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Lucie Eisenstab papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2004.649.1

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    The papers consist of four certificates from "Bibleschule," one photograph of Lucie Eisenstab (later Lucie Eisenstab Porges) with her parents Eisig and Jetta Eisenstab and sister Elfie in 1938 in Vienna, Austria; one photograph of Lucie with her father in Geneva, Switzerland after World War II; and one identification travel pass ("récépissé") issued to Lucie Eisenstab in 1942.
    inclusive:  1932-1942
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Lucie Porges
    Collection Creator
    Lucie E. Porges
    Lucie Eisenstab was born on November 23, 1926, in Vienna, Austria. Her father, Eisig, was born on May 15, 1886, in Drohobych, Galicia, (Ukraine). Her mother, Jetty Rosner, was born on March 14, 1898, in Vatra Dornei, Romania, the daughter of a wood merchant with five brothers. The family, including Eisig and Jetty’s parents, moved to Vienna during World War I (1914-1918). Eisig was an itinerant textile merchant and window dresser. Lucie had a sister, Elfie, born on October 13, 1930. The Eisenstab’s were assimilated Jews, but Lucie’s paternal grandparents were Orthodox. The family visited them every Sunday and during the visits, a bored Lucie began to draw fashion pictures for fun. Lucie attended a public school where she was one of only a few Jews.
    German troops marched into Austria on March 12, 1938, and the next day, Austria was merged with the German Reich. Anti-Jewish legislation was enacted and life changed dramatically for Lucie. The Germans confiscated the family’s possessions and they had to move in with Lucie’s maternal grandmother. Lucie was forced to leave her public school and had to attend a private Jewish school. She joined a Zionist youth organization. After Eisig’s business was boycotted, he decided the family would leave Austria. He tried to procure visas for various countries, but was unsuccessful.
    During the Kristallnacht pogrom on November 10, 1938, Eisig was arrested. Lucie, Jetty, and her grandmother had to move into an apartment which they shared with another family. Jetty got Eisig a lawyer and six weeks later he was released on the condition that the family leave Austria within two weeks or he would be sent to Poland. Jetty’s mother left to join her two sons in Palestine in late 1938. In January 1939, the Eisenstab family left for Cologne, with no passports or visas and only hand luggage. Eisig’s parents, too old to travel, stayed behind. The family was not disturbed by German soldiers on the train as they did not look Jewish. They took a room in a hotel and Lucie’s parents frequented a coffee house where they found someone to help them cross the border to Belgium. They left one night with fifteen others and arrived in Brussels eight days later where they stayed with an aunt. A Jewish committee provided the family with money and they moved into a one room apartment. Lucie and Elfie attended school and learned French. Her parents worked nights sewing slippers.
    Germany invaded Western Europe on May 10, 1940. Lucie and her family left by train for Paris, where they were to live with Jetty’s brother. The train was bombed and, after four days, the family arrived in Touilley, France. They were taken to an old factory where they stayed for a month. The girls’ started school but did not understand the dialect and stopped attending. The family lived on what they could buy from the local peasants. Eisig, and all male foreigners in the city, were arrested and sent to St. Cyprien internment camp. Thirteen year old Lucie went to visit him and, possibly because she was a child, the commandant released Eisig.
    In 1941, the family was sent to a refugee camp in Brens. There were no barbed wire fences and inhabitants could leave the camp during the day. Jetty crocheted items for barterer in the village for food which she then smuggled into the camp to supplement their meals of cow feed and potatoes. Because of a rumor that winter that the camp was to close and the inhabitants moved elsewhere, they escaped to Lyon. They lived in a cheap apartment in a dangerous part of town. Lucie found a job painting silk scarves in a rat infested factory and she had to keep stamping her feet to keep the rats away.
    In September 1942, the family paid a man to help them cross the border to Switzerland. Jetty’s brother, Herman Rosner, and his wife, Rozhi, also came. At a particular location, the smuggler told them to run. An old Swiss couple, watching from a nearby house, yelled for them to stop, that the Germans were nearby. Lucie and her family stopped and the couple took them in, fed them, and let them stay the night. The next day, the family was told to leave at noon for the village, and at a specific spot, to start running. At that place, they started to run but were caught by the Swiss border police. As Lucie and Elfie were under sixteen, the family was permitted to stay. They were sent to Geneva and housed in the sports stadium. The Jewish community arranged for meals and synagogue visits. The food was good and Lucie went to the movies, shopped, and walked along the streets. Her paternal uncle, who left for Switzerland prior to the war, came to visit. After a few days, the family was transferred to Eriswili refugee camp, where Lucie learned to ski. There was no formal schooling, but Lucie and Elfie were instructed by refugees who had teaching backgrounds.
    After a few months, Eisig was sent to a work camp and the girls and Jetty to a camp near Zurich. The family was reunited in Luzerne and moved into the Hotel Tivoli, which had been requisitioned for refugees. Lucie decided to become an artist or fashion designer. She was sent to a family in Bern who promised to send her to art school. Instead, they used her as a servant, so Lucie returned to Luzerne. Elfie went to live with a gentile family and attended school. After the war ended in May 1945, Lucie learned that her grandfather was deported to Buchenwald concentration camp in 1939, and her grandmother to Theresienstadt in 1942. Both were murdered.
    Lucie got a scholarship to attend the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Geneva where she lived with a Jewish family. In a modeling class, she met Paul Porges, who had been rescued by a Kindertransport from Vienna to France. His parents emigrated to New York in 1946 and Paul had to join them in 1947. In 1948, Lucie went to Paris and worked in the haute couture fashion industry. She also did illustrations for the magazine, L’Art et la Mode. She and Paul had planned to marry once Paul retuned to Europe. But in 1950, Paul was drafted into the US Army because of the Korean War. Lucie’s sister Elfie left for Israel in April 1951. Lucie sailed for the US on the SS De Grasse and arrived on June 25, 1951. She and Paul married that summer. The couple had two daughters. Lucie began to work as an illustrator for the fashion designer Pauline Trigere. Lucia became the fashion house’s artist in resident and associate fashion designer. After Trigere closed her business in 1984, Lucie taught at Parsons School of Design. PPP became a cartoonist whose work was featured in the New Yorker, Saturday Evening Post, and Mad Magazine. Eisig and Jetty arrived on the SS Queen Elizabeth in April 1955. Eisig died at age 66, in 1962, in Switzerland. Jetty died at age 91, in 1990, in New York. Lucie died at age 85, on June 17, 2011, in New York.

    Physical Details

    French German
    1 folder
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as a single series.

    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

    Administrative Notes

    The papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Lucie Eisenstab Porges.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-02 10:44:31
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