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"My Father Henry's Route to America: Trenches, Harlem Hell Fighters, POW, AWOL, Stowaway and Illegal Immigrant"

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2016.501.1

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    "My Father Henry's Route to America: Trenches, Harlem Hell Fighters, POW, AWOL, Stowaway and Illegal Immigrant"

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    "My Father Henry's Route to America: Trenches, Harlem Hell Fighters, POW, AWOL, Stowaway and Illegal Immigrant" by Dr. Rudolph (Rudy Keimowitz) is a 19 page manuscript. The manuscript includes information about Henry Keimowitz's childhood in Hungary, time in the Hungarian Army during World War I, capture and imprisonment by the Harlem Hellfighters during the Battle of Verdun, experience as a POW in France, and his illegal immigration to the United States as a stowaway around 1922. He married and started a family in the United States, and, during World War II, was investigated as an enemy alien and potential spy. The manuscript includes passages of Harry Keimowitz's oral history, recorded at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1988. Also includes copyprint portraits of Keimowitz's family members and photocopies of military and naturalization documents.
    publication/distribution:  2016
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Dr. Rudolph Keimowitz
    Collection Creator
    Rudolph Keimowitz
    Rudolph (Rudy) Keimowitz was born ca. 1935 to Henry and Anna Keimowitz. Henry Keimowitz was born on April 27. 1898 in Nyírbátor, Hungary, to Rudi and Geaza (Greenfield) Keimowitz. The family was Jewish, and Henry attended the local school until after his bar mitzvah, when he went to work in his family's cattle business. In April 1917, he was forced to register for the Army and fought on various fronts of World War I--in Russia, Romania, Itlay, and finally in France. In 1918, he was captured near Verdun by the "Harlem Hell Fighters," an African-American regiment. Henry became a prisoner of war in France and didn't return to Hungary until 1921, where he discovered his father had passed away weeks before Henry's arrival. Around 1922, he illegally boarded the "Bremen," a ship leaving out of Bremen, and stowed away to the United States, where he found a sister who had immigrated years earlier. He became a confectionary distributer, based in New York City, later opening a store, the HK confectionary. In 1934, he married Anna Travers, who had been born in the United States to Russian immigrant parents. The couple had two children: Rudolph and Robert. At the outbreak of World War II, Henry was ordered to report to the FBI for interrogation, admitting that he was an illegal immigrant. His travel was restricted for the duration of the war, but afterwards, he was given papers to go to Montreal and reenter the United States as a legal citizen. He was naturalized in 1946. Henry's siblings who remained in Hungary were all murdered in the Holocaust. Henry passed away on April 6, 1991. Rudy and Robert both became medical doctors. Rudy was a specialist in pallative care. He passed away on October 12, 2016.

    Physical Details

    1 folder
    System of Arrangement
    Arranged in a single series.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Donor retains copyright but grants the Museum permission to place this collection online.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Dr. Rudy Keimowitz donated his manuscript about his father to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:29:20
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