William Begell papers
The papers consist of documents and photographs relating to the experiences of the William Begell (born Wilhelm Beigel) and his family before and during the Holocaust.
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of William Begell
Record last modified: 2021-05-25 15:07:09
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn521705
Also in William Begell collection
The collection consists of a wallet, documents, and photographs relating to the experiences of Wilhelm, Ferdinand, and Liza Beigel in prewar Vilna, in the Vilna ghetto during the Holocaust, and Wilhelm in the Dillingen an der Donau displaced persons camp in Germany after the Holocaust.
Red leather wallet used by Ferdinand Beigel, a Jewish Polish Army officer in Vilna, Poland (Vilnius, Lithuania). After Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland in September 1939, Ferdinand remained in Vilna to conduct regimental business. Vilna was soon under Soviet control and the family’s possessions were confiscated. On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded Vilna and by September, Ferdinand, wife Liza, and son Wilhelm were forcibly relocated to the Jewish ghetto. Ferdinand joined the ghetto police and was in charge of the ghetto prison. On September 4, 1943, the Germans ordered the ghetto liquidated. It was surrounded by Latvian SS and, while watching from a window, Ferdinand was shot and killed. Wilhelm and Liza were deported to a labor camp from which Wilhelm escaped in June 1944. After Vilna was liberated in July, Wilhelm returned and learned that his mother and grandmother had been killed by the Germans in the mass executions in the Ponary forest. In March 1945, Wilhelm retrieved family photos hidden in their former home and left Vilna. He traveled to Dillingen an der Donau displaced persons camp in Germany, where he lived until emigrating to the US in 1947.