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Gold finger ring made from earrings saved by a non-Jewish neighbor

Object | Accession Number: 2003.89.3

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    Gold finger ring made from earrings saved by a non-Jewish neighbor

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    Brief Narrative
    Finger ring made from gold earrings owned by Bertha Herzfeld. A non-Jewish German woman kept the earrings for the family during World War II. She returned them to Bertha's daughter Friedl after the war ended in May 1945.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Friedl Herzfeld Wollmerstedt
    Subject: Friedl H. Wollmerstedt
    Friedl Wollmerstedt was born Frieda Herzfeld in Kelsterbach, Germany on December 9, 1915. Her father Herz (Hugo) Herzfeld (son of Moses Herzfeld and Regina Hirsch) was born in König (today Bad König), Germany on May 16, 1877. Her mother, Berta Adler (daughter of Abraham Adler and Fanny Strauß) was born in Kelsterbach, Germany on August 28, 1875. Hugo Herzfeld and Berta Adler married on November 1, 1909 in Kelsterbach. The Herzfelds kept a kosher kitchen and were a traditional Jewish family. Hugo Herzfeld was an animal feed merchant and Bertha Herzfeld took care of the household.

    Friedl had an older sister, Martha, who was born in Kelsterbach, Germany on November 11, 1910. Both girls started school in Kelsterbach and later studied at German schools in Frankfurt. After school both sisters took jobs in Jewish stores. In April 1936 Friedl started working for J. Wormser und Co., a textile whole sale in Frankfurt am Main. In the wake of Aryanization, the Jewish-owned business was transferred to its attorney Hans Merschroth. Friedl worked for Merschroth & Co. since August 4, 1938 and became unemployed on January 6, 1939. On February 13, 1939 Friedl Herzfeld started working as a shorthand typist for the Jewish lawyer Max L. Cahn, who was only allowed to consult Jews.

    In the wake Kristallnacht, Hugo told his two daughters to leave Germany. Martha obtained a visa for Northern Ireland through the help of W. L. Irwin, an Irishman. After writing to the Refugee Committee in London, Friedl was able to obtain English visas for herself and her sister. In May 1939 they left Frankfurt, traveled via Holland, and arrived in London, England. Friedl found employment as a nurse while her sister left for Ireland. After losing her job at the hospital, Friedl joined Martha in Ireland.

    Hugo and Bertha corresponded with their daughters through the Red Cross until their deportation to and subsequent death in Riga in 1942. In Ireland, the Herzfeld sisters joined the Fire Service. Later, they would also join the British Army. After the war, Friedl worked for an educational service. After visiting Germany in 1950, the two sisters both bought a flat in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1958, Friedl visited Germany and renewed her acquaintance with her childhood friend, Herman Wollmerstedt. The two had been forced to end their relationship in 1934 due to the German racial laws. Herman came to visit Friedl in Edinburgh in 1957 to convince her to come to Germany with him. She came to Germany in 1958, and they were married six months later on June 6, 1958. Martha stayed in Edinburgh, Scotland until her death.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Gold rings (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Circular gold shank with hallmark stamped on inside that reads"10.6"; circular setting at top of shank
    overall: Height: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Width: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    overall : gold

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Administrative Notes

    The ring was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Friedl Herzfeld Wollmerstedt.
    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:
    2024-05-30 12:26:34
    This page:

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