma decided to leave Germany and applied to go to the United States or Palestine. In January 1950, Izy, Irma, and Tonika emigrated to the US and settled in Dallas, Texas. In 1953, Izy and Irma had another daughter. Izy, 53, died on June 26, 1974, in Dallas.
    Irma Herzfeld was born on April 7, 1917, in Lobsens, Germany (Lobzenica, Poland), to Abraham and Frieda Mayersohn Herzfeld. Irma had five siblings: Martin, b. April 20, 1907, Fritz, b. June 23, 1908, Kurt, b. June 21, 1912, Ernst, b. July 12, 1913, and Ruth, b. December 14, 1914. Abraham was born April 3, 1872, to Moritz and Ernestine Herzfeld. He had two brothers, who emigrated to Argentina and Fort Worth, Texas. Abraham owned a brick factory. Irma’s mother Frieda was born on November 23, 1874, in Vandsburg, Germany (Wiecbork, Poland), to Jacob and Henrietta Mayersohn. Frieda had three sisters: Sally, b. 1878, Lina, b. 1883, and Flora, b. 1885. Abraham and Frieda married in 1905. Following World War I (1914-1918), Lobsens became a part of Poland, but Irma’s family retained their German citizenship and spoke German. Irma’s father was president of the synagogue. They kept kosher and attended services weekly. Irma’s brothers moved to Germany for work. Her sister Ruth married Shiya Feldan and lived in Zgierz, Poland, near Łódź. As antisemitism increased, Frieda decided Irma was not safe in a town where everyone knew she was Jewish and sent her to Łódź in early summer 1939. Irma lived with an elderly woman and cared for her home.
    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Two weeks later, Irma received a letter that said her father was arrested on September 4 and put in a concentration camp. Her mother asked that she and Ruth, now also in Łódź, come home and take their trousseaus back to Łódź. Ruth was not well, so Irma went alone. She stopped in Bydgoszcz to see her brother Fritz and his wife told her that he had been rounded up with other young men and executed on September 6. When Irma got back on the train, she overheard people from Lobsens talking about her. She was afraid they would hurt her, so she jumped off the train as it approached the town. She hid in a barn behind her parents’ house until she no longer heard people looking for her. Her parents were not home and she could not find them anywhere. A neighbor told Irma that her parents had been taken away and told her she would be killed if she stayed. Irma took the silver from the trousseaus and went back to the train. She hid under the seats until the train was far away from Lobsens. She returned to Łódź in December.
    Around January 1940, Irma was interned into the ghetto. She was alone, with nothing to eat and nowhere to go. She made a friend who allowed Irma to stay in her basement. Irma worked the kitchen of the Jewish ghetto police, and got one meal a day for washing dishes and serving food. Irma found a better place to live and got a job in the post office. She wrote postcards, but content was strictly controlled and she could only say that everything was fine. Irma began a relationship with Isidor (Izy) Freudenreich. Izy was born on September 1, 1920, in Danzig Free State to Leib and Tauba Pytowski Freudenreich. He worked at the vegetable market. His parents worked in the kitchens and gave Irma extra rations. In 1942, Irma sent a postcard to her brother Martin, urging him to come to Łódź. Martin and his wife came to Łódź, and were sent away on a transport. Irma arranged for her brother Ernst to be smuggled out of the ghetto to the Soviet Union in exchange for her trousseau silver. Irma was eventually selected for deportation. Her supervisor told her to stay hidden in the post office until the deportation date passed. Following mass deportations in summer 1944, Izy’s parents arranged for Irma to go into hiding with them. She refused to go without her sister Ruth. Izy refused to go without Irma, so they all stayed in the ghetto.
    In August, Irma, Ruth, Izy, and his parents Tauba and Leib were loaded on a cattle car. After several days on the train with no water, they arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Men and women were separated, but Irma, Ruth, and Tauba were kept together. They were forced to strip, their heads were shaved, and they were issued striped uniforms. There were no barracks available so they had to sleep outside. It was very cold and Ruth got sick. They had no food for two days, until they were assigned to a barrack. In the fall, Irma, Ruth, and Tauba were deported to Hambuhren slave labor camp in Germany. The SS officer in charge made Irma camp elder because she spoke German. Irma made the work designations and assigned Tauba to the kitchen. The SS officer beat Irma and told her that she had to report what the other women discussed; she always told him everything was normal. Irma eventually got very sick and could no longer walk. One of the German guards was kind and got her medicine. As Soviet troops approached, the camp was evacuated and Irma, Ruth, and Tauba were sent on a forced march to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They arrived February 4 or 5, 1945. Conditions were horrendous; food was scarce and typhus was everywhere. People died in the barracks every night. They had to stand for roll call for hours every night in the cold. In March, Irma and Ruth became ill with typhus. Tauba washed them and brought them food and water. As Irma and Ruth recovered, Tauba got typhus. The camp was liberated by British forces on April 15, 1945. Tauba died on April 19.
    Irma and Ruth stayed in Bergen-Belsen. Ruth wanted to go to Sweden when they opened their doors to Jewish refugees, but Irma refused because she wanted to wait for their parents and Izy to find them. On June 25, Izy arrived in Bergen-Belsen and found Irma. Izy and Irma found a rabbi and married on July 1. Izy had been liberated in Kaufering VII slave labor camp in Landsberg, Germany on May 2. His father Leib had died in February. Determined to find Irma and his mother, he rode a bicycle from camp to camp looking for them. In August, Izy, Irma, and Ruth went to a displaced persons camp in Munich, and then in Hamburg. Izy worked as a mechanic and clerk. In July 1947, they couple had a daughter, Tonika. Irma and Ruth reunited with their brother Ernst, who was liberated in 1944 by the Soviets. He returned to Lobsens and learned that their parents had been taken into the woods near town, where they were forced to dig their own graves and then were shot. Irma’s brother Martin and his wife were killed in a concentration camp. Her brother Kurt and maternal aunt Sally starved to death in the Warsaw ghetto. Her aunt Flora was shot by the Nazis in Vandsburg. Her aunt Lina and Lina’s husband Alfred Rosenbaum died of starvation in Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in Czechoslovakia. Her brother-in-law Shiya was killed in Auschwitz. In January 1950, Izy, Irma, and Tonika, along with Ruth, emigrated to the United States and settled in Dallas, Texas. Irma’s brother Ernst also lived in Dallas. In 1953, Irma and Izy had another daughter. Ernst, 47, died on January 18, 1961, in Dallas. Izy, 53, passed away on June 26, 1974, in Dallas. Tonika, 37, died on May 3, 1985. Her sister, Ruth Feldan, 89, passed away on December 6, 2004. Irma did charitable work in Dallas’s Jewish community for years and is still very active in her synagogue.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    The a, b, and c component designations have been added for cataloging purposes only.
    a. Small, tapered, cone shaped cigarette holder constructed from 3 hollow, collapsible tubes of descending size: an outer silver colored metal casing, in the middle, a bronze colored metal tube, and then a narrow, bronze colored plastic tube. The outer casing is engraved with 2 spiral grooves. All sections have open holes through the center. The 2 inner sections extend outward for use. The casing, the widest section, has a circular hole on the end where the cigarette is inserted. The narrow plastic tube is the mouthpiece, and is broken off at the lip end. The holder fits inside a plastic case (b-c).
    b. Hollow, barrel shaped, mottled green plastic base of a cigarette holder case. The open top has threaded lines for the cap (c.) and an indented shelf rest. It slightly tapers inward to the flat circular bottom, which has a small center hole.
    c. Hollow, barrel shaped, mottled green plastic screw cap lid with threaded lines on the interior to attach to base (b). It slightly tapers inward to the flat circular top, which has a small center hole.
    Dimensions
    a: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    b: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Depth: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm)
    c: Height: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Depth: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm)
    Materials
    a : metal, plastic
    b : plastic
    c : plastic

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The cigarette holder was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Irma Freudenreich, wife of Izy Freudenreich.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:28:26
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn512919

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