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Pollatschek family papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2016.220.1

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    The Pollatschek family papers consists of correspondence, chiefly from Henriette Pollatschek, written circa 1939-1942, and sent from Czechoslovakia to her son, Friedrich, and his family, first in Cuba and then the United States. The collection also includes correspondence from Friedrich Pollaschek (later Polt), and various immigration authorities, banks, shipping lines, and others, in his efforts to help his mother and sister emigrate from German-occupied Czechoslovakia.

    While most of the letters from Henriette are addressed to the family of her son, Friedrich Pollatschek, some are also addressed to others, including her brother, Friedrich (Fritz) Heller, who lived in Switzerland. Letters to the latter are often signed by the Czech dimunitive form of her name, Jettla, and as of 1942, all letters to her children in the United States had to be sent by way of her brother in Switzerland, and as a result, were signed “Jettla” and due to censorship, often spoke of family members she wished to address in the third person or in other oblique ways.

    In addition, some letters from Henriette also include postscripts from Friedrich’s sister, Lene Fürth, or on occasion, appended messages from other family members, or letters from other family members that were included (such as when Fritz Heller forwarded letters from Henriette in 1942). Letters from Henriette’s daughter (Friedrich’s sister) Lene Fürth, as well Henriette’s cousin, Ernst Skutsch, are filed separately, as is correspondence concerning Friedrich’s attempts to gain Cuban visas and purchase ship’s passage for his mother and sister in 1940 and 1941.
    inclusive:  1939-1974
    bulk:  1939-1942
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Renata Polt
    Collection Creator
    Pollatschek family (Family: Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic))
    Henriette Heller (1870-1942) was born on 26 February 1870, in Hořice, eastern Bohemia, the daughter of a sugar beet refiner, and one of eight children. In 1890 she married Hermann Pollatschek (1858-1926), who was director of a coal mine in Aussig (Usti nad Labem), in northern Bohemia. They had four children: two sons, Hans (1891-1914) and Willi (1899-1918), died during World War I, a daughter, Helene (1893-1942) later married Eugen Fürth, a paper manufacturer; and the remaining son, Friedrich (1896-1967), married Elisabeth (Liesl) Lederer (b. 1902) in 1927. Shortly after their wedding, Friedrich and Liesl moved into the Pollatschek family home in Aussig/Usti, where they had two children: Hans (b. 1929) and Renate (b. 1931).

    In the late 1930s, with the rise of Nazi sympathizers in northern Bohemia, Friedrich and Liesl moved their family Prague, before leaving for Switzerland in September 1938, just a few weeks before the Sudeten regions of northern Bohemia were ceded to Germany. Friedrich tried to persuade his mother and sister to join them there, and Henriette visited her son's family in Lucerne in February 1939, only to return a few weeks later, and in March 1939 the German army marched into Czechoslovakia. In April of that year, Friedrich and Liesl and their children left for Cuba, where they remained until September 1940, when they were able to immigrate to the United States. During this time, Friedrich tried to get Cuban visas and ship's passage for his mother and sister, but by the time he was able to obtain those, in 1941, the Germans were no longer permitting Jews to leave Czechoslovakia, and in 1942, Henriette was deported to Theresienstadt, and subsequently to Treblinka, where she was killed. Lene was deported to Poland, where she was a forced laborer before she was presumably killed. Friedrich, Liesl and their children lived in New York, first in Queens and later Lake Placid, before moving to California in 1947.

    Physical Details

    11 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged in alphabetic order, according to folder title, and is largely arranged by correspondent or topic, and then chronologically within the file.

    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

    Administrative Notes

    Renata Polt donated the Pollatschek family papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:26:22
    This page:

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