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Engraving of Audley End in Essex, England acquired by to a German Jewish Refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2005.546.92

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    Brief Narrative
    Engraving of a pastoral scene in Audley End in Essex, England, published in the book series The Beauties of England and Wales. Essex, England was the location of the Quaker boarding school Michael Rossmann attended. After Hitler became German Chancellor in 1933, increasingly severe sanctions were enacted against Jews. Michael was subjected to daily discrimination and beatings at school and was classified as a Mischling due to his mother’s Jewish heritage. In December 1938, Michael was sent to a Quaker school in the Netherlands, but returned to Germany in summer 1939. When the war broke out, Michael and his mother Nelly were in England visiting family and Nelly decided that they would stay.
    Artwork Title
    Engraving of Audley End
    received:  approximately 1943
    depiction: Audley End; Essex (England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Michael G. Rossmann
    front, lower left corner, black ink : Engraved by W. Wordsworth from a painting by G. Arnold
    front, lower right corner, black ink : for the beauties of England and Wales
    front, bottom, center, black ink : AUDLEY END. / With a distant View of Saffron Walden Soc. / Essex
    Subject: Michael G. Rossmann
    Michael G. Rossmann was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on July 30, 1930, to Alexander Rossmann and Nelly Schwabacher. His mother came from a wealthy family that had lived in Frankfurt for several generations where they were part of a sizable Jewish community. They were reform minded and assimilated and considered themselves Germans. His maternal grandfather, Heinrich Schwabacher, was a merchant and a dealer in rare coins. His father’s family was also wealthy, but he was not Jewish and was from Wiesbaden. His paternal grandfather was a professor and principal of the local Gymnasium. His paternal grandmother was extremely antisemitic and refused to speak with Michael’s mother. His father’s brother, Bruno, was a dedicated Nazi Party member. But Michael regularly had pleasant visits with his father’s family, even after his parents divorced in 1933. He lived with his mother and her parents and was cared for by his maternal grandmother, Anna Cahn Schwabacher, when his mother went to her job at Der Frankfurter Zeitung. She was a graphic artist for the newspaper, which was a well established publication with a reputation for being democratic and intellectually progressive. Around this time, Nelly, a pacifist, became a member of the Society of Quakers.

    On January 30, 1933, Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. By summer, the Nazi dictatorship was established and the civil rights of all Germans were eliminated and anti-Jewish laws were enacted. In 1935, Nelly was fired from the Frankfurter Zeitung due to a government decree that Jews could not work in the publishing industry. To support her family, she opened a crafts studio where she gave lessons to Jewish children. Michael began school in 1935, attending a Jewish school his first year and then transferring to a public school. As a Mischling [mixed race] boy, Michael was horribly mistreated in school. He had a teacher who hit him with rulers and denigrated him in front of the class. He was often chased and teased with antisemitic taunts and received daily beatings.

    In December 1938, not long after the violent anti-Jewish pogrom on Kristallnacht on September 9-10, Michael was sent to a Quaker school in the Netherlands. The Palestine Trusteeship Corporation helped to transfer the tuition money from his mother in Germany. He returned to his mother in the summer of 1939 to learn that her parents had left for England. Nelly had stayed behind because she still had very strong pro-German feelings and di not want to abandon her country. But that July, Michael helped his mother bury the family silverware in a friend’s backyard and they left for England where they joined Nelly’s mother and her aunt, who had emigrated there in 1935. Michael was going to return to the Quaker school in Holland but in September 1939, Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. The first months in England were very difficult. They had to evacuate London because of the Blitz with its frequent, intensive bombing raids by the Germans. Michael had to begin school without knowing any English. However, his mother was able to get him a scholarship to a Quaker boarding school where he would thrive for the next six years. His family remained in England after the war ended in May 1945. That year, Michael and his mother became British citizens.
    Michael received a doctorate in Chemical Crystallography in 1956 and pursued an academic career in the United States and Great Britain before settling in the US and becoming an American citizen. Michael and his wife, Audrey, have three children. His mother died in London in 1957. His father passed away in the 1990s.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Engraving on paper, affixed to thicker paper, depicting a pastoral landscape scene. A shepherd sits in the lower right foreground and watches over a flock of sheep in the center foreground; another flock grazes on a hill in the distance to the right of 2 large evergreen trees. Mature trees and bushes grow on the right and shrubs and vegetation grow across the foreground and along the left edge. Right of center in the middle ground a large manor house sits on open land, with trees growing along the perimeter. At the base of the foothills in the background is a village and church tower. English text is engraved at the bottom.
    overall: Height: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm) | Width: 8.750 inches (22.225 cm)
    pictorial area: Height: 4.750 inches (12.065 cm) | Width: 7.875 inches (20.003 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The engraving was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Michael G. Rossmann, the son of Nelly Rossmann.
    Record last modified:
    2023-09-15 10:16:46
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