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Fritz Grünberg papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2015.468.1

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    Fritz Grünberg papers

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    The collection documents the Holocaust-era experiences of Fritz Grünberg, originally of Rheine, Germany, including his involvement with the Jewish Council and the Contact Afdeling (Contact Division) of the Westerbork transit camp. The collection consists of biographical materials, including identification papers, correspondence, and immigration documents; photographs; and material related to Westerbork including prisoner and deportation lists, administrative papers, post-war investigation papers regarding the Contact Afdeling, and a testimonial narrative about the Contact Afdeling and Westerbork.

    Biographical materials include clippings; a small amount of correspondence; pre-war documents of Fritz’s mother Helene Grünberg; identification papers such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and citizen registration documents; immigration papers, and an undated poem in German.

    Westerbork documents consist of documents related to the post-war investigation of the Contact Afdeling; miscellaneous documents including copies of letters Camp Commandant Albert Gemmeker, details of a lawsuit settled in 1944, memorandum, and blank identification cards; documents related Fritz’s involvement with the Contact Afdeling including identification cards, travel permits, and ration cards; and several lists (some appear to be fragments) relating to prisoners at Westerbork, including deportations and individuals on the Stammliste who were protected from deportation, and individuals listed as "S" cases who held foreign passports or met other special criteria and were often exchanged for German POWs; typed testimony about the Contact Afdeling’s activities in Westerbork, signed by Fritz, Hans Eckmann, Hans Heinz Hanauer, and Walther Heijnemann.

    Photographs consist of undated photographs of Fritz, likely taken in the 1940s.
    inclusive:  1922-1979
    bulk:  1940-1945
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Daniel James Gruen, Leana Ruth Gruen, and Cheryl Lee
    Collection Creator
    Fritz Grünberg
    Fritz Grünberg (later Fred Gruen, b. 1911) was born on 15 December 1911 in Rheine, Germany to Adolf Wolf (1878-1941) and Helene (née Eichenwald, 1882-1939) Grünberg. He had one brother, Leo (1908-1987), and two sisters, Hedwig (b. 1909) and Bertha (b. 1916). All of his siblings immigrated to the United States prior to World War II. Fritz was a businessman and moved to Amsterdam around 1937. In 1939 he lost his German citizenship. He married to Ingeborg Köbner in 1941 and they divorced in 1947.

    After the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, Fritz joined the Jewish Council (Joodse Raad), and in July 1942 was sent to work at the Westerbork transit camp where he registered the property of new prisoners. He was subsequently the leader in what was known as the Contact Afdeling (Contact Division). Despite working in the camp, the Contact Afdeling also claimed to have worked to keep people from deportation, sabotage trains, smuggle mail and photographs out of the camp, and falsify christening documents. After the liberation of the camp in April 1945, the Contact Afdeling was investigated and Fritz was treated as an outcast. He immigrated to the United States in November 1946 where he settled in San Francisco.

    Physical Details

    Dutch German English
    1 box
    1 oversize folder
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as three series. Series 1. Biographical material, 1922-1979; Series 2. Westerbork documents, 1940-1947; Series 3. Photographs, circa 1940s

    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

    Personal Name
    Grünberg, Fritz, 1911-

    Administrative Notes

    Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2015 by Daniel James Gruen, Leana Ruth Gruen, and Cheryl Lee.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-16 10:30:13
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