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Gerda and Sylva Löwenstein papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1995.56.5

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    Gerda and Sylva Löwenstein papers

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    The Gerda and Sylva Löwenstein papers consist of identification papers documenting Gerda Levy in Berlin before the war; a birth certificate, photographs, and student records documenting Sylva Löwenstein in Berlin before the war; and a diary and poetry written by Sylva Löwenstein while imprisoned in concentration camps during the Holocaust and at the Deggendorf displaced persons camp after the war.
    Gerda Löwenstein materials include her German identification card and the children’s identification card she used to leave Germany and enter the United Kingdom on a 1939 Kindertransport.
    Sylva Löwenstein materials include Sylva’s birth certificate, student records, diary, photographs, and poems. Her diary dates from August 15, 1945 through September 20, 1946. It begins by describing her prewar life in Germany, Nazi persecution of Jews, her deportation to Theresienstadt with her parents, her transport to Auschwitz with her parents, the murder of her parents, her transfer to a labor camp at Birnbäumel, her forced march to Gross Rosen, liberation by the Russian Army, her decision to immigrate to the United States, and being taken to Winzer and then Deggendorf to await her chance for
    immigration. This narrative is interspersed with poems she composed during the Holocaust. The diary then picks up with periodic descriptions of her daily life working in the Deggendorf displaced persons camp, dating, going to movies, receiving mail from her surviving family members, and making plans to immigrate. The diary includes cultural programs Sylva taped into it. This series also includes two photographs depicting Sylva in Berlin before the war and in Bavaria after the war, additional copies of the poems copied into Sylva’s diaries, and several more poems she wrote at Deggendorf.
    inclusive:  1921-1951
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Gertrude Lowenstein
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Gerda Lowenstein
    Collection Creator
    Gerda Löwenstein
    Sylva Löwenstein
    Gerda Löwenstein was born in 1928 in Berlin to Edgar and Dora Levy (nee Brasch). Her father was a salesman and World War I veteran. Her mother lost two brothers in World War I. Both parents perished at Auschwitz. Gerda was sent to England on a Kindertransport and lived with the Wilkies family in Coventry. She studied nursing in Bristol, immigrated to the United States after the war, and married Bodo Löwenstein (1922-2004), who had immigrated to the United States from Berlin in 1938. Gerda’s parents are believed to have been killed at Auschwitz.
    Sylva Löwenstein(1921-1973) was Gerda Löwenstein's äsister-in-law. Sylva was born in Berlin to Arthur and Edith (nee Schulz) Löwenstein. Her brother, Bodo Löwenstein, immigrated to the United States 1938. She and her parents were deported to Theresienstadt in July 1942. She and her mother volunteered to join her father on an October 1944 transport that was supposed to be a work transport to Germany but that really went to Auschwitz, where her parents were immediately sent to the gas chamber. Three weeks later Sylva was transferred to Birnbäumel on a work detail. In January 1945 she was sent on a forced march to Gross Rosen, where she was liberated the following month by the Russian Army. She was taken to Poland where she lied to the authorities in order to be allowed to return to Czechoslovakia and was later taken to Winzer and then Deggendorf to wait for her chance to immigrate to the United States.

    Physical Details

    Photographs. Diaries.
    5 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Gerda and Sylva Löwenstein papers are arranged as two series: I. Gerda Löwenstein papers, 1939, II. Sylva Löwenstein papers, 1921-1951

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Donor retains copyright on diary and poetry. Other materia 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

    Administrative Notes

    Gerda Löwenstein donated the Gerda and Sylva Löwenstein papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1995 and 2012. The accession formerly cataloged as 2012.349.1 has been incorporated into this collection.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    The accessibility of this collection was made possible by the generous donors to our crowdfunded Save Their Stories campaign.
    Special Collection
    Save Their Stories
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-11 13:18:57
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