Pollatschek family papers
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.
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Renata Polt
Record last modified: 2021-11-10 13:03:58
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn532688
Also in Pollatschek family collection
The collection consists of a toy bus and correspondence relating to the Pollatschek family in Czechoslovakia before the Holocaust, and in Czechoslovakia, Cuba, and the United States during and after the Holocaust.
Wooden toy bus given to Renate Pollatschek (later Renata Polt) by her parents in the 1930s when they were living in Ústí nad Labem, Czechoslovakia. The bus is a German toy with “Eilkraftwagen” painted on the sides, rather than “Autobus.” The new word was likely created by the Nazi party to replace foreign words like “Autobus” in the German language. Renate lived with her parents, Friedrich and Elisabeth, her older brother, Hans, and her paternal grandmother, Henriette. She was less than a year old when Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. Friedrich, was concerned about Hitler’s anti-Jewish policies, so when he found out that German troops were gathering at the border in September 1938, he decided to get his family out of Czechoslovakia. On September 11, 6-year-old Renate left with her brother and their parents for Lucerne, Switzerland. Her grandmother, Henriette, came to visit and Friedrich tried to convince her to stay with them, but she refused. In April 1939, the family left Switzerland for Havana, Cuba, before settling permanently in the United States in September 1940. The family stayed in contact with Henriette through letters. She eventually decided to emigrate, but was never able to get the required paperwork to leave. After the war, Renate and her family found out that Henriette had been transported to Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia on July 13, 1942, and then deported to Treblinka II killing center in German-occupied Poland on October 19, where she was murdered.