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Travel sewing box with 16 floss spools carried by a Kindertransport refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2003.454.21

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    Travel sewing box with 16 floss spools carried by a Kindertransport refugee

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    Brief Narrative
    Travel sewing kit with a decorated box with 16 spools of thread bought for 11 year old Lilli (Karoline) Schischa to take on the Kindertransport from Austria to Great Britain on July 13, 1939. In March 1938, Nazi Germany marched into Austria and made it part of the Third Reich. Jewish persecution. The clothing store owned by Lilli's parents, Wilhelm and Johanna, in Wiener Neustadt was seized. Lilli's brother, Edi, age 24, left for Palestine in October 1938. Her father was arrested during the Kristallnacht pogrom that November, but released after ten days. Her parents were able to get Lilli out of the country, but in February 1941, they were deported to the ghetto in Opole, Poland. They perished in the ghetto or in Sobibor death camp. Lilli returned to Vienna ca. 1947.
    emigration:  1939 July 13
    received: Wiener Neustadt (Austria)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Lilli Schischa Tauber
    front side, printed, white ink : DRAHOMA Stopfgarn für die Reise [Darning thread for travel]
    right side, printed, white ink : Art. Nr. 222
    left side, printed, white ink : 10 Knäule=100m [10 skeins=100m]
    back side, printed, white ink : Verkauf einzelnar Knäule unzuläsig [Sale of individual skeins inadmissible]
    interior, inside lid, printed, gray ink : R||if||z||is! / Wenn Du beim Kofferpacken bist, / dann denke auch an alles. - / Und daß Du “Stopf-Twist” nicht vergißt, / in Anbetracht des Falles, / daß Strümpfe, die im Koffer liegen, ‘mal unterwegens Löcher kriegen. / Da lohnt sich unser Sortiment / mit allen Farben, die man kennt. [(?) When you’re packing your bags, be sure to think of everything. Don’t forget “Stopf-Twist” in case stockings in the suitcase get holes on the way. Try our assortment of colors.]
    Subject: Lilly Schischa Tauber
    Karoline (Lilli/Lilly) Schischa was born on March 13, 1927, to Wilhelm and Johanna Friedmann Schischa in Vienna, Austria. Wilhelm was born in Gloggnitz in lower Austria on October 11, 1883, the oldest son of Josef and Karoline Gerstl. He had three siblings, Paula, Helene, and Adolf. Josef, originally from Mattersdorf, was a master tailor and was very religious. Wilhelm’s mother died in 1894 and his father remarried Anna Guenser and had four children, Ludwig, Richard, Malwine (d. 1927), and Erna. Lilli’s mother Johanna was born in 1885 and had two sisters Berta Ohme and Fanny Bauer. Lilli was raised in Wiener Neustadt, along with her older brother, Eduard (Edi), who was born on October 5, 1914. Lilli’s family was very religious and followed Jewish traditions. The Schischas owned a menswear store in Wiener Neustadt which was seized after the Anschluss, the integration of Austria with Nazi Germany in March 1938. Edi emigrated to Palestine that October. During the Kristallnacht pogrom that November 9-10, Wilhelm was arrested and detained in prison for ten days. He was then forced to sell their home. Lilli became ill with scarlet fever and had to be hospitalized. After she recovered, she joined her mother in Vienna, where she had gone with her sister-in-law. On July 13, 1939, Lilli was sent on a Kindertransport to Great Britain. As they waited at the train station, her father put both hands on her head and blessed her.

    Lilli was sent to live with a group of Jewish refugee girls at the Hackney hostel in London, but soon transferred to Cockley Cley estate in Swaffham, Norfolk. She worked as a seamstress. The war ended with Germany’s surrender on May 7, 1945. Lilli eventually learned that her parents Wilhelm and Johanna, unable to secure visas, were deported from Vienna to the ghetto in Opole Lubelskie in German occupied Poland on February 26, 1941. In spring 1942, the Germans liquidated the ghetto. The Jewish residents were sent to Belzec and Sobibor killing centers and Lilli's parents presumably perished there.

    Lilli returned to postwar Vienna in 1946 or 1947 as a member of the Young Austria Refugee, a group dedicated to creating a democratic Austria. She was reunited with her mother's sister Berta Ohme, who had not been deported because her husband was not Jewish. Berta had preserved a collection of documents, correspondence, and photographs that Lilli’s mother gave her just before she was deported to Opole. Along with these, she gave Lilli correspondence sent by Johanna and Wilhelm from Opole. Lilli married Max Tauber in 1954. Max, who was also Jewish, was born in Vienna on June 11, 1920, and had lived in Jerusalem. They have two sons. Lilli’s brother Edi lived in Israel until his death in 1963, age 49.

    Physical Details

    Tools and Equipment
    Object Type
    Sewing boxes (aat)
    Physical Description
    Shallow, square, paper covered cardboard shoulder box and lid. On the top of the lid is a cartoon image depicting an orange train pulling into a station, with the conductor and several passengers sticking their heads out of the windows. On the right is a couple on a hike. On the left is a couple running to catch the train. In the background is a lake with 3 swimmers and a boat and fields. At the lower edge is a white banner with FÜR DIE REISEZEIT! in orange. The sides of the lid and box are orange with white stripes and white text. On the interior, the lid is lined with white paper with printed gray text. The box contains 16 cardboard spools of thread arranged in 4 rows of 4: 1 light gray, and 15 in varying shades of brown. Some of the thread is unraveling and rests on top.
    overall: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Width: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) | Depth: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm)
    overall : cardboard, paper, thread, ink, adhesive
    bottom, bottom left corner, pencil : 28 pf

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The traveling sewing kit was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Lilli Schischa Tauber.
    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 18:28:38
    This page:

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