Edith Horn family papers
Correspondence regarding the attempt by the Horn family, originally of Vorst, Germany, to obtain restitution from the German government, primarily for property seized from them during the Holocaust. Correspondence is between representatives of the West German government, and attorneys representing the families of Karl and Irene Horn (and their son Werner), as well as Max and Hilde Horn (and their daughter, Edith), in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Germany, between 1949 and 1981. Also included is family correspondence from a the brother of Irene Horn, Walter Eckstein, in Kibbutz Givat Hayim Ichud, Israel, 1955-1968. The collection also contains transcripts of oral history interviews conducted with Edith Horn, and her husband, Werner Horn, in 2000.
The Biographical series of this collection contains immigration documents used by Edith Horn’s parents, Max and Hilde Horn, as they emigrated from Germany in 1938, as well as transcripts of oral history interviews conducted with Edith and her husband Werner, as part of an oral history project in Seattle in 2000.
The Correspondence series consists of a postcard that Max Horn sent to his family during his imprisonment at Dachau in 1938, a copy of a letter from Joseph Horn describing his experiences in Germany prior to emigration, as well as post-war correspondence from the family of Walter Eckstein, who was originally of Duelken, Germany, and who was related to Werner Horn’s mother, Irene. The collection also includes a letter from a friend or distant relative in Argentina, following a visit of Karl and Irene Horn in 1968.
The bulk of the collection consists of the Restitution series, which documents the efforts of Karl Horn (initially), his wife, Irene, and subsequently, Max and Henriette (Hilde) Horn, to obtain restitution for losses and damages incurred by the persecution of Jews in Germany during the Holocaust, and their forced emigration. Initially Karl, acting on behalf of his surviving brothers, Max and Joseph, as well as Lore, the daughter of his deceased brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Ella, filed claims in his hometown of Vorst, seeking compensation for lands and properties that were either seized from the family, or which they were forced to sell under duress. Some of the defendants in these actions claimed that the Horn family sold the properties to them under normal terms, and the papers in this collection show how Karl Horn, acting through attorneys and others in Germany who represented him, sought to refute those assertions and to pursue either compensation for lost lands, or the sale of those properties in the post war era. Most of these documents date from approximately 1949 to 1955.
Interfiled with documents from the cases that Karl Horn was pursuing are papers relating to similar, but separate, claims filed by Irene Horn, in regard to property lost by her family, the Ecksteins, in the nearby village of Duelken. Most of this correspondence and paperwork was created at the same time as Karl’s claims, and some of the paperwork and case work was handled by the same attorneys, and copies of the paperwork from these cases were sometimes sent to the Horns in Seattle at the same time. For this reason, these materials were kept together and filed in chronological order.
Additional restitution files relate to the efforts of Max Horn to claim compensation in the late 1950s for physical trauma he had suffered as a result of his imprisonment at Dachau in 1938, as well as a claim for payment from the Winterthur life insurance company. A related file of correspondence, dating from 1957, contains contracts and correspondence related to the sale of property owned by the Leiser family, the birth family of Hilde Horn, near Euskirchen. No documents are extant that show whether or not the Leiser family also filed restitution claims in order to recover this land prior to its sale.
Remaining restitution files consist of correspondence and related documents about pension claims filed by Irene Horn (1968) and Max and Hilde Horn (1981) with the West German pension agency, the Bundesversicherungsanstalt für Angestelle, relating to pension payments.
Also included is a Miscellaneous series containing a playbill from an Argentinean theatre, from 1924, announcing the showing of a film (“La Puerta Cerrada”), and a booklet and copied pages from commemorative publications about the Jewish communities in Viersen (including the nearby village of Duerken) and Sinzenich.
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Edith Horn
Record last modified: 2023-02-24 14:25:43
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