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Elsa and Selmar Biener papers

Document | Accession Number: 2005.65.1

The Elsa and Selmar Biener papers consists of immigration documents, correspondence, photographs, and financial materials related to the emigration of Elsa and Selmar Biener aboard the MS St. Louis, their disembarkation in England, and their internment on the Isle of Man.

The correspondence includes letters and telegrams to / from Selmar and Elsa Biener, their family, and various Jewish aid societies, dated 1929-1968, and undated. The papers also includes receipts for sending registered postal packages, 1940, and a collection of messages written and received by members of the Friedler family. These messages were written on British Red Cross stationary and delivered via the British Red Cross, 1942-1943.

The biographical materials series includes genealogy materials relating to the Weissmann family and Rostholder family, as well as an address list of family members and friends, undated.

The immigration materials series consists of immigration documents for Selmar and Elsa Biener. The documents include Selmar and Elsa Biener’s marriage certificate, 1936; Elsa Biener’s German driver’s license, 1938; an application for and notification of a receiving an immigration number from the American consulate in Berlin, Germany, 1939; a vaccination document, May 4, 1939; a certificate regarding the export of materials to Cuba, May 10, 1939; certificates of good conduct, 1939; a transcript of the “Emigration case of Selmar Beiner, at present A.I.C. Lingfield-Racecourse, Surrey, Hut 7,” 1940; a questionnaire regarding the experiences of Selmar Biener, 1941; and a United States Affidavit of Support for Selmar and Elsa Biener submitted by Siegmund Chusit, 1940. The papers also includes immigration documents for Eugen Biener, Siegmund Biener, Fischel Biener (1870-?), and Siefried Mannheimer. Also included are a travel pass, undated; printed instructions for consignments to internees, June 18, 1940; a document relating to luggage insurance, May 10, 1939; a “Circular to Refugees from Germany and Austria,” undated; a printed immigration document from the American consulate in Berlin, undated; a printed immigration document regarding immigration to Australia from an aid society for Jews in Germany, undated; and a blank application for a permit to enter Australia.

The financial materials relate to Philip Biener’s property transfers, 1927, 1936; various receipts; a tax document, May 8, 1939; a receipt for an advertisement The Times, July 14, 1939; and railroad and shipping documents, 1938-1940. Various lists include items purchased for immigration, April 1939; a list of gold and jewelry to be placed in a bank safe, 1940; and lists of household goods, 1939-1941.

The miscellaneous series include handwritten notes from various family members, circa 1930s-1956; a partial set of blank binder dividers; a copy of the “Auszug aus der Reichsmeldeldeordnung vom Januar 1938;” instructions for building basement air raid shelters, 1940; instructions for cooking with a Siemens-Kochplatte; instructions for using a Frigidaire; instructions for using a typewriter, a map of the European airmail lines, 1938; and a partial architectural blueprint of an unidentified building, August 23, 1940.

The papers also include a pen and ink drawing of a menorah with barbed wire, 1940.

The Biener family photographs include fourteen photographs taken aboard the MS St. Louis, 1939, as well as photographs of Elsa and Selmar Biener, 1939. Five negatives are storage separately for preservation purposes.

inclusive:  1927-1968
bulk:  1936-1941
2 boxes
1 oversize folder
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum collection, gift of Diana Barzilay and Evelyn Hill
Record last modified: 2023-08-25 08:09:18
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