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Frieda and Johanna Gross collection

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2007.215

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    Consists of photographs, official documents, and papers related to the Holocaust experiences of Frieda and Johanna Gross, who were passengers on the MS St. Louis. Also includes photographs and papers related to the sisters, who went into hiding in Belgium after their return to Europe and before their immigration to the United States. Includes pre-war, wartime, and post-war photographs of the family and their ancestors, prewar postcards, and naturalization papers.
    inclusive:  1920-2000
    Collection Creator
    Frieda Gross
    Frieda (b. 1895) and Johanna (b. 1894) Gross were born in Liegnica, Poland to Moritz and Rosa Gross (nee Levine). After WWI the family moved to Germany. Moritz and Rosa died in the 1920's, leaving their two daughters and a son, Leo (b. 1896). Leo worked in Berlin as an interior decorator, and Frieda as an office manager for the German government. Johanna kept house for her sister and brother. When the Nazis came to power, Frieda was forced to leave her government job. Leo was arrested. Leo had once told Frieda and Johanna that he had some kind of papers, and if anything should happen to him, they were to take those papers to a certain lawyer. The sisters contacted the attorney, who managed to get Leo released several months later. He left Germany immediately and went to France where he was among those rescued by Varian Fry. Frieda and Johanna booked passage on the St. Louis. They had applied for U.S. visas in Berlin and had a waiting number. After the ship was forced to return to Europe, the sisters disembarked in Belgium. In Antwerp, they immediately went to the American Consulate, where they were told that they could not get to the U.S. since they came under the Polish quota. Frieda and Johanna went door-to-door, looking for a place to live. They found a woman who let them live in her attic; the house turned out to be a brothel. To support themselves, Frieda crocheted gloves which she then sold on the black market. When the Germans came, the sisters were told they had to leave. They found another place to live in Antwerp where they stayed throughout the war. After the war, Edith and Frieda came to the U.S, where they were reunited with their brother Leo.

    Physical Details

    Yiddish. English
    2 folders

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Legnica (Poland)
    Corporate Name
    St. Louis (Ship)

    Administrative Notes

    Edith and Leslie Freedman donated this collection to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Aug. 6, 2007.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:18:36
    This page:

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