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Red monogrammed knit purse made by Fanni Reznicki in a forced labor camp

Object | Accession Number: 2007.151.2

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    Red monogrammed knit purse made by Fanni Reznicki in a forced labor camp

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Purse made by 17-year-old Fanni Wolhgeschaffen when she was a slave laborer in Ober Altstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. She worked in a textile factory and made the bag from fabric remnants. After the German occupation of Poland in September 1939, Fanni and her family were imprisoned in the Jaworzno ghetto. In 1942, Fanni was deported to an all-women’s concentration camp and then to Ober Altstadt. The German authorities evacuated the camp in May 1945, and while on that forced march, the prisoners were liberated by the Soviet Army on May 10. Fanny returned to Poland where she was reunited with her father; they soon relocated to Germany. She learned that her mother and younger sister had been murdered in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942. Fanni was able to get to Palestine in 1945 with the assistance of Betar, a Revisionist Zionist youth organization. Her father arrived there later.
    Date
    use:  1942-1945
    Geography
    creation: Ober Altstadt (Concentration camp); Horni Stare Mesto (Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Fanni Reznicki
    Contributor
    Subject: Fanni Reznicki
    Biography
    Fanni Wolhgeschaffen was born on February 15, 1926, in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, to Chaim and Regina Wolhgeschaffen. Chaim was born near Stryj, Poland, on May 3, 1903, and Regina was born in Rzeszów, Poland, in 1905. The family moved to Chorzów, Poland, when Fanni was five years old. Fanni had a younger sister, Lusia, born in 1932.
    Not long after the Germans occupied Poland in September 1939, Fanni and her family were forced into the Jaworzno ghetto. Fanni was arrested and deported to an all-women’s concentration camp in 1942. She was warned by other inmates to stay healthy so that she would be transferred to a sub camp of Gross-Rosen concentration camp that had better living conditions. Fanni was deported to Ober Altstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia where she served as forced labor in a textile factory. Her block leader at the camp tried to get Fanni’s mother and sister sent to Ober Altstadt, but did not succeed. Fanni received a postcard from her mother stating that she was too afraid to travel to Ober Altstadt. She and Lusia did try to go to Sosnowiec, thinking it would be better. But conditions were terrible there also, so they returned to Jaworzno. Not long afterwards, they were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp, where they perished in 1942. Her father, Chaim, fled to the Soviet Union after escaping a mass killing of Jews in the ghetto by German authorities.
    Fanni was liberated by the Soviet Army during a forced march from Ober Altstadt on May 10, 1945. A non-Jewish Czech worker she knew from the textile factory offered to help Fanni if she had no other place to go. They ran away from the Soviet forces who liberated the camp. She returned to her family’s home in Katowice, but there was a Polish family living there and she was too scared to stay. Fanni went to live with friends in the Jewish community of Sosnowiec, a smaller city within Katowice. She met a man who had escaped from the Stryj ghetto and he told her that he had seen her father recently in the town. She reunited with her father, and they relocated to Germany in 1945. Fanni was able to get to Palestine that year with the assistance of Betar, a Revisionist Zionist youth organization. Her father, who had married his half-sister, Esther, and had a daughter, arrived there later. Fanni married Nachum Reznicki. Nachum was born in 1920 in Bolkovisc, Poland, near the Soviet Union and had been a member of the underground during the war.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Dress Accessories
    Object Type
    Handbags (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Rectangular red knit purse with a cloth lining. It has a flap closure at the bottom with 2 yarn ties. The center flap is monogrammed in blue cross-stitch.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 6.750 inches (17.145 cm) | Width: 11.250 inches (28.575 cm)
    Materials
    overall : cloth, yarn
    Inscription
    front, blue thread : EW

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The purse was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2007 by Fanni Reznicki.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-03 12:16:26
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn519047

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