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Blue velvet tallit pouch with an embroidered monogram owned by a German Jewish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2004.524.17

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    Blue velvet tallit pouch with an embroidered monogram owned by a German Jewish refugee

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    Brief Narrative
    Navy blue velvet tallit bag that belonged to Peter Victor, who lived as a Jewish refugee from Berlin in Shanghai, China, from 1938-1947. The pouch originally belonged to his father, Carl Victor, whose initials are embroidered on one side. The bag was used to store a tallit, a prayer shawl worn by Jewish males for morning services. 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 of tropical disease on Novmber 29, 1940, and Elsa on May 9, 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.
    use:  approximately 1939
    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
    Original owner: Carl N. Victor
    Subject: Peter M. Victor
    Carl Nathan Victor was born in Gusten, Germany, on May 1, 1879, to Louis and Henrietta Pels Victor. Louis was born in Gusten on December 8, 1832, to Nochim and Henriette Herzefeld Victor. Henrietta was born on November 13, 1850. Carl had a sister, Rebecca, born on July 17, 1881. Carl married Elsa Alexander. Elsa was born in 1888. They settled in Munich and had a son, Peter Max on April 19, 1920. Carl was a poet, chemist and owned a food dye company. In 1924, the family moved to Berlin. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, anti-Jewish legislation and restrictions became increasingly harsh. In 1938, Peter was sent to Shanghai, China, an open port with no visa requirements. In June 1939, Carl and Elsa sailed on the SS Conte Rosso to join Peter in Shanghai. The family lived in the Hongkew district. Carl became ill and died on November 1, 1940. Elsa passed away on May 8, 1942. Peter emigrated to the United States in 1947.
    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

    Jewish Art and Symbolism
    Object Type
    Tallith bags (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular dark blue velvet tallit bag with side seams and a white cloth lining. The opening flap has angled sides and 2 button holes with corresponding dark blue plastic buttons on the body. A monogram is embroidered in yellow thread on the flap.
    overall: Height: 9.500 inches (24.13 cm) | Width: 14.125 inches (35.878 cm)
    overall : cloth, plastic, thread
    exterior, flap, center, embroidered, yellow thread : C. V.

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The tallit bag was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Arleen Tievsky, as 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:
    2022-11-02 15:15:47
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