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John (Hans) Buchsbaum papers

Document | Accession Number: 2016.437.1

Correspondence, documents, photographs, and typescript memoir, of John (Hans) Buchsbaum (1910-1988), originally of Ostrava, Czech Republic, relating primarily to his experiences following his immigration to first Britain, and then the United States in 1939-1941, and to the experiences of his family in Europe during the Holocaust. Includes correspondence from his mother, Clara Buchsbaum, his sister and brother-in-law, Gretel and Hugo Spitzer, and his uncle, Norbert Babad, 1939-1941. Also included are pre-war family photographs, correspondence with tracing services following the war seeking to determine the fate of Buchsbaum's family, biographical documents, and a typescript memoir about his family written by Buchsbaum in 1972.

The “Biographical” series consists primarily of a memoir, written by John Buchsbaum about his family in the early 1970s, as well as other documents created or collected by Buchsbaum as he sought to document what had happened to various family members during the Holocaust, as well as their pre-war lives in Czechoslovakia. The memoir, started in 1972 and written originally for his daughter Barbara, contains a history of his parents and grandparents, his childhood memories in Ostrava, his university studies and military service in Czechoslovakia during the 1930s and the events leading up to his emigration, and his experiences in England and his eventual immigration to the United States. Material related to Clara Buchsbaum primarily dates from the post-war period, when he was seeking restitution, and material related to the family of his sister, Gretl Spitzer and her husband and daughter, relate to efforts to contact tracing services to determine what had happened to them, as well as his daughter Barbara’s registration of them as victims at Yad Vashem. Also included are pamphlets and essays about the Buchsbaum family, including the catalog for an exhibit in Ostrava in 2015 that, among other topics, highlighted the role of Ignatz Buchsbaum as a publisher and bookseller, and an unidentified essay about Zuzana (Susi) Buchsbaum.

The “Correspondence” series consists largely of letters sent from Clara Buchsbaum to her son, John, after he had immigrated to Britain, and then to the United States, written mostly while she was in Italy. In addition to reporting what she knew about other family members, what she was experiencing in Italy, and responding to news from John, she also described the experience of planning for emigration and seeking visas and other documents to leave Europe. Additional correspondence from Buchsbaum’s uncle (and his mother’s brother), Norbert Babad, as well as from his sister and brother-in-law, Gretl and Hugo Spitzer, also detail their own efforts to leave Europe, and respond to John’s efforts to help them. Although the original correspondence was largely written in German, the donor (Barbara Buchsbaum Gilford) obtained the help of a native-German speaker, Kerstin White, to translate them, and her translations accompany each letter.

The “Photographs” series contains largely pre-war photographs of the Buchsbaum, Babad, and Spitzer families in Czechoslovakia, and older portraits of family members from the early 1900s. In addition, there are a couple of folders of photographs, presumably created or collected by John Buchsbaum, during his U.S. Army service in Germany during World War II, and his visit to Czechoslovakia to see his uncle, Norbert Babad, in the immediate post-war period. The latter photographs are not identified, but most appear to depict events around Czech leaders Tomas Masaryk and Edouard Benes.

inclusive:  1929-2015
bulk:  1939-1941
1 box
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Barbara Buchsbaum Gilford
Record last modified: 2023-02-24 14:29:26
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