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Zyga Butler papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2016.507.1

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    Zyga Butler papers

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    The Zyga Butler papers include a diary, correspondence, and photographs as well as academic, claims, employment, immigration, medical, and military records documenting Butler’s family, his military service in the Polish Army (Anders Army) during the war, the loss of his wife and son in the Holocaust, and his immigration to Australia.

    Butler composed his diary between 1943 and 1944 in places including Jalawla, Iraq and Bashīt, Palestine while he served in the Anders Army and Ormskirk, Lancashire while he convalesced. It opens with a description of how much he missed his wife and son. He decided to address them in the diary because he was not able to talk to them. He was not yet aware that his wife and son had probably perished at Auschwitz in 1943.

    The collection includes correspondence with personal friends and the World Federation of Krakow Jews. Photographs depict Zyga Butler with his son in 1939 and with members of the Ander’s Army during the war. Additional materials include military, medical, employment, academic, and claims records documenting Butler’s service and suffering during the war and immigration records documenting his immigration to Australia.
    inclusive:  1939-1979
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Elayne Topolski.
    Collection Creator
    Zyga Butler
    Zyga Butler was born Zygfryd Berntein in 1903 in Kraków, Poland to Wilhelm and Gustawa (Herzog) Bernstein. He lived in Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine), Warsaw, and Katowice. He married Rachela Rozalia Manheimer (1914-1943?), had one son named Roman (1936-1943?), and worked as a Universal Pictures distributor. He fought with the Polish Army during the Soviet invasion in September 1939. He was taken prisoner by the Russians at Lwów and taken to Russia. He served with the Polish Forces under British Command (Anders Army) from April 1942 to April 1947 in Russia, Iran, and Iraq. He was evacuated to England in May 1945, lived in Ormskirk, Lancashire and in Whitchurch, Shropshire, and continued to serve with the Polish Resettlement Corps until April 1949. He changed his last name to Butler in 1967. He never saw his wife or son after September 3, 1939, but he believed that they were deported from Kraków to Auschwitz in 1943, and he was told by a witness that his wife died of typhoid at Auschwitz in October 1943.

    Physical Details

    Diaries. Photographs.
    13 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Zyga Butler papers are arranged as a single series.

    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

    Personal Name
    Butler, Zyga (1903-?)

    Administrative Notes

    Elayne Topolski donated the Zyga Butler papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016. Topolski was married to Butler’s nephew.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    The accessibility of this collection was made possible by the generous donors to our crowdfunded Save Their Stories campaign.
    Special Collection
    Save Their Stories
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-11 13:18:38
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