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Klara Süss papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2007.344.1

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    Klara Süss papers

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    The collection includes a journal and accounting book kept by Klara Süss. Klara began her journal in 1941 while aboard the SS Navemar, waiting to immigrate to the United States. In the journal she recounts her experiences being forced from her home and sent to Camp de Gurs, living in Marseilles, and the process of obtaining visas. The collection also includes a translation of the journal, a German passport issued to Klara, American citizenship papers issued to Klara and her husband David Süss, and the leather wallet the certificates were housed in.
    inclusive:  1940-1947
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Judy Brown
    Collection Creator
    Klara Süss
    Klara Süss (née Mars, later Clara Suess, 1882-1968) was born on May 6, 1882 in Schweinfurt am Main. She married David Süss (1878-1953, later David Suess) and they lived at 16 Nietzche Strasse, Mannheim, Germany. David was born in Lampertheim, Germany to Samuel and Lisette Süss. David and his two brothers owned a cigar factory in Lampertheim and at one time employed 1000 people. Klara and David had two daughters, Margot (b. March 9, 1907) and Erna (b. December 19, 1913).

    Margot Süss had several heath issues and was often hospitalized and subjected to many treatments. She married Willham Saalheimer in Germany and was told that they had one year to have children. Because she did not get pregnant in that time, she was forcibly sterilized. The couple was told to leave the country, and in 1937 they immigrated to the United States and also settled in New York.

    Erna was attending medical school in Heidelberg, when she was kicked out of the school in 1933 because of her Jewish religion. Another student, Herman Ettlinger, was also kicked out of the medical school and immediately immigrated to the United States. Erna also applied for an American visa, but her application was denied because her sponsor had filled out the form incorrectly. Erna moved to Berlin and found work as a nurse. She reapplied for an American visa and in 1934 followed Herman to New York. The couple was married a year later and they had two children, Lester (b. December 1938) and Judy (b. January 1941).

    On October 22, 1940, Klara and David were thrown out of their apartment and deported to Camp de Gurs in France. Erna and Margot sent food packages to their parents and continued to work on their release. In March 1941, David was released from the camp and sent to the Hotel Terminus in Marseilles and then to Camp Les Milles. A month later Klara and a group of two dozen other women were released from the camp as well and also sent Marseilles. On May 16, 1941 the couple received notice that their visas to the United States were granted and, with the assistance of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, passage was booked on the SS Navemar which was to depart from Cadiz, Spain on July 10. The couple was able to secure their permit to leave France and Spanish entry visas for the trip. They traveled to Cadiz by train, and upon arrival they learned the ship would not depart for three more weeks and were told to go to Seville to wait for the ship’s departure. On August 6 they returned to Cadiz and finally boarded the Navemar. They sailed for a month to New York, via Lisbon, Bermuda, Havana, and landed in New York on September 12, 1941.

    When Klara and David first arrived in the United States, they stayed with their daughter Erna for several weeks, before moving to Reading, Pennsylvania with the assistance of the Council of Jewish Women. David worked as a stock clerk in a factory and Klara managed a house that was used by several welfare agencies. David Süss passed away in 1953. Klara stayed on in Reading until 1962, and then moved to Long Island, NY. She passed away in 1968.

    Physical Details

    German English
    Diaries. Passport.
    3 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Klara Süss papers are arranged as a single series:
    Folder 1: Biographical material (1 of 2), 1940-1947
    Folder 2: Biographical material (2 of 2), 1940-1947
    Folder 3: Diary and accounting book, 1940-1941

    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

    Corporate Name
    Gurs (Concentration camp)

    Administrative Notes

    The collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2007 by Judy Brown for Erna Suss Ettlinger.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:25:24
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