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Helmuth Baer photograph

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2015.559.1

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    The collection consists of one photograph of Helmuth Baer sent from Shanghai to his daughter Lore Baer (Kircheimer) in England. The photograph is inscribed in English.
    creation:  circa 1940
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Lore Kirchheimer
    Collection Creator
    Lore Kirchheimer
    Lore Baer (later Lore Kirchheimer) was born on October 16, 1928, in Mannheim, Germany, to a Jewish couple, Hellmuth and Hedwig Wolf Baer. Hellmuth was born on June 18, 1890, in Mannheim, to Max and Henrietta Baer and Hedwig was born on April 6, 1902, in Rastatt, Germany, to Leopold and Mathilde Wolf. Lore had one brother, Max, who was born in Mannheim, on January 22, 1924. Hellmuth was the director of a bank and the family lived in a large apartment. They were an observant Jewish family who kept kosher, attended synagogue, and observed the Shabbat. Lore attended a Jewish school where she learned to read and write in Hebrew. Her brother, Max, attended school in Italy, where he was studying to be a chef.

    After Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor in January 1933, anti-Semitic restrictions were passed to restrict Jewish life and isolate them from society. These restrictions eventually resulted in Hellmuth being fired from his job. On November 10, 1938, during Kristallnacht pogrom, German SS officers entered the family’s apartment, destroyed their belongings, and arrested Hellmuth. Lore’s mother visited the police station daily in an effort to find him, and after several weeks learned that he had been taken to Dachau concentration camp where he was given the prisoner number 20370. Hedwig was able to secure his release in late December 1938. Lore recalls that her father was not the same after he returned home, and her mother worked tirelessly to get the family out of Germany. She managed to get passage for Hellmuth to Japanese occupied Shanghai, China, soon after his release, enabled Max to remain in Italy, and arranged for Lore to be sent to England on a Kindertransport.

    In May 1939, Lore was ten years old when her mother put her on the train in Mannheim. She arrived at Liverpool station and was taken in by the Pizers, a working class Jewish family in the East End of London. Lore could speak no English, and the family spoke no German, so the only way they could communicate was through limited Yiddish.

    In response to pubic panic following the fall of France in May 1940, and the evacuation of Dunkirk, the British Government temporarily interned thousands of foreigners. Lore’s brother Max visited her in England. Not long after his arrival he was arrested as an enemy alien and was sent to Australia on July 10, 1940, aboard the HMT Dunera. During the 2 month voyage on the Dunera, Max dealt with extreme overcrowding, mistreatment of prisoners, and torpedo attacks. When he arrived in Australia, Max was held at Hay and Tatura internment camps.

    While living in England, Lore received correspondence from her mother and brother. Her mother Hedwig sent a letter in October, 1940, informing her she was in France, at Gurs internment camp. The final message she received from her mother was in 1942, informing Lore she was going to have an operation. Lore received word from Max that he was to be released and would be returning to England to serve in the British Army. He was traveling to the United Kingdom from Cape Town, South Africa, on the MV Abosso when on October 29, 1942, the ship was torpedoed by a German submarine. He was among the 28 Jewish internees who perished in the attack.

    Lore’s father continued to correspond with her from Shanghai. His letters ceased and in 1946, she received a notice from the Red Cross that he had fallen ill with pleurisy and died on May 19. After the war, Lore continued to look for her mother’s name on survivors’ lists. She eventually discovered that her mother had been taken to Drancy transit camp on August 10, 1942, and then deported to Auschwitz Birkenau killing center in German-occupied Poland where she was murdered on September 2.

    Lore remained in London and, at the age of 14, completed school and began to work. She received a visa from the Kirchheimer family, distant relatives in the United States, and in May 1946, she sailed to New York aboard the SS Gripsholm. She went to live with her relatives in Chicago, Illinois where she met Harry Weiniger (later Kirchheimer), who was one of the "50 children" rescued from Vienna by the Kraus family and brought to the United States in the spring of 1939 and taken in by the Kirchheimer family. Lore and Harry married in 1949, and settled outside Chicago where they raised three children. Lore was involved in Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization, for over 50 years. Harry died on March 16, 2001, at the age of 72, in Chicago. Lore still resides outside of Chicago.

    Physical Details

    1 folder

    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

    The photograph was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2015 by Lore Kirchheimer, the daughter of Helmuth and Hedwig Baer.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:27:16
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