William Begell papers
The William Begell papers consist of a military ID certificate, death announcements, and forty-nine photographs relating to the experiences of William Begell (born Wilhelm Beigel) and his family, namely his father Ferdinand Beigel, before and during the Holocaust. There are eighteen photographs in the collection that depict the donor and his family’s pre-war experiences, including photos of William’s parents and some uncles and aunts, eleven photographs taken in the Vilna ghetto, eleven post-war photographs of the donor in Gailingen, six photos of the Marine Marlin and some of its passengers, one photograph of Ferdinand’s grave, and two photos of Karl Plagge – the head of the Heereskraftfahrpark/Ost/562 (HKP) labor camp. Additional materials include two death announcements in Yiddish that announce Ferdinand’s death and details regarding the funeral after he was shot and killed in an architectural design office in the ghetto. A single calendar sheet that reads September 4 marks the day that Ferdinand was shot in 1943.
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of William Begell
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 18:11:48
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn521705
Also in This Collection
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.