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Wooden boot tree in 4 sections with inscriptions owned by a German Jewish businessman in Shanghai

Object | Accession Number: 2006.19.57.2 a-d

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    Wooden boot tree in 4 sections with inscriptions owned by a German Jewish businessman in Shanghai
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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Wooden boot tree that belonged to Fritz Kauffmann, a German Jewish businessman, who lived in Shanghai, China, from 1931-1949. He was active in Jewish community aid efforts before and during World War II. In 1940, because of Nazi politics and the outbreak of war, he resigned from the German firm for which he worked and opened his own import/export business. He was deprived of his German citizenship in 1941 for being Jewish and living abroad. However, as a longtime resident and successful businessman in Shanghai, he was able to surmount wartime difficulties and assist the more recent Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai to escape persecution and the war in Europe.
    Date
    use:  approximately 1940
    Geography
    use: Shanghai (China)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Estate of Adelaide Kauffmann
    Contributor
    Subject: Fritz Kauffmann
    Biography
    Fritz Kauffman was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1904. His parents were jewelers. He moved to Australia in 1927 to work as an independent sales representative for German manufacturers, selling aircraft, aircraft supplies, electrical appliances, surgical instruments, insulating materials and machinery. In 1931, he moved to Shanghai to work as a sales representative for Australian firms selling wheat, flour, beef tallow, hides, fresh fruit and wool products. Fritz then joined the German import-export firm Reuter, Broeckelmann & Co. managing the industrial raw materials, chemicals, and produce department. In 1940, due to German and Nazi politics, he left Reuter, Broeckelmann & Co. to start his own company, Merchants and Traders.

    Fritz married a non-Jewish British citizen, Adelaide Florence Kerslake, on January 23, 1941, in Shanghai. He was deprived of his German citizenship in the summer of 1941 because he was a German Jew living abroad. Fritz had lived in Shanghai for quite a few years before the refugees started arriving from Europe. Thus he was in a position to help organize a committee established to aid the refugees after their arrival. In July 1942, Fritz and other members of a joint committee of Jews learned that the Japanese, under the influence of the German Gestapo, planned to liquidate the Jews living in Shanghai. Fritz and his fellow committee members were arrested soon after they questioned this policy and tried to meet with highly placed military officials about the rumor. Fritz was held in custody for about a month. In early 1943, the Japanese declared that all Jewish refugees arriving after December 31, 1936 had to relocate to the newly established ghettos. Fritz was not subject to this proclamation, as he arrived in 1931, and he was able to continue to live in his home and run his business. Both of Fritz's parents were killed during the Holocaust.
    Throughout his time in Shanghai, Fritz participated in the sport of polo and was active in the Shanghai Polo and Hunt Clubs. He was retroactively granted membership in 1949. In February of that year, Fritz and Adelaide moved to the British West Indies, where he continued to run his business. They had wished to go to the United Kingdom, but were denied entry on the basis that Adelaide was now German. In 1950, they received United States immigration visas and went to New York. Fritz and Adelaide were granted United States citizenship in 1957. Fritz died in 1993, age 89 years. Adelaide passed away on April 20, 1999, age 90 years.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Dress Accessories
    Category
    Footwear
    Object Type
    Boot trees (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Wooden boot tree with 4 separate sections: 3 for the leg portion; 1 for the foot.
    a. The center section is a flat wooden board with a paddle shaped handle at the top, shaped like the calf of the boot. The bottom tapers to a flat edge. There is a lengthwise groove on the front side to connect to the front section. A raised tongue runs the length of the back side to connect it to the back.
    b. The front section has a front part rounded to fit the shape of the boot. The back is flat with a lengthwise raised tongue that connects it to the center section. The bottom has 2 tines that fit into the foot. There is an inscription on the front top side.
    c. The back section has a flat front with a lengthwise groove to connect it to the center section. The back is rounded to fit the shape of the boot; the bottom is rounded to fit the heel. There is an inscription on the back top side.
    d. The foot section is shaped like the front of the foot, with the back cut away to leave a deep tongue. The back tongue connects to the front section of the boot tree. The foot is cut off at the top below ankle height. There is an inscription on the left side of the foot.
    Dimensions
    a: Height: 20.000 inches (50.8 cm) | Width: 3.625 inches (9.208 cm) | Depth: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm)
    b: Height: 15.625 inches (39.688 cm) | Width: 3.625 inches (9.208 cm) | Depth: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm)
    c: Height: 15.500 inches (39.37 cm) | Width: 3.625 inches (9.208 cm) | Depth: 1.125 inches (2.858 cm)
    d: Height: 3.750 inches (9.525 cm) | Width: 7.500 inches (19.05 cm) | Depth: 2.750 inches (6.985 cm)
    Materials
    a : wood
    b : wood, metal, ink
    c : wood, ink
    d : wood, ink
    Inscription
    b. front, handwritten, blue ink : F.Kauffmann
    c. back, handwriitten, blue ink : F.Kauffmann
    c. left side, handwritten in blue ink within a drawn rectangle : F.K.

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The boot tree was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2006 by Ronnie Leibowitz, executor, on behalf of the Estate of Adelaide Kauffmann.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:29:03
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn518177

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