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Carl and Mina Weiler papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2004.485.1

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    Carl and Mina Weiler papers

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    The Carl and Mina Weiler papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, emigration and immigration files, photographic materials, printed materials, and a recipe book documenting Carl Weiler’s and Mina Kaufmann’s German educations, American immigrations, and unsuccessful efforts to bring their family members to the United States. The collection also includes a World War I photo album and scrapbook documenting the military service of Mina’s uncle, Julius Oppenheimer, in Moselle.
    Biographical materials include birth, marriage, naturalization, and death certificates; passports and driver’s licenses; student and employment records; and letters of recommendation documenting Carl and Mina Weiler; family friends Max and Rosa Neumann, Max’s father Hirsch, and their housekeeper Lina Bach; Carl’s uncle Richard Ederheimer; and Mina’s relatives Frieda Allersheimer and Michael Kaufmann. This series also includes Julius Oppenheimer’s 1937 date book.
    Kaufmann family correspondence includes prewar and wartime letters among Mina Weiler, Klara Kaufmann, and their Oppenheimer relatives about Mina’s life in the United States, Klara’s deportation to Gurs, news of family members and friends, and efforts to immigrate to the United States. Wartime correspondence also includes letters from Mina’s friend Karl Mayer who was interned as a German national at Yercaud in India. Postwar letters among Mina, Karl Maier, and Josef Oppenheimer describe the Holocaust fates of relatives, efforts to recover family property, and continued efforts to immigrate. Letters from the Gemeindeverwaltung Gemmingen provide Oppenheimer family history and attempt to trace family members.
    Weiler family correspondence consists of prewar and wartime letters among Carl Weiler, his sister, his parents, his cousins Curt Weiler and Emil Stern, and family friend Richard Auerbach about Karl’s life in the United States and efforts to rescue his parents from Germany.
    Emigration and immigration files include affidavits, forms, supporting documentation, packing lists, and correspondence with government agencies, travel agencies, and aid organizations documenting Carl and Mina Weiler’s immigration to the United States and their unsuccessful efforts to bring Carl’s parents and Mina’s mother, aunts, and uncle to America. This series also includes poetry about immigration efforts and the immigration experience by Carl Weiler.
    Photographic materials include prewar family photographs, loose photographs of World War I era German soldiers, and a photo album and scrapbook documenting Julius Oppenheimer’s World War I military service, including in Neuburg in Lothringen (Novéant-sur-Moselle), around 1915-1916. The photo album includes photographic postcards from Julius’ brother, Sigmund, who also served in the German military. This series further includes photographs of the family of Walter Jensen, a German Jewish World War I veteran, actor, and theater director born Walter Jacob in 1887 in Gernsbach who was married to Mina’s aunt Helene Oppenheimer. Walter was arrested by the Gestapo in the summer of 1933 and moved his wife and children Jutta, Suse, and Norbert to Palestine shortly after.
    Printed materials include dissertations by Mina Weiler and her friends Karl Mayer and Edmund Rothschild, a newspaper clipping with a picture of Carl Weiler cross country skiing in Richmond, a commemorative paper and sermon celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Munich synagogue, a brochure and information sheet from an exhibition on German Jewish soldiers in World War I, and a brochure and photocopies of booklets and articles about the Heilbronn Jewish community and synagogue.
    The recipe book belonged to Mina Weiler and includes handwritten recipes in German as well as entries appearing to track daily nutrition.
    inclusive:  circa 1900-1988
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Judy Gartner and Susan Oberfeld
    Collection Creator
    Carl Weiler
    Mina K. Weiler
    Karl Weiler was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on July 31, 1904, to Friedrich (Fritz) and Ella Ederheimer Weiler. Fritz was born on April 11, 1875, in Brakel, to Mathilde Kalmann (1828-1904) and Moses Weiler. Moses was born in 1832 in Brakel to Levi and Jettchen Lilienthal Weiler. Fritz had two sisters, Clementine, born 1869, and Louise, born 1867, who married Max Fulda, and one older brother, Hermann, born 1875. Moses’ father Levi had established an agricultural brokerage and wholesale business, L. Weiler, in Brakel around 1825. Moses now ran the firm and the family was wealthy and respected in the community. The Weiler’s were an assimilated but observant Jewish family. The town had a small synagogue for the twenty Jewish families.

    Fritz married Ella Ederheimer on May 11, 1902. Ella was born on December 14, 1879, in Frankfurt am Main, to Pauline and Samuel Ederheimer. Ella’s father was a prosperous banker in Frankfurt, where Ella and Fritz settled. Karl’s sister Mathilde (Till) was born on December 29, 1908. Fritz was a partner in a leather goods manufacturing business, but in spring 1914, he agreed to his father’s request to join the family firm. Moses wished to retire and Fritz moved his family to Brakel to run the business with his brother Hermann. Moses and both of Ella’s parents died in 1915. Fritz, age 40, was drafted in 1916 to fight in World War I (1914-1918). He served on the Russian front and was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery. Karl attended a Latin school in Brakel and then a boarding school in nearby Hoexter. After graduating high school in 1922, Karl apprenticed at an agricultural brokerage in Hamburg and Breslau (Wroclaw, Poland) and then studied law at the Universities of Breslau and Freiburg.

    In 1932, Karl moved to Berlin to study for the assessor exam which would permit him to practice law. On January 30, 1933, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Karl passed the exam on February 25 and was appointed an assistant judge. On February 27, he exited a concert and heard that the Reichstag was burning. A few weeks later, the Parliament passed the Enabling Act, giving Hitler dictatorial powers. Hitler issued a decree prohibiting non-Aryans from public offices and Karl was dismissed from his judgeship. In March, he returned to Brakel and joined the family firm as a legal advisor. On April 1, there was a boycott of Jewish stores and SA members stood in front of the family’s business harassing and photographing customers who tried to enter. The increasingly anti-Jewish policies led several members of the firm’s board of directors to suggest selling the business outright or somehow aryanizing it by hiring non-Jews to act as the public face of the firm. To Fritz and Karl, the Nazi triumph in Germany was as if “an alien force had occupied the country.” They thought that Hitler and the Nazis would not stay in power long and they could wait them out. In 1934, Karl became a board member and frequently interacted with Nazi officials from the Department of Agriculture and the German Labor Front. Meetings would begin and end with the Heil Hitler salute, which Karl did not reciprocate. On April 1, 1935, Karl and another attorney, Mr. L., represented the Grain Dealers of Westfalia in a meeting with the Reich Commerce Secretary and obtained assurance that their Jewish members would not be restricted in their dealings.

    By late summer 1935, non-Jewish friends no longer greeted Karl. In September, the Nuremberg Race Laws were passed, stripping Jews of citizenship and their legal and political rights. Fritz’s brother Hermann died in early 1936. In May 1936, the firm’s board was forced to sell the business at a loss to a Nazi selected buyer. Fritz and Ella moved to Berlin and Karl stayed behind to transfer the business and sell their belongings. Karl’s sister Till had moved to Budapest, Hungary, in 1934. She married Joszi Fodor and had a son on July 14, 1936. Karl moved to Berlin and set about obtaining a visa to emigrate to the US. A maternal uncle in New York, Richard Ederheimer, sent him an affidavit of support, but the US consulate twice declared them insufficient. A cousin, Emil Stern, sent an affidavit that the Consulate approved and he received a visa. In December 1937, Karl sailed from Holland on the MS Statendam for New York. He Americanized his name to Carl.

    After the Kristallnacht pogrom on November 9-10 1938, Ella and Fritz attempted to emigrate but their applications were denied. Carl obtained Cuban visas and boat tickets for them, but the boat never sailed. World War II ended in May 1945. Carl learned that his parents had been deported to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in 1942 and later to Auschwitz death camp, where they were killed in 1944. Till was deported from Budapest to Lichtenworth concentration camp in November 1944, where she died of typhus and starvation. Her son, Karoly, survived in a safe house protected by the Swedish embassy and her husband, Joszi, returned to Budapest after serving with the Hungarian Army in Russia. His paternal aunt Louise died in Theresienstadt. Carl married Mina Kaufmann, who had left Germany for the US in 1938. They had two daughters. Carl passed away April 27, 1988, age 83. Mina passed away December 22, 1999, age 85.
    Mina Kaufmann was born in Hainstadt, Germany, near Baden, on December 27, 1913, to Klara Oppenheimer Kaufmann. Klara had three brothers, Joseph, Julius, and Simon. Mina was especially close to Julius and his wife Elsa. They had no children of their own and Mina travelled frequently to Munich to visit them as well as her grandfather. Mina attended the University of Basel in Switzerland. During 1933, Hitler and the Nazi Party established a dictatorship in Germany. Jews were subject to increasingly punitive persecutions. In 1938, Mina emigrated to the United States. During the war, Klara was interned in Gurs internment camp in France. Mina was able to correspond with her and send her an affadavit of suppot for a US visa. Klara managed to escape and found a place to live in Marseilles. Mina’s maternal uncle, Simon, died in the Riga ghetto in Latvia. Mina married Carl Weiler, who had emigrated from Germany to the US in December 1937. The couple had two daughters. Carl, age 83, passed away April 27, 1988. Mina, age 85, passed away December 22, 1999.

    Physical Details

    2 boxes
    1 oversize folder
    System of Arrangement
    The Karl and Mina Weiler papers are arranged as seven series: I. Biographical materials, 1905-1958, II. Kaufmann family correspondence, 1905-1962, III. Weiler family correspondence, 1935-1948, IV. Emigration and immigration materials, 1937-1945, V. Photographic materials, approximately 1900-1940, VI. Printed materials, 1936-1988, VII. Recipe book, approximately 1930s

    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

    Judy Gartner and Susan Oberfeld donated the Carl and Mina Weiler papers, their parents’ papers, to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in September 2004.
    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:
    2023-02-24 14:11:26
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