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canceled British postage stamp acquired by a German Jewish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 1990.114.73

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    canceled British postage stamp acquired by a German Jewish refugee

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    Brief Narrative
    canceled British 2.5 shilling postage stamp acquired by Peter Victor when he lived as a refugee in Shanghai, China, from 1938-1947. Peter, 18, left Berlin for Shanghai in 1938 to escape the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazi-led government. His parents, Carl and Elsa, arrived in Shanghai in 1939. Carl died in 1940 and Elsa in 1942. Shanghai was liberated by the United States Army on September 3, 1945. With the aid of the American Joint Distribution Committee, Peter emigrated to America in December 1947.
    received:  approximately 1941 August 27
    issue:  1937-1941
    issue: Great Britain
    received: Hongkou Qu (Shanghai, China)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Peter M. Victor, in memory of Carl and Elsa Victor and Berta Neidermann Victor
    stamp, front, vertical, white ink : POSTAGE / REVENUE
    stamp, bottom, encircled, white : 2 / 1D/2
    Subject: Peter M. Victor
    Issuer: Royal Mail
    Original owner: Berta Victor
    Peter Max Victor was born in Munich, Germany, on April 19, 1920, the only child of Carl Nathan and Elsa Alexander Victor. Carl was born in Gusten on May 1, 1879, to Louis (1832-1901) and Henrietta Pels Victor (1850-1940). Carl had a sister, Rebecca (1881-1970) who married a gentile, Gustav Adler (1882-1958), and had two sons. Elsa was born on December 25, 1888. Carl served in the Germany Army during World War I (1914-1918.) Carl was a poet and chemist and owner of a food dye and preservatives factory. Elsa worked with the business. In 1924, the family moved to Berlin. The family was well off and Jewish, but not especially observant. After the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany in 1933, anti-Jewish legislation and restrictions became increasingly harsh. Carl’s business was not restricted and it converted to produce war rations for the Army. After the Kristallnacht destruction of November 9-10, 1938, the family decided to leave Germany. They bought tickets for Shanghai, China, because it was an open port with no visa requirements.

    Peter left Germany on May 15, 1939, and arrived in Shanghai on June 14. Carl sold the family’s furniture and his factory. Jews could take almost no money out of Germany. Carl entrusted the sale proceeds to a friend who said he would transfer it to a bank in Shanghai, but never did. Carl and Elsa arrived in Shanghai in June 1939 on the Conte Rosso. They lived together in a small room, but life was difficult because they were penniless. Peter worked odd jobs in a hospital and community kitchen. Both of his parents contracted tropical diseases. Carl died, 61, of amoebic dysentery on November 29, 1940. Elsa developed diabetes because of the lack of adequate food and, at age, 54, passed away on May 9, 1942. Peter had to move to Hongkew ghetto in 1943 and got a job as a lifeguard at Hongkew Park, a country club for the elite of the Japanese occupation authorities.

    The war in Europe ended with Germany's surrender on May 7, 1945. Shanghai was liberated by the United States Army on September 3, 1945. Peter worked as a dispatcher and driver for the US Army Air Force motor pool. In December 1947, the American Joint Distribution Committee assisted Peter in emigrating to America on the USNS Marine Adder. His paternal aunt, Rebecca Adler, survived the war in Berlin; her husband, who was not Jewish, had been able to save her, but both their sons were killed by the Nazis. For two years, he lived in San Francisco. Peter married Berta Neidermann Spiner on April 25, 1951, in Chicago. Berta, born January 20, 1917, had arrived in the US in 1938, a refugee from Nazi ruled Vienna. Her parents, Joseph and Anna Scheier Neidermann, were murdered in Auschwitz. Peter and Berta settled in Washington DC. Peter owned a gift business. After his retirement, he volunteered at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Berta, 71, passed away on May 28, 1988. Peter, 73, died on May 7, 1993.
    Berta Neidermann was born on January 20, 1917, in Vienna, Austria, to Jewish parents, Josef and Anna Scheier Neidermann. Josef was born on October 10, 1886, in Gallatz, Austro-Hungary. Anna was born in August 1894 in Bania. In March 1938, Nazi Germany marched into Vienna and annexed Austria. Anti-Jewish laws were passed to disenfranchise and persecute the Jewish population. Berta emigrated to the US from Cherbourg, France, aboard the Columbus, arriving on December 3, 1938. Her sister Helene Bermann (1918-1993) sailed from Cherbourg on the SS Bremen, arriving on May 25, 1939. Both sisters settled in Chicago. Her parents Josef and Anna fled to Brussels, Belgium, in March 1939. Their younger brother Ulrich (1926-1985?) was sent to England. His name was changed to John Carlisle. He served in the British Army during the war. Berta's youngest sister Melanie (1921-1971) also left Vienna for France, and then escaped to Spain.

    The war ended in May 1945. Berta's parents had been detained in Malines (Mechelen) transit camp in Belgium, deported to Auschwitz concentration camp on October 31, 1942, and presumably killed. Berta's sister Melanie, with her young son, arrived in the US in 1946. Their brother, with his wife Doreen, moved to the US in 1952. While in Chicago, Berta met Peter Victor, a German Jewish refugee. Peter and his family left Berlin in 1939 for Shanghai, China. His parents Carl and Elsa died there and Peter emigrated to the US in 1947. The couple married on April 29, 1951, and settled in Washington DC. Berta, 71, passed away on May 28, 1988. Peter, 73, died on May 7, 1993.

    Physical Details

    Exchange Media
    Postage stamps
    Object Type
    Postage stamps (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    canceled, rectangular, paper stamp with perforated edges, 1.00 inch by .875, adhered to irregularly shaped torn brown paper. It has a left facing portrait bust of King George VI with a crown above his head, in white on a royal blue background. At the bottom is the denomination 2 1/2 D [d, the abbreviation for penny, derived from the Latin denarius.] In each corner is a symbol of the United Kingdom: a Tudor rose for England, a thistle for Scotland, a shamrock for Ireland, and a daffodil for Wales, and a vertical English word on each side. A double ringed cancellation stamp mark is visible over the stamp and paper.
    overall: Height: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm) | Width: 1.875 inches (4.763 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, adhesive
    front, cancellation stamp, black ink : ?TON N. 1 / 4 / S S10K / 27 AU 41

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The postage stamp was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Arleen Tievsky, the executor of the Estate of Peter Victor.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-03 10:39:38
    This page:

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