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Erika Rybeck papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2007.291.1

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    The Erika Rybeck papers include documents and correspondence from the 19th and 20th century documenting the Schulhof family and their ancestors in Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The papers were kept by surviving family member in Austria during the Holocaust and later entrusted to Erika. The papers also include correspondence Erika's parents, Gertrude and Friedrich Schulhof, sent to her in the United Kingdom from Vienna between 1939 and 1941.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Erika Rybeck
    Collection Creator
    Erika Rybeck
    Erika Schulhof was born in Hohenau, Austria in 1928 to Dr. Friedrich Schulhof (b. Krakow, 1882-1942?) and Gertrude Schulhof (nee Weil, b. Brno, Czechoslovakia, 1895-1942?). Gertrude’s family was very well-to do. Her father, Karl, was an engineer and the second highest ranking official in Brno. Gertrude was not raised Jewish and attended an Evangelical school with her two sisters, Ellie, born 1894, and Mia, born 1897. Friedrich and Gertrude married on March 24, 1928, in Prague. Her father worked as an engineer at a sugar factory in Hohenau. Erika was raised in an assimilated family; they did not observe Jewish rituals or associate with the Jewish community. The family converted to Catholicism, partly to make it easier for Erika in the small village.
    In March 1938, German troops annexed Austria. Anti-Jewish legislation was introduced and Jews found themselves excluded from many areas of daily life and certain professions. Even though Erika’s parents did not consider themselves Jews, they were classified as Jews by the racial laws. In August, Erika’s father was fired from his job because he was Jewish. The family moved to Vienna and lived with Friedrich‘s mother, Gabrielle Popper Schulhof. As a Jew, Erika was not permitted to attend public school. She went to the Ursuline Convent school, but she had to hide her books and pretend that she was delivering fruits or vegetables to the nuns. Gertrude’s brother-in-law, Fritz Treuer, who lived in the US, sent affidavits of support and money for American visas, but the family was not able to obtain visas.
    In April 1939, after her family secured her acceptance into a boarding school, ten year old Erika was sent by Kindertransport to Great Britain, where she lived at the Sacred Heart Convent in Aberdeen, Scotland. The convent was not aware of her Jewish heritage. Her father was able to find a position in a sugar factory in Turkey, but he and his wife were not able to get work permits to leave Austria. Erika continued to attend the convent school through middle and high school. Erika received many letters and presents from her parents through the fall of 1941. On September 23, 1941, she received her confirmation as a Catholic.

    Erika attended the University of Edinburgh for two years, but finished her education at the University of Dayton in the US. Her parents were presumed dead. In 1949, she received an immigration visa for the United States, after her maternal aunt submitted an affidavit of support. Erika’s aunt Mia had escaped Germany for the US in 1938 with her husband and son. Nearly all of Erika’s other relatives were murdered in the Holocaust. It was not until after the war that she learned of her Jewish heritage from relatives. Erika married Walter Rybeck in Dayton, Ohio, in 1954 and they had two children. In 1994, she discovered the details of her parents’ fate. Friedrich and Gertrude were deported on October 23, 1941, with her paternal grandmother from Vienna to the Łódź ghetto in Poland. It is believed that in 1942 they were transported to and murdered in the Chelmno killing center.

    Physical Details

    1 box

    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

    Geographic Name
    Vienna (Austria)

    Administrative Notes

    The collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2007 by Erika Rybeck.
    Record last modified:
    2023-04-04 13:27:08
    This page:

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