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Herbert A. Fierst papers

Document | Accession Number: 2006.8.1

The Herbert A. Fierst papers consist of biographical materials, displaced persons files, photographs, subject files, writings, speeches, and interviews primarily documenting Fierst’s work on displaced persons issues at the Pentagon and State Department in the 1940s and the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 signed by Harry S. Truman. The collection also includes a diary Herbert kept while traveling in Germany in 1935 and 1936, writings and speeches about Nazi Germany and postwar displaced persons issues, McCarthy‐era investigations into Fierst and his colleagues, and materials relating to Herbert’s family.
Biographical materials include biographical statements and resumes documenting the careers of Herbert and Edith Fierst, a family history by Herbert’s mother, and records documenting Herbert’s time at Camp Modin and at Mount Vernon High School, the Fierst family’s trips to Palestine/Israel in 1927 and 1970 for Herbert’s Bar‐Mitzvah and later to volunteer on a kibbutz, and Herbert’s award of the Sheldon Prize Fellowship that allowed him to travel to Germany in the mid‐1930s.
Displaced persons files consist of correspondence, reports, and clippings documenting the Pentagon’s and the State Department’s handling of issues regarding displaced persons in Europe following World War II. This series includes files on six of the seven advisers on Jewish affairs to the US military (Judge Simon Rifkind, Rabbi Philip Bernstein, Judge Louis E. Levinthal, William Haber, Harry Greenstein, and Abraham Hyman), governmental agencies and non‐governmental organizations also working with displaced persons, and the visa cases of Izak and Mania Kenig, family members of a friend of Herbert.
Photographs depict Herbert Fierst visiting Palestine as a child, as a young man in the military, in government service at the Pentagon and at the State Department, and in the oval office during a bill signing by Harry S. Truman, presumably the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. This folder also includes a signed photograph of Chaim Weizman, a copy print of Herbert’s parents, and a photocopy of a photograph of a little boy.
Subject files consist of materials related to loans and donations by Herbert to historical societies and museums; Nazi propaganda Herbert collected during the Nazi period; materials related to Chaim Weizman, President Truman, and David McCullough’s biography of Truman; a copy of David Bernard Sachar’s thesis about David K. Niles; a file on the United Nations; and Herbert’s answers to McCarthy and House Un‐American Activities Committee security charges. Materials include correspondence, transcripts, printed materials, and legal agreements.
Writings, speeches, and interviews include a copy of the diary Herbert kept while traveling in Germany in 1935 and 1936; a transcript of an interview with Fierst about displaced persons broadcast on NBC in the 1940s; transcripts of oral history interviews with Herbert; and drafts and copies of Herbert’s book, A View of the Jewish Problem from the Pentagon and State Department, 1945‐1948, about his work with displaced persons issues in the 1940s, the effect of the Harrison report on his work, issues regarding border controls in the American occupied zones, and his work with Civil Affairs division Chief of State General John Hilldring at the State Department. The series also includes correspondence, programs, and drafts of speeches by Herbert related to various speaking engagements; the first page of a play Herbert wrote in high school; other writings by Herbert about Europe, Israel, and the American economy; and drafts of Herbert’s family history book, A Special Bond: True Story of an American Jewish Family in Times of Crisis, Drawn from the Letters and Diaries of Miriam Fierst, Harry P. Fierst, and Herbert A. Fierst. This series further includes an audiocassette recording of an interview in which Sam and Sophy Perlman discuss the childhood of Herbert’s father, Harry P. Fierst.

Date
inclusive:  1922-2004
Language
English
Genre/Form
Photographs.
Extent
6 boxes
 
Record last modified: 2021-11-23 09:39:38
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn517811