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Richard Schifter family papers

Document | Accession Number: 2016.502.1

The Richard Schifter family papers consist of correspondence, documents, printed material, and photographs, related to the lives of the family of Richard Schifter and his parents, Paul and Balbina Schifter, in pre-World War II Austria, Richard’s immigration to the United States in 1938, his subsequent education and service in the U.S. Army during World War II, his parents’ deportation to Poland, and Richard Schifter’s unsuccessful attempts to help his parents in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The Biographical series of documents largely relates to the immigration of Richard Schifter, and his adaptation to life in the United States and his military service. Included are files related to his education, including records, notes, and correspondence from both his schooling in Austria, and his high school and college years in New York. Among the Austrian documents are dictation exercises in English, including the translation of a speech by Austrian chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg in 1938. The American education records include correspondence with faculty at City College of New York, including a research paper wrote critical of an Austrian anti-Semitic writer. The diary from this period (1940-1943) is written largely in shorthand, which one of his professors encouraged him to learn, but does record events such as his reaction to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The bulk of the biographical material relates to Schifter’s career in the U.S. Army, both while in training at Stanford University, but primarily during his years in training and service as a “Ritchie Boy,” as well as his post-war service. Related to the latter are documents pertaining to his wedding to Lieselotte Krüger in 1948, since approval had to be sought from military authorities for him to marry a German national. Also included is a file of correspondence sent in his military, including a letter to a U.S. Senator regarding conditions in the Army, a letter to an academic referring to proposals regarding the re-education of Germans after the war, and an exchange of letters with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, following a visit Schifter had made to former concentration camp inmates at Mittelbau-Dora. A small amount of the Biographical series also contains material from Schifter’s father, Paul, chiefly related to the latter’s stay in the United States from 1910-1911, when he worked in Rochester, New York.

The Correspondence series contains correspondence to Schifter from his parents, as well as correspondence with a number of people in the United States who he turned to for help in assisting his parents, both in efforts to send clothes and other material aid to them in Poland, as well as in seeking ways to help them immigrate. Among the latter, Mr. Jungwirth from Rochester, who apparently was acquainted with Paul Schifter from his time in the United States, sought to facilitate contact with Schifter’s parents in Poland and with others who had news of them. Correspondence from others includes friends and relatives—some identified only by first names—with whom he exchanged impressions of life in the United States, news about his parents, and news from Austrian friends who had emigrated. Many of the letters consist of carbon-copies of Richard Schifter’s outgoing correspondence, which he retained.

The Photograph and Postcards series consists largely of pre-war images of Schifter’s immediate family, photographs of his parents and their families from the early 1900s (circa 1910-1920), including those found in one card album, and images Schifter saved from his service in the U.S. Army, primarily during his time in Europe, circa 1944-1945. In addition to the photographs, there are several folders of postcards that were sent or received by members of Schifter’s family, including those sent and received by his father during World War I, when Paul Schifter was in the Austro-Hungarian army.

Date
inclusive:  1909-1994
bulk:  1939-1948
Language
German
English
Extent
2 boxes
1 oversize box
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Richard Schifter
 
Record last modified: 2021-11-16 10:03:43
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn543306