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Single hand tefillin

Object | Accession Number: 2012.244.5

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    Brief Narrative
    Hand tefillin saved by Annemarie Warschauer that was used by a family member. Annemarie and her family lived on an estate near Berlin, Germany. The Nazi regime took power in 1933 and anti-Jewish policies to persecute Jews became law. In 1936, Nazi thugs took her father from their home and killed him. In 1938, Annemarie married Egon Israelski. A few weeks later Egon was assigned to a forced labor camp and Annemarie volunteered to go with him. When Egon was injured, she had to work in a factory. After they promised to leave Germany, they were released from labor service. In 1940, with Annemarie's mother and her husband Leo Munter, they went to Shanghai because it did not require visas. Life there was difficult and primitive. The city was liberated by US troops. In 1947, Annemarie, Egon, and their infant son left for America. Her parents could not get US visas and in 1951 went to Brazil.
    emigration:  1940
    received: Berlin (Germany)
    use: Shanghai (China)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Annemarie Warschauer and the Estate of Annemarie Warschauer
    Subject: Annemarie Warschauer
    Annemarie Alexander was born on August 3, 1920, in Berlin, Germany, to Isadore and Anna Hirschensohn Alexander, who was born in 1890. Isadore, born in 1876, was a wealthy businessman and the family lived in a thirty-two room house on an estate in Rittergut-Starpel, two hours from Berlin, where they had an apartment. Annemarie had a brother Richard. In January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor and Germany was soon living under a Nazi dictatorship. Increasingly harsh legislation was passed to persecute the Jewish population. In 1936, a group of Nazi Party members came to the estate and took Isadore, who was home alone. Two days later, Annemarie and her family learned that he had been killed. Her mother Anne married again, to Leo Munter. On October 13, 1938, Annemarie, 18, married Egon Werner Israelski, 26, in a Berlin synagogue. Egon was born in 1912 to Anna Frankel Israelski (1889-1969) and businessman Hugo Israelski (1882-1950.) They lived with Annemarie’s mother in her large Berlin apartment. On November 9, 1938, during the Kristallnacht pogrom, the synagogue was destroyed and Jewish businesses and homes were vandalized. Soon afterwards, Gestapo blocked the entrance to their apartment building because it was Jewish owned. Eventually, Annemarie and her family were allowed to enter, but they decided it would be safer to move to a different building. Egon was selected for a forced labor camp in Neuendorf and Annemarie volunteered to go with him. They had their own room in the barracks, and Annemarie was in charge of making meals for the thirty-five men in the barracks. Egon dug potatoes and developed back problems and could not work. Annemarie was then sent to work at the Siemens factory in Gartenfeld. After she and Egon applied for visas to leave Germany, she was released from forced labor once she signed a paper saying that she would never reveal what she did there or she could be shot. The family wanted to go to the United States, but the immigration quotas were filled. Shanghai, China, required no special visas, so Annemarie, Egon, and Anna and Leo decided to go there in 1940. Leaving all their possessions behind, the left by train for Moscow, then travelled through Siberia and on to Shanghai. They were not permitted to take valuables or much money out of Germany. Each Jew making the trip was issued 10 marks. Soviet officers stole their remaining money during the trip.

    After reaching Shanghai, they lived in the Japanese-controlled International Settlement in conditions they found primitive. Annemarie and Egon had one room and a tiny bed filled with bedbugs. Their living conditions were extremely unsanitary. There were no toilets, just one shared bucket. Cooking was done on a portable stove using with coal, which was scarce. They got free food from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and also found work. In early September 1945, US troops liberated the city. On May 25, 1946, Annemarie and Egon had a son Gary.

    In 1947, the three were able to leave Shanghai for the United States. They arrived in San Francisco aboard the Marine Lynx on April 7, 1947. After three months, they moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where Annemarie had cousins. Anna and Leo could not get US visas due to quotas, and in 1951 they went to Brazil with Anna’s brother Richard Hirschensohn. Annemarie and Egon changed their surname to Werner. Egon’s parents had survived the war in hiding in Berlin. In 1947, they arrived in the US and settled in Baltimore, Maryland. Egon’s mother later changed her name to Evelyn Werner. Annemarie's mother and stepfather eventually joined them in Allentown. After 35 years of marriage, Egon, 75, passed away in 1987. Annemarie’s mother Anna, 102, passed away in 1992. In later years, Annemarie reconnected with Erwin Warschauer, a dentist. Erwin was born on July 26, 1904, and had also left Berlin for Shanghai. After the war, he joined the US Army in a civilian medical role. He went to America in 1947, where he joined the National Guard and resumed practicing dentistry. The two married in 1975, but Erwin passed in October 1976. Annemarie, 95, passed away on May 2, 2015.

    Physical Details

    Jewish Art and Symbolism
    Object Type
    Tefillin (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Hand tefillin with a square, black painted, leather box (batim) with smooth sides. The box is centered on a black painted square, 5 layered leather platform sewn together with gut from kosher animals (giddin). The platform has a triangular, notched back with an opening through which a long black painted leather strap (retzu’ot) is threaded. The box is made to contain a parchment scroll (parshiyot) inscribed with 4 Hebrew prayers. The top and bottom layer of the platform are detaching. The long strap is neatly wound into a coil on one side of the platform and a cone on the other. The measurements reflect this. The strap is dry and stiff. The batim has some small paint chips and is worn along the edges nad the top layers of the platform are separating.
    overall: Height: 4.375 inches (11.113 cm) | Width: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm) | Depth: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm)
    overall : leather, paint, gut, parchment, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The hand tefillin was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by Gary Werner on behalf of the estate of his mother Annemarie Warschauer.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 12:41:56
    This page:

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