- Brief Narrative
- Identification tag that was owned by Stefi and Gustav Geisel. They had emigrated separately to the United States in 1938 to escape the harsh persecutions of Jews in Nazi Germany. They met in Chicago and married in 1942. Stefi had lived in Mosbach, Germany, with her parents and younger brother, Walter. In 1938, 18 year old Stefi Siegel was sent to live with relatives in Chicago. Her parents left for England that year and arrived in the US in 1943. Walter had been sent to the Netherlands; after Germany occupied the country in 1940, he was deported to Buchenwald concentration camp, then to Bergen Belsen, where he died of typhus in March 1945. Gustav was from Rheinbach, Germany, and had left Germany in 1938 to live with relatives in Chicago. His brother, Albert, arrived in 1940 and their parents, Hermann and Sophie, were able to come to the US after both brothers were drafted into the US Army in 1942.
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Stefi Geisel
Subject: Stefi Geisel
Gustav Geisel was born on April 6, 1911, in Rheinbach, Germany, the youngest child of Hermann and Sophie Geisel. He had a brother, Albert, and two sisters, Betty and Helene. His father had a butcher shop. The family was Jewish and moderately observant. Gustav was the first in his family to graduate Gymnasium and continue his education. In 1930, he went to study law, first at the University of Berlin, then in Bonn. After Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, Gustav decided to take the law qualifying exam. Despite the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazi government, Gustav was able to take the exam on September 21, 1933, because his father was a World War I veteran. He passed the exam, but could not practice because as a Jew he was not permitted to be part of the civil service or to take the required oath of allegiance to Hitler. He worked with his father in his butcher shop for two years, and then moved to Offenbach where he worked in the Jacob Meyer and Son tannery, owned by Baron von Hirsch. In 1938, with the sponsorship of his Uncle Charlie in Chicago, Gustav obtained a visa for the United States. He sailed on the Queen Mary and arrived in New York on July 18; in January 1940, he left for Chicago. His brother, Albert, was arrested in Rheinbach during the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938 and imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp. He was released in February with the condition that he leave Germany. He went to England and managed to make arrangements for the rest of the family to join him there. Albert arrived in Chicago in April 1940. The remainder of the family arrived in 1942 after both brothers were drafted into the US Army.
Gustav met Stefi Siegel, also an émigré from Nazi Germany, in Chicago because of a chance meeting of their parents in London while all were waiting for passage to the US. They married in January 1942. He was drafted into the US Army that year and was in the Signal Corps. In August 1944, he was deployed to England where he was assigned to a radio interception group. He also was assigned to the 9th Air Force as an interpreter for General Vandenberg. After the end of the war in May 1945, he was assigned to US Army Headquarters in Frankfurt until December when he returned to the US and was discharged. Gustav and Stefi had two sons. He continued in the tannery business, and eventually founded the Western Hide Company, an import business. He served on the board of directors at Temple Sholom in Chicago. He passed away June 1, 1997, age 86.
Stefi Siegel was born on December 25, 1919, in Mosbach-Baden, Germany. Her father, Siegfried, was born in Mosbach in 1884, and her mother, Friedericke (Friedel) Moritz was born on November 19, 1887, in Mainz. The family had lived in the area since the 1400s and strictly observed orthodox Jewish practices. Her father was a merchant specializing in leather goods and shoes. The family, as well as her grandmother, had apartments above the store, which had been established by Siegfried’s great-grandfather. Stefi had a brother, Walter, born on January 18, 1923.
Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933 and many anti-Jewish policies were enacted. With the encouragement of the principal, Stefi stayed in the public school as long as possible, but by 1935, she could no longer attend. She briefly went to a Jewish home school in Frankfurt, then traveled to Amsterdam to live with an aunt for 6 months, then to Hamburg, then back to Frankfurt, seeking to learn a trade and find employment. Between 1936-1938, her father sold his business and the building and the family moved to an apartment on the third floor. Her parents were determined to get Stefi out of the country and contacted distant relatives in the United States. Stefi left the United States in September 1938 on the USS Statendam, having received an affidavit of financial sponsorship from a stranger, a farmer in Missouri. After she arrived, she went to stay with the relatives in Chicago. Walter was sent to Holland on a work permit to learn a trade, with the plan to emigrate to Palestine. Her father was arrested during the November 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom and sent to Dachau, but released. He obtained an entry number from the US Consulate that made it possible to obtain a permit to leave Germany and Siegfried and Friedel left for England where Freidel had cousins. After war was declared between Great Britain and Germany in September 1939, Siegfried was imprisoned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man, but was released after review.
Stefi met Gustav Geisel, also an émigré from Nazi Germany, in Chicago because of a chance meeting of their parents in London while all were waiting for passage to the US. They married in January 1942. Stefi remained with her cousins while he served in the US Army until 1946. Her parents arrived in 1943 from England. In 1946, they learned that Walter had been deported from Holland after the German occupation in spring 1940. He had been sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, and then Bergen Belsen, where he died of typhus in March 1945. The Siegels lost many other family members during the Holocaust. Stefi and Gustav had two sons. Her father passed away, age 69, in 1953 in New York. Her mother died August 27, 1982, age 93, in New Jersey. Her husband, Gustav, passed away June 1, 1997, age 86.
- Object Type
Name tags (lcsh)
- Physical Description
- Circular metal name tag with a hole in one side and a half circle hole on the other side. The edge is rolled under and the front has stamped text.
- overall: Height: 2.000 inches (5.08 cm) | Width: 1.120 inches (2.845 cm)
- overall : metal
- front, stamped : GUSTAV GEISEL / 36708321 T43 -44 A / STEFI S.GEISEL / 5515 S.INGLESIDE A / CHICAGO,ILL. H
Rights & Restrictions
- Conditions on Access
- No restrictions on access
- Conditions on Use
- No restrictions on use
Keywords & Subjects
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The identification tag was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Stefi Geisel, the widow of Gustav Geisel.
- Record last modified:
- 2023-11-08 14:34:17
- This page:
Also in Gustav and Stefi Geisel collection
The collection consists of artifacts, correspondence, documents, and photographs relating to the experience of Stefi Siegel and her family in Germany before and during the Holocaust and of Stefi and Gustav Geisel in the United States during and after the Holocaust.
The Stefi Geisel papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, photographic materials, printed materials, and writings documenting the lives of the Siegel and Geisel families in Germany before the war, Stefi and Gus Geisel’s immigration to the United States, and Walter Siegel’s experiences in the Netherlands before his deportation and death at Bergen Belsen. Biographical materials consist of yahrzeit calendars for Hedwig and Martin Moritz and Siegfried Siegel, death announcements for Hedwig Moritz and Walter Siegel, Gustav Geisel’s 1933 driver’s license, a birth certificate and tax document for Stefi Geisel, Friedel and Siegfried Siegel’s marriage certificate and English certificates of identity, Siegfried’s visa quota number, fragments of a record documenting Siegfried’s imprisonment in Dachau following Kristallnacht, and certificates of good conduct for Walter. Correspondence consists primarily of letters from Walter Siegel in Haarlem and Rotterdam to his parents and his sister in London and Chicago. This series also includes Red Cross messages to Walter from his parents and his sister, letters documenting his family’s efforts find him after the war, and a scrapbook containing congratulations he and his family received on the occasion of Walter’s Bar Mitzvah. Photographic materials include two photograph albums and loose photographs of Stefi Geisel and her Siegel and Moritz family and friends in Mosbach, Mainz, Hamburg, London, and Chicago and Gus Geisel and his family and friends in Rheinbach, Berlin, and vacation sites. Family members depicted include Stefi’s parents, grandfather Martin Moritz, grandmothers Hedwig Moritz and Clara Siegel, aunts Erna Moritz and Rina Bachrach, and cousins Judith and Margot Moritz and Clare Bachrach, as well as Gus’s parents and brother Albert Geisel. Printed materials include a 1945 program for a Jewish religious service celebrating the Allied victory and a 1956 issue of K.C. Blätter, the magazine of Gustav Geisel’s fraternity. Writings consist of Eduard Geisel’s Franco-Prussian War diary describing his mobilization and movements with the 11th Company, 2nd Rhine Infantry Regiment, Nr 28; Gustav Geisel’s travel diary written aboard the Queen Mary on his way to America; a poem celebrating the marriage of Siegfried and Friedel Siegel; and poems and songs celebrating Walter Siegel’s Bar Mitzvah.
Leather wallet used by 18 year old Stefi Siegel when she emigrated to the United States in September 1938 from Mosbach, Germany. After Hitler came to power in 1933, policies were put in place that persecuted and excluded Jews from German society. In 1938, Stefi's parents, Siegfried and Friedel, managed to send her to the United States; her 15 year old brother, Walter, was sent to the Netherlands to learn a trade and possibly emigrate to Palestine. Her parents emigrated to England in 1939 and would get to the US in 1943. In spring 1940, Germany occupied the Netherlands. Walter eventually was deported to Buchenwald concentration camp, then to Bergen Belsen, where he died of typhus in March 1945.
Commemorative book published by the American branch of this Jewish fraternal organization. K-C [Kartell-Convent der Verbindungen Deutscher Studenten Juedischen Glaubens] was a national organization that brought together Jewish student fraternities in Germany. The K-C was outlawed in 1933/34 by the Nazi government, along with other Jewish groups.