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Jewish religious song book returned to a family after being confiscated during the war

Object | Accession Number: 2016.203.13 a-b

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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    The Song of Solomon, Chasonus, and sheet music are among five books from the personal collection of Sebald Müller that were confiscated by the Nazi regime and added to Julius Streicher's Library of Judaica in the 1930s. After the war, the books were placed in the collection of the Stadt-Bibliothek Nuremberg [Nuremberg City Library], which returned them to Sebald’s son, Norman Miller (previously Norbert Müller) in 2011. The book is inscribed Müller and Jacob Heinfeldt. On November 9, 1938, during Kristallnacht in Nuremberg, Germany, the apartment Sebald shared with his wife, Laura, their children, Norbert and Suse, and mother-in-law, Clara Jüngster, was ransacked by local men with axes. In late August 1939, Sebald, managed to get Norbert out of Germany on a Kindertransport [Children's Transport] to London two days prior to the start of World War II. Sebald and the other family members were able to exchange letters with Norbert until communications ceased in May 1941. In November 1941, Sebald, Laura, Suse and Clara were deported to Riga, Latvia and interned in Jungfernhof concentration camp where they fell ill with typhus and were killed in a mass execution on March 26, 1942. In 1944, Norbert enlisted in the British army and changed his name. While serving on occupational duty in Germany after the war, Norman learned his family’s fate from a man that was being held in Jungfernhof with them. Norman eventually immigrated to the United States and became a citizen in 1955. He married a fellow German, Jewish emigrant, Ingeborg Sommer, and they had two sons.
    Title
    Schir Lisch’laumau. Chasonus (vor allem nach den traditionellen Weisen) für das ganze Liturgische Jahr.
    Alternate Title
    Song of Solomon. Chazzanut (especially after the traditional ways) for the whole liturgical year.
    Date
    publication:  1901
    Geography
    publication: Berlin (Germany)
    use: Nuremberg (Germany)
    publication: Leipzig (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Norman A. Miller
    Contributor
    Subject: Norman A. Miller
    Author: Aron Friedmann
    Publisher: Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeindebunde
    Publisher: Verlag der Musikalsche Universal Bibliothek
    Publisher: Oscar Brandstetter
    Composer: Felix M. Bartholdy
    Biography
    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

    Object Type
    Judaism--Books (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Book; 328 p. ; 34 cm.
    Liturgical score bound with dark marbled cardboard covers with a faux leather spine. The names of 2 original owners are inscribed on the title page. Several library stamps and identification numbers were added at a later date. A paper pocket for sheet music (b) is adhered to the inner back cover.
    b. Folded folio of sheet music of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy with 4 pages tucked into a pocket at the back of bound liturgical score (a.) Distribution information is stamped on the front, and a library stamp was added at a later date.
    Dimensions
    a: Height: 13.125 inches (33.338 cm) | Width: 11.125 inches (28.258 cm) | Depth: 1.375 inches (3.493 cm)
    b: Height: 11.125 inches (28.258 cm) | Width: 7.750 inches (19.685 cm)
    Materials
    a : paper, ink, adhesive, cloth, paint, cardboard, paper tape
    b : paper, ink
    Inscription
    a. interior, title page, top, handwritten script, brown ink : Müller Hebrew text / Jacob Steinfeld Cantor
    a. interior, multiple locations, handwritten and stamped, pencil and ink : Nuremberg City Library identifiers

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The book was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by Norman A. Miller.
    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 18:14:17
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn548014

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