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Crocheted tablecloth and replacement thread saved by a German Jewish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2004.524.13 a-b

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    Crocheted tablecloth and replacement thread saved by a German Jewish refugee

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Crocheted tablecloth and loosely wound extra rayon thread that belonged to Peter Victor, who lived as a Jewish refugee from Berlin to Shanghai, China, from 1938-1947. The collection includes the pattern for the tablecloth: 2004.524.15. Peter, age 18, left Germany to escape the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazi-led government in 1938. His parents, Carl and Elsa, arrived in Shanghai in 1939. Carl died in 1940 and Elsa in 1942. Shanghai was liberated by the United States Army on September 3, 1945. With the aid of the American Joint Distribution Committee, Peter emigrated to America in December 1947.
    Date
    use:  after 1938
    Geography
    use: Hongkou Qu (Shanghai, China)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Estate of Peter M. Victor and in memory of Carl and Elsa Victor and Berta Neidermann Victor
    Contributor
    Subject: Peter M. Victor
    Biography
    Peter Max Victor was born in Munich, Germany, on April 19, 1920, the only child of Carl Nathan and Elsa Alexander Victor. Carl was born in Gusten on May 1, 1879, to Louis (1832-1901) and Henrietta Pels Victor (1850-1940). Carl had a sister, Rebecca (1881-1970) who married a gentile, Gustav Adler (1882-1958), and had two sons. Elsa was born on December 25, 1888. Carl served in the Germany Army during World War I (1914-1918.) Carl was a poet and chemist and owner of a food dye and preservatives factory. Elsa worked with the business. In 1924, the family moved to Berlin. The family was well off and Jewish, but not especially observant. After the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany in 1933, anti-Jewish legislation and restrictions became increasingly harsh. Carl’s business was not restricted and it converted to produce war rations for the Army. After the Kristallnacht destruction of November 9-10, 1938, the family decided to leave Germany. They bought tickets for Shanghai, China, because it was an open port with no visa requirements.

    Peter left Germany on May 15, 1939, and arrived in Shanghai on June 14. Carl sold the family’s furniture and his factory. Jews could take almost no money out of Germany. Carl entrusted the sale proceeds to a friend who said he would transfer it to a bank in Shanghai, but never did. Carl and Elsa arrived in Shanghai in June 1939 on the Conte Rosso. They lived together in a small room, but life was difficult because they were penniless. Peter worked odd jobs in a hospital and community kitchen. Both of his parents contracted tropical diseases. Carl died, 61, of amoebic dysentery on November 29, 1940. Elsa developed diabetes because of the lack of adequate food and, at age, 54, passed away on May 9, 1942. Peter had to move to Hongkew ghetto in 1943 and got a job as a lifeguard at Hongkew Park, a country club for the elite of the Japanese occupation authorities.

    The war in Europe ended with Germany's surrender on May 7, 1945. Shanghai was liberated by the United States Army on September 3, 1945. Peter worked as a dispatcher and driver for the US Army Air Force motor pool. In December 1947, the American Joint Distribution Committee assisted Peter in emigrating to America on the USNS Marine Adder. His paternal aunt, Rebecca Adler, survived the war in Berlin; her husband, who was not Jewish, had been able to save her, but both their sons were killed by the Nazis. For two years, he lived in San Francisco. Peter married Berta Neidermann Spiner on April 25, 1951, in Chicago. Berta, born January 20, 1917, had arrived in the US in 1938, a refugee from Nazi ruled Vienna. Her parents, Joseph and Anna Scheier Neidermann, were murdered in Auschwitz. Peter and Berta settled in Washington DC. Peter owned a gift business. After his retirement, he volunteered at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Berta, 71, passed away on May 28, 1988. Peter, 73, died on May 7, 1993.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Furnishings and Furniture
    Category
    Household linens
    Object Type
    Tablecloths (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Crocheted, oval tablecloth with scalloped edges made from light brown rayon thread. There is a floral design around the edges and in the center, bordered by an irregular rectangle with pointed ends. The edges have wide stitches with a repeating V pattern. One secton, about a quarter of the area, is made from dark brown rayon. The tablecloth pattern is 2004.524.15 a-d.
    b. A loosely wound bundle of rayon thread.
    Dimensions
    a: Height: 36.000 inches (91.44 cm) | Width: 44.625 inches (113.348 cm)
    b: Height: 5.250 inches (13.335 cm) | Width: 7.250 inches (18.415 cm)
    Materials
    a : rayon
    b : rayon

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The tablecloth and fringe were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Arleen Tievsky, executor of the Estate of Peter Victor.
    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 18:28:44
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn515877

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