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Elizabeth Margosches family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2002.436.1

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    Elizabeth Margosches family papers

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    The Elizabeth Margosches family papers consist of biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, books and other printed materials, design artwork, immigration files, restitution files, and subject files documenting the lives of the Margosches and Reik families in Czechoslovakia, France, England, the United States, and Brazil before, during, and after World War II. The papers are particularly strong in documenting Karl and Irene Margosches’ efforts to leave Czechoslovakia and eventually immigrate to the United States. The papers also contain a unique diary that Helene Reik composed in Theresienstadt on the backs and in the margins of correspondence and photographs she had brought to the camp or received in the camp.
    Biographical materials primarily consist of identification papers, forms, certificates, correspondence, and clippings documenting the lives of Irene and Karl Margosches in Czechoslovakia, France, England, and the United States. This series also includes a handful of folders documenting the lives of Karl’s father B. M. (Max) Margosches, his sister Betty Margosches, his first fiancée Herta Langerova, Irene Margosches’ sister Margarete Reik, and Karl and Irene’s daughter Elizabeth.
    Books consist of five German volumes on music, science, theater, and history owned by Karl Margosches.
    Correspondence primarily consists of letters and postcards between Irene and Karl Margosches and their family members and friends. The collection also includes correspondence between Helene Reik and her children and Kurt Reik and his family. Topics include plans to emigrate, descriptions of daily life in wartime and postwar Czechoslovakia, England, Brazil, and Canada, and the Margosches family’s postwar life in Princeton. Additional correspondence between Helene Reik and her children can be found among Helene Reik’s Theresienstadt materials.
    Design artwork by Irene Margosches consists of student assignments from the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna in the 1930s and professional work created in Czechoslovakia and England in the 1930s and 1940s. The artwork includes pencil, ink, and water color sketches, studies, and designs for clothing, costumes, and furniture. Small fabric samples are attached to some of the designs.
    Helene Reik’s Theresienstadt materials consist primarily of family correspondence and family photographs Reik brought with her to Theresienstadt or received while there. She used the margins and versos of many of these records to keep diary entries documenting her time at Theresienstadt in the hospital and nursing home, the illnesses she suffered, the operations she underwent, her memories of her family life before the camp, and her hopes and fears for herself and her children.
    Immigration files consist of affidavits, applications, correspondence, forms, invoices, and receipts documenting the Margosches’ movements from Czechoslovakia to France, England, and the United States.
    Photographic materials include a Margosches family album, two travel albums documenting vacations in Germany and Italy, a photo album documenting some of Irene Margosches’ interior designs from 1930s Czechoslovakia, and loose photographs of Karl and Betty Margosches, the Max B. Margosches family in Canada, and Helene, Charlotte, and Margarida Reik. Additional Reik family photographs can be found among the Helene Reik’s Theresienstadt materials.
    Printed materials consist of chemistry articles, some by B. M. (Max) Margosches and Karl Margosches; clippings on immigration and refugee issues, finding work, and Irene Margosches’ clothing designs; British government publications on wartime provisions, labor, and education; brochures from English hotels; and programs from cultural events in England.
    Restitution files consist of correspondence, applications, bank records, and forms documenting the Margosches and Reik families’ efforts to receive restitution for property, furnishings, jewelry, securities, insurance policies, and pensions confiscated, lost, interrupted, or damaged during the war.
    Subject files consist of bibliographies and patent research regarding chemical processes, research into the Holocaust fates of Karl Margosches’ mother and sister, unsuccessful patent applications by Karl Margosches, a group of recipes, a handful of prescriptions and pharmacy envelopes, addresses, and an estimate for the conservation of damaged portraits.
    creation:  1888-2010
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Elizabeth Margosches
    Collection Creator
    Elizabeth Margosches family
    Irene Reik (1912-1992) was a designer and architect born in Troppau (Opava, Czech Republic) to Berthold and Helene Reik. She emigrated from Czechoslovakia to England in 1939, worked in fashion and design, and married Karl Gerhard Margosches (1911-1993) in 1942. Karl was born in Brünn (Brno, Czech Republic) to B. M. (Max) and Elizabeth Margosches. He emigrated from Czechoslovakia to France in 1938 and then to England in 1942, and worked in chemical engineering. The couple had their only child, Elizabeth, in 1947, and the family immigrated to the United States in 1948, settling in Princeton.
    Berthold Reik died before the war, and Helene Reik was deported to Theresienstadt in January 1942 where she perished in 1943. Irene Reik had two brothers, Kurt and Hans, and a sister, Margarete. Kurt Reik married Charlotte (Mucky) Reif, emigrated to Brazil in 1938, had daughter Margarida in 1939, and died in 1942. Margarete Reik emigrated to England with Irene, married Ludwig Weil, and had son Frederick Kurt. Hans Reik emigrated in 1939, married Ruth Berlowitz, and had children Michael and Miriam.
    Max Margosches died before the war, and his wife, Elizabeth, was deported to Theresienstadt in January 1942 along with their daughter Betty (Gerda), and both are presumed to have perished in death camps. Karl Margosches’ previous fiancée, Herta Langerova, was deported from Olmutz (Olomouc) to Theresienstadt in 1942 and then to Maly Trostinec where she perished.

    Physical Details

    11 boxes
    3 oversize folders
    1 book enclosure
    4 oversize boxes
    System of Arrangement
    The Elizabeth Margosches family papers are arranged as ten series: I. Biographical materials, 1918-1975, II. Books, 1888-approximately 1930s, III. Correspondence, 1936-1952, IV. Design artwork by Irene Margosches, 1930s-1940s, V. Helene Reik's Theresienstadt materials, approximately 1930-1943, VI. Immigration, 1938-1981, VII. Photographic materials, 1928-1942, VIII. Printed materials, 1900-1979, IX. Restitution, 1939-1980, X. Subject files, approximately 1920s-2010 (bulk 1930s-1940s)

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    This material can only be accessed in a Museum reading room or other on-campus viewing station. There are no additional access restrictions to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No persons shall publish or reference signator [Elizabeth Margosches] without third-party contact of signator or until signator is deceased.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Elizabeth Margosches donated the Elizabeth Margosches family papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2002, 2012, and 2013.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    The accessibility of this collection was made possible by the generous donors to our crowdfunded Save Their Stories campaign.
    Special Collection
    Save Their Stories
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-11 13:19:09
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