Eva Rindner papers
The papers consist of photographs, a memoir, and correspondence relating to Eva Rindner and her family during the Holocaust. Included are images of Eva Rindner as a child being treated in a sanatorium for tuberculosis and pre-World War II photographs of the donor's parents and grandparents.
- Document Creator
- Eva Rindner
Lola Blonder was born in Vienna, Austria, on May 21, 1894. Her parents were Austrians who had emigrated from Galicia. Regina Losch Zipser, Lola’s mother, had been born in Lemberg (L ́viv), Ukraine. Dr. Joseph Zipser, Lola’s father, was born in Kolomea (Kolomyia), Ukraine, on the Russian border. Joseph was a journalist in Vienna when he met Regina. He was certified as a Polish and Ruthenian translator for a court. Lola’s parents had five children. The first child, a girl, died at the age of three. Lola was their third child. She enjoyed taking care of her younger sister, Hedy, who was 11 years younger than Lola. Lola married Dr. Herbert Schutzman, a lawyer, before World War II. Herbert was an active Zionist and had many connections in the Jewish community. Lola and Herbert had two children, Robert and Eva, who was three years younger than her brother.
Between the ages of two and three, Eva was diagnosed with tuberculosis and sent to a sanatorium in Switzerland. She remained there for many years. Her parents were only allowed to visit twice a year as visits were suspected of disrupting her psyche. Eva rarely had books or toys during these years, but she was eventually taught to read. At first, she was kept in traction and had weights put on her body. She only began to walk with the use of braces in July 1935. Eva was released from the sanatorium when she was eight years old in the fall of 1936 and was permitted to live with her family in Vienna. Herbert died of a heart attack on August 23, 1937. Eva was sent home from a summer camp in Switzerland without being told of his sudden death and was devastated when she heard the news. Her mother, Lola, also struggled after Herbert’s death and was placed in a sanatorium for a short time.
Shortly after Herbert’s death, the Austrians enthusiastically welcomed the Nazis during the Anschluss in 1938. Slowly, the Germans placed restrictions on Jews. Lola’s older brother, Julian, was a lawyer and was arrested by the Nazis immediately after the invasion of Austria. Her other brother, Felix, was a physician and was also imprisoned. He was sent to Dachau, then to Buchenwald, and then back to Dachau. Her sister, Hedy, tried to flee to the Netherlands in the hope of meeting her fiancé in the United States, but her papers were insufficient and she was sent back to Vienna. She worked tirelessly to gain a visa from the consulate in Vienna and eventually was granted travel privileges to the United States.
A few days after the Anschluss, Lola’s home was seized by a Nazi lawyer. Her family was to live in a small side room of the apartment. Nazis remained in the apartment for 100 days, constantly monitoring Lola and her family. The phones were tapped, and they had to ask the Germans for permission to leave the apartment. They discovered that the family’s housekeeper had been a Nazi party member for a long time and had been passing information to the Germans about Herbert’s wealth and involvement in the Jewish community. This reconnaissance had led to the confiscation of the apartment.
One day, the Nazis, misunderstanding a conversation Lola had about the delivery of a “stone” (a gravestone for her late husband), seized Lola’s brother and mother-in-law and searched her apartment. Expecting jewels, the Germans were furious when they realized their mistake. The Nazis continued to interrogate Lola about the inheritance her husband had left for her. She had put some of it into a Swiss bank account and had some hidden away in the apartment. Despite long, drawn out interrogations, Lola never relented. Eventually, the Gestapo made her sign a document that confessed her husband was a Zionist and forced her to leave Austria. Before she left, the Germans took many of her possessions and confiscated the money in her local bank accounts.
Lola attempted to save her children’s lives by sending them out in the middle of the night to reach their uncle and grandmother. Eva and her brother were given a bag with some money and an address. The plan failed, and the children were returned to their mother.
With help from one of her husband’s friends, Lola was able to obtain travel visas to Palestine for her and her children. She eventually obtained all of the documentation she needed to leave the country. With her possessions and citizenship stripped from her, Lola boarded a train out of Austria with her children. Eva and her brother were given sleeping pills to keep them from talking to undercover Nazis posing as Jews. The family traveled to Trieste, Italy, to board a ship to Haifa, Palestine. Lola discovered that her luggage had been confiscated by the Nazis at the Austrian border and stayed in Trieste until it was returned to her. This caused the family to miss their ship, but they were able to board another ship a week later.
The family arrived in Haifa, Palestine, in July 1938. They found an apartment in Bat Galim. Eva’s brother, Robert, attended a maritime college. Eva struggled due to her inability to speak Hebrew or English. At the age of ten, she was placed in a first grade class with six-year-olds. She became depressed due to ridicule from her classmates and neglect from her busy mother.
Lola warned many people in Palestine of Nazi atrocities. Not many took her advice to help their relatives to get out of Europe. Lola was able to get her brother, Julian, out of Austria by setting up an account for him with enough money in it to entitle him to a Capitalist Certificate from Basel, Switzerland. Julian joined Lola in Haifa in September 1938. Lola tried to do the same thing for her brother, Felix, but it was a difficult process because he was being held in a concentration camp. After contacting Felix’s wife in Vienna, Lola set up an account for him. Due to the inability to contact Felix, his certificate was eventually annulled, but Lola did not give up. She set up another account and stayed in contact with her sister-in-law. In a desperate attempt to save her husband, Felix’s wife went to Nazi officials in Berlin, Germany, and told them that she had a place for him to go. Felix was released, and he and his wife joined Lola and her family in Haifa. Felix told of the terrible injustices being done to prisoners in the concentration camps, and Lola was appalled by what she heard.
After Felix was rescued, Lola focused on getting her mother out of Austria. She pleaded with officials in the immigration department of Haifa and obtained a visitor’s permit for her mother. Despite confusion with the permit and the British consulate in Vienna, Lola’s mother was able to leave Austria and join her children in Palestine.
By this time, there were eight people living in the small apartment in Bat Galim. The group lived under the threat of being accused of illegal immigration and getting sent back to Europe. There was also fear of being harmed during one of the German air raids.
In 1948, Lola married her second husband, Sigmund Blonder. He was a jeweler in Vienna prior to the Anschluss. He had traveled to Haifa on an illegal immigrant ship and made a living in Palestine repairing watches. Sigmund taught his trade to Eva, and they ran a watch repair business out of the family’s apartment which was how Sigmund met Lola. Unfortunately, Sigmund died of a heart attack in 1949, only a year after his marriage.
Eva joined the Israeli Air Force. During her time with the military, she met her future husband, Willi.
- System of Arrangement
- The collection is arranged as a single series.
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Eva Rindner.
- Conditions on Access
- No restrictions on access
- Conditions on Use
- No restrictions on use
Record last modified: 2020-10-02 09:53:47
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