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Norman A. Miller family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2016.203.1

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    Norman A. Miller family papers

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    Correspondence, diary, and documents, belonging to Norman A. Miller (Norbert Müller), and documenting his family's life in Nürnberg, Germany; the effects of Nazi persecution during the 1930s, Miller's immigration to England via a Kindertransport, his service with the British Army during World War II, and his post-war life. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence Miller received from his family in Nürnberg between 1939 and 1941, describing their experiences, conditions there, and attempt to emigrate. Also included is a pocket diary that Miller began in 1939, postwar correspondence from acquaintances in Germany describing the fate of Miller's family, and copied material related to the history of Miller's family.

    A later accretion to this collection included further biographical documents about Miller, including materials from his school years in Germany, such as report cards and notebooks; documents from his military service with the British Army, including documents pertaining his changing his name and his application for British citizenship; and a copy of his birth certificate. This later accretion also included a substantial group of correspondence related to restitution claims filed by Miller and his cousins between 1955 and 1961, including claims for compensation for the loss of liberty suffered by his parents, the expropriation of their business and personal belongings, the loss of opportunity for Miller to obtain an education in Germany due to his expulsion from school due to anti-Semitic laws, expenses incurred by Miller due to his forced emigration; and losses of personal property suffered by Miller’s maternal grandparents and uncle, including the loss of their business through forced sale. A later claim filed in 1974 relates to compensation for the deportation and death of his sister, Susanne.

    In addition, donor-provided English translations of the German-language correspondence described above was donated at a later date as well, and added to this collection as a separate series.
    inclusive:  1937-2015
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Norman A. Miller
    Collection Creator
    Norman A. Miller
    Norbert Müller (later Norman A. Miller) was born on June 2, 1924, in Tann in der Rhön, Germany, to Sebald and Laura Jüngster Müller. Sebald was born on April 17, 1892, in Marisfeld, Germany, to Nathan and Bertha Müller and had 2 siblings, Max and Elsa. He was a Jewish grade school teacher, musician, and town shochet, ritual animal slaughterer. Laura was born on October 17, 1898, in Tann, to Leopold and Clara Jacobs Jüngster and had a brother and 2 sisters, Bertha and Dina. Her family ran a shoemaker’s shop and had been in the town since the 1700s. On July 7, 1922, Sebald married Laura. On October 11, 1925, Norbert’s younger sister, Susanne (Suse) was born. Norbert’s family was Orthodox, and very active in the town’s close-knit Jewish community. In 1930, Norbert’s family moved when Sebald accepted a position to teach at a Jewish primary school associated with the large synagogue in Nuremberg. Norbert attended the synagogue school where his father taught.

    In 1933, the Nazi regime came to power and enacted policies that persecuted the Jewish population. These stripped many Jewish professionals of their right to work. Sebald’s job was not directly impacted because he worked for the Jewish congregation, which had to teach more children as Jewish students were forced out of public schools. Norbert attended a Jewish high school in Fürth. In 1936, Norbert’s grandfather Leopold Jüngster died and his grandmother Clara moved in with one of her daughters, Norman’s aunts. As the restrictions increased, the Müllers began making plans to immigrate. Everyone in the family got passports and the family registered for American immigration quota numbers. Norbert’s parents registered him and Suse for the Kindertransport [Children’s Transport] a rescue mission to save Jewish children managed by Bloomsbury House, a group of British Jewish aid societies. Everyone began learning English and possibly useful skills for immigration: Sebald learned new instruments, Laura began making fancy candies, and Norbert focused on welding, along with his friend Lou Hochster. His grandmother Clara came to live with the family after her daughters’ families immigrated: Bertha’s to the United States and Dina’s to England. On November 9, 1938, during the Kristallnacht pogrom, German men charged into the Müller’s apartment and began hacking at the furniture and instruments with an axe, leaving only a few salvageable items. On April 30, 1939, Jews lost their rights as legal tenants and the Müllers were forced to move to a designated Jewish building where they shared an apartment with an elderly couple, Samuel and Esther Munk.

    In August 1939, Bloomsbury House approved Norbert’s travel permit, but provided no travel details. At the end of the month, Lou Hochster and his family invited Norbert to join them when they immigrated to England. Norbert agreed, and Sebald accompanied him and the family on the train to Würzburg, where they were scheduled to catch an express train to Holland, though Norbert did not have the correct papers to go there. They missed the connection and ended up in Cologne, where Sebald saw a Kindertransport group was assembling. He asked if Norbert could join them and they said yes, as long as he had the correct papers. There was a British consulate in Cologne, but when they arrived it was closed. Sebald snuck into the office and added the correct stamp and a note referencing the transport permit letter to Norbert’s passport. Norbert was able to join the Kindertransport leaving for England on August 29, 1939. He reached London, England a few days later and was sent to a rabbi related to the Munks.

    On September 3, Great Britain and France declared war against Germany in response to the September 1st invasion of Poland. Rabbi Munk sent Norbert to a home for refugee boys in Croydon, and then he lived with another rabbi in East London. Norbert’s welding skills allowed him to work in several machine shops. He was able to write to his family regularly, though he had to send his letters through his mother’s uncle Moritz Jacobs in Belgium because of the war. After Germany invaded Belgium in May 1940, he sent a few letters through his Aunt Bertha in the US. When he turned 16, the British declared that Norbert was a “friendly alien of enemy origin.” His parents were still trying to leave Germany, but Grandma Clara had a high quota number and his father was very worried about having to leave her behind. The last letter Norbert received from his family was dated May 1941. Norbert survived many air raids and had to put out several bomb-related fires at a machine shop. In 1944, twenty year old Norbert enlisted in the army and changed his name to Norman Albert Miller, at the army’s suggestion, to sound less German. In January 1945, Norman, an infantryman with the 6th Battalion, 158th Brigade, 53rd Division of the Royal Welch (Welsh) Fusiliers attached to the XXX Corps, was deployed to Belgium. Due to his fluency in German, he was soon sent to the Company headquarters to perform intelligence work.

    When Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, his battalion was in Hamburg, Germany, on occupational duty. While performing routine traffic control on the Elbe River Bridge that day, Norman recognized Arthur Seyss-Inquart, who had been Reich Commissar in the Netherlands during the German occupation, and secured his arrest. He was later tried and found guilty in the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, and executed. Shortly after this incident, Norman asked to be transferred to the Intelligence Corps in order to report suspicious behavior, and was stationed in Bad Pyrmont. In 1946, Norman received a letter from Albert Stimmelstiel, a young Jewish man from Nuremberg, detailing the fate of Norman’s family. On November 27, 1941, his parents, Sebald and Laura, his sister, Suse, and grandmother, Clara, had been rounded up by the Gestapo and deported to Riga, Latvia, where they were interned in the nearby Jungfernhof concentration camp. After contracting typhus, they were killed in a mass execution along with other elderly and ill people on March 26, 1942. In July 1947, Sergeant Norman Miller became a British citizen. Following demobilization, he returned to London. In April 1948, he immigrated to Toronto, Canada, with a friend. In September 1949, Norman moved to the US to live with his Aunt Bertha’s family in New York City. In 1951, he married Ingeborg Sommer (b.1930), a Jewish émigré from Baden, Germany, that had immigrated to the US with her parents in 1937. The couple had two sons. Norman worked in the tool and die field making injection molds to make plastic goods. In 1955, Norman became an American citizen.

    Physical Details

    German English
    Correspondence. Diary.
    2 boxes
    System of Arrangement
    The Norman A. Miller papers are arranged in large chronological order for the correspondence, and for those files and the remaining materials, in a numbered sequence of documents established by the donor.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Copyright to the English translations of these letters, as well as the rights to Miller's diary and other materials created by him or other family members has been retained by the donor. Other material 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

    Geographic Name
    Germany. Nuremberg (Germany)

    Administrative Notes

    Norman A. Miller donated the Norman A. Miller family papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 08:48:31
    This page:

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