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Henckels dinner knife brought with a German Jewish prewar refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2012.493.5

J.A. Henckels table knife taken with Ernestine Wiesenthal when she emigrated from Berlin, Germany, to London, England in 1939. A partial maker’s mark is visible, but is missing the twin mark that identifies when a Henckels piece was manufactured. The knife handle is likely made of silver, though it does not bear any marks to confirm that. On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. Following the passage of the Nuremberg laws in 1935, Ernestine’s son, Fritz, began looking for places where the family could immigrate as life became increasingly difficult for German Jews. Later that year, Fritz, a doctor, and his wife, Gertrude, sent their daughter, Illa, to boarding school in England. When their daughter, Nellie, was no longer allowed to attend public school, she moved into Ernestine’s home and attended a local Jewish school. Eventually, Jews were no longer able to practice medicine, and the family needed to emigrate. In 1938, Fritz left for the US in order to begin studying for the medical boards he needed to pass in order to practice medicine. He sent for Illa in August 1938. Nellie arrived in January 1939, and Gertrude arrived in March. Once in London, Ernestine spent her time knitting for the Red Cross. In the fall of 1942, she traveled to the US aboard a freighter in a Greek convoy.

emigration:  1939
en route: London (England)
manufacture: Solingen (Germany)
Household Utensils
Object Type
Table knives (aat)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Nellie Fink
Record last modified: 2021-03-08 15:45:28
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