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Langer family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2017.616.1

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    Langer family papers

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    The collection documents the Holocaust experiences of Robert Langer and his parents Ignatz and Stefanie Langer, including their emigration from Vienna, Austria to Shanghai, China after the German annexation of Austria in 1938, and post-war immigration to the United States. The collection consists of biographical material, immigration documents, correspondence, and photographs.

    Biographical material includes clippings and articles about the Jewish community in Shanghai, identification papers such as birth and marriage certificates, identification cards, passports, work books (arbeitsbuch), employment and education papers, documents and clippings related to the death of Charles H. Jordan of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and restitution paperwork. There is also an oral history transcript and drafts of personal narratives related to Robert’s experiences.

    Immigration material includes documents related to Robert’s immigration to the United States from Shanghai in 1948 on a school visa and his parents’ immigration to the United States in 1951 from Vienna.

    Correspondence primarily consists of post-war letters from Ignatz and Stefanie’s siblings and relatives. Robert’s correspondence includes letters from Charles H. Jordan and letters regarding the Tikvah club in Shanghai. Photographs include depictions of Robert, Ignatz, Stefanie, and unidentified family and friends.
    inclusive:  1906-2009
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Barbara L. Landes.
    Collection Creator
    Langer family
    Robert Langer and his parents Ignatz and Stefanie Langer emigrated from Vienna, Austria to Shanghai, China after the German annexation of Austria in 1938. They survived the Holocaust in Shanghai and later immigrated to the United States.

    Ignatz Langer (1893-1960) was born on 22 April 1893 in Lwów, Poland (Lviv, Ukraine) to Majlech Langer and Chane Rywe (née Klapp). He had three siblings, Sabine Steinhauser (nicknamed Salci, later Sabine Binder), Jakob Steinhauser (1902-1972), and Amalie (nicknamed Malci, later Amalie Müller).

    Stephanie Waldapfel (1896-1954) was born on 27 July 1896 in what is present-day Považská Bystrica, Slovakia to Edmund Waldapfel (1853-1935) and Martha Rosenberg (d. 1898). She had two siblings, Leopold (1894-1986) and Melanie (later Melanie Washkansky, 1898-1999).

    Ignatz and Stefanie married in Vienna in 1925. Their son Robert was born on 22 January 1929 in Vienna where Ignatz worked as a waiter and restauranteur.

    After the annexation of Austria by Germany in March 1938, the Langer family was evicted from their apartment in December 1938. They moved in with relatives and left Austria on 23 January 1939 for Genoa, Italy. From there they sailed to Shanghai on the SS Conte Biancamano. After they arrived in Shanghai, Robert enrolled in a Jewish school and his father found a job as a waiter. After Ignatz’s brother arrived in Shanghai, they opened a restaurant called Delikat. Robert quit school in 1942 and worked in a weaving factory. He also took secretarial courses.

    After the war, Robert worked for the American Joint Jewish Distribution Committee. In 1948 he received a student visa and scholarship funded by industrialist Lawrence Kadoorie to attend Brooklyn College in the United States. He graduated in 1952 and then attended Columbia University where he earned his Masters’ degree in social work in 1954. After a stint in the Army, he married Claire Katz (knowns as Betty, b. 1929) and pursued a career in social work. Robert and Claire later divorced and he married Elizabeth H. Levy in 1958. Robert’s parents left Shanghai by 1949 and immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1951.

    All of Ignatz and Stefanie’s siblings survived the Holocaust.

    Physical Details

    German English Hebrew
    2 boxes
    3 oversize folders
    1 book enclosure
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as four series.

    Series 1. Biographical material, 1906-2009
    Series 2. Immigration, 1946-1956
    Series 3. Correspondence, 1915-2003
    Series 4. Photographs, circa 1920-1997

    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

    Administrative Notes

    Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2017 by Barbara L. Landes, niece of Robert Langer.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-24 13:46:46
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