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Ney and Grundmann families papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2017.247.1

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    Ney and Grundmann families papers

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    The Ney and Grundmann families collection consists of correspondence, documents, autograph books, printed material, audiovisual recordings, and other related materials, documenting the history of the families of Herbert Ney (Neu), originally of Munich, Germany, and his wife, Hannelore (née Grundmann), originally of Essen, Germany, relating to their emigration from Germany due to anti-Semitic persecution, as well as documenting their lives in pre-Holocaust era Germany, and following their immigration to the United States.

    The Biographical series includes identification, education, immigration and other related documents for Sigmund and Carola Neu, and their family members, including their son Herbert and daughter-in-law Eleanor Ney (Hannelore Grundmann). Genealogical materials for the Neu and Grundmann families are included, as is a file labeled “Sigmund Neu—Military Service,” but which also contains correspondence sent to Neu while he was in the Germany Army during World War I, as well as postcards sent to his family during this period.

    The Photograph series contains photographs of both Sigmund and Carola Neu’s families, as well as photographs of their own three children—Herbert, Walter, and Eleanor—and photographs of the family of Eleanor Grundmann Ney as well. The photographs are divided by families, family members, and time periods. These include late 19th century and early 20th century photographs of Sigmund Neu and his siblings in Metz and Augsburg; and photographs of the Gutmann family, including many of Carola as a child and young woman, and of her father, Emil Gutmann. Photographs of Sigmund and Carola Neu’s family include numerous pictures of their three children from between 1910 and 1940, as well as later pictures after their immigration to New York. Most of Herbert Neu’s pictures are from his childhood and early adulthood, and later pictures, following his immigration to the United States, are filed under his American name, Herbert Ney. The same is true for photographs of Hannelore Grundmann / Eleanor Ney, in which earlier, childhood photographs are under her German name, and later photographs, including those following her marriage to Herbert, are under her American name. Assorted photographs of members of the Neu, Gutmann, and Grundmann families are filed by family member, or family name, and there are a number of unidentified photographs as well.

    The Restitution series consists largely of documents filed and received by Herbert Ney, initially representing claims related to the estate of his father, Sigmund, after the latter’s death in 1949, but also including material about his own claims, related largely to his inability to continue his university education in Germany as a result of Nazi policies, as well as later pension claims he filed with the West German government. Other documents include Eleanor Ney’s claims, primarily relating to pension benefits received from the German government following her husband’s death, and newspaper articles about restitution, from German-language newspapers in the U.S. (such as Aufbau).

    The collection also contains two autograph books kept by Carola Neu as a child, in Germany, between approximately 1892 and 1907, and a video program compiled by the Ney family, consisting of interviews with Herbert and Eleanor Ney.
    inclusive:  1867-2010
    bulk:  1910-1950
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Steven Ney and Michael Bournas-Ney
    Collection Creator
    Herbert Ney
    Eleanor Ney
    Herbert Ney (1913-1999) was born Herbert Neu, the son of Sigmund (1875-1949) and Carola (née Charlotte Gutmann, 1884-1988) Neu, in Metz, Alsace-Lorraine, on 24 June 1913. Herbert was one of three children, his siblings included Walter (born 1909) and Eleanor (1920-1996). Sigmund and Carola had married in Augsburg, Germany on 15 December 1908, and but returned to Metz, where Sigmund worked as a lawyer. Sigmund served in the Germany Army during World War I, and at the end of the war, when Alsace-Lorraine was ceded to France, the family returned to Augsburg and lived there a number of years before relocating to Munich, where Herbert finished his secondary schooling and began university. His studies were interrupted when the Nazis came to power in 1933, and he was forced to flee to France, where he lived for a while before continuing onward to Portugal, where he remained, working in a variety of businesses until he was able to immigrate to the United States in 1939. A distant relative in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Jerome Ney, provided affidavits and support for Herbert to immigrate, followed by his parents, who arrived in the U.S. by way of Japan, and his sister, who had immigrated via Britain and South America. Walter Neu immigrated to mandate Palestine, and lived the remainder of his life in Israel. After arrival in the United States, Herbert changed his last name from Neu to Ney, and in 1944, Herbert married Hannelore Grundmann in 1944 and became a United States citizen. He died in New York on 15 June 1999.
    Eleanor Ney (née Hannelore Grundmann), born in 1920 in Essen, Germany, describes being the youngest of three children; her twin siblings, Ralph (Rolf) and Lee (Liselotte), who were seven years older than her; being raised in an upper-middle class Jewish family; her father Otto Grundmann (“Opi”), who was a distinguished lawyer with a thriving legal practice and fought in WWI as an officer; her mother Hete, who was a homemaker; having a happy childhood; her athletic pursuits; her childhood best friend Franz Oppenheimer, who lived next door until they were eight years old; leaving private school and enrolling in 1928 in public school; the Nazis’ rise to power; experiencing antisemitism from her teachers and classmates; her mother’s decision that Eleanor had to leave school in 1934; interning with a local chef, who trained her in cooking and baking while she prepared lunch every day for 12 businessmen; going to Offenbach in 1936 to apprentice in the leather-goods trade; meeting her friend Henry Goldsmith, who was two years her junior; being told by her father to leave Germany in October 1938; going to Basel, where her aunt and uncle lived; the arrest of her father; going to London, England in January 1939; being labeled an “enemy alien” and imprisoned by the British; her parents’ arrival in London circa January 1940; experiencing the Blitz while she was imprisoned and the effects it had on her psyche; being allowed to leave her cell during air raids after the House of Commons realized the turmoil the bombardments caused the imprisoned women; her mother’s refusal to go to the air raid shelters during the Blitz; her brother Rolf fighting for the US Army in New Guinea; being released from jail on the condition that she get a job; working as sleep-in maid; moving to Brighton with the family that employed her and cooking for nine people; feeling like a prisoner because she had to obtain permits to leave the house; working at a private hotel and cooking for 18 people; being hired by the Alligator Leather Goods Co., in the small town of Bishop Auckland (County Durham) in Northern England; being promoted to supervisor; falling in love with her supervisor, S. Rollman; the takeover of the German-owned factory by the British; being sent to a penitentiary in London where she was locked up in a single cell; her father and the Jewish Committee helping her to get a visa to the US; being sent to the Isle of Man to await the issuance of the visa; the difficulty of buying a ticket for a passenger ship to the US; boarding the “Cynthia” on September 23, 1940; the torpedoing of the ship after one day at sea, and not having fresh water for the remaining nine days of the voyage; arriving in the US and working at a leather goods company in Kew Gardens; and working for several other leather goods manufacturers.

    Physical Details

    German English French
    3 boxes
    2 book enclosure
    System of Arrangement
    The Ney and Grundmann families papers are arranged in the following series: I. Biographical, II. Photographs, III. Restitution, IV. Other. Files are arranged in alphabetical order within each 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

    Administrative Notes

    Gift of Steven Ney and Michael Bournas-Ney, sons of Herbert and Eleanor Ney, 2017.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:30:23
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