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Butter knife owned by a Romanian Jewish family

Object | Accession Number: 2014.490.5

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    Butter knife owned by a Romanian Jewish family

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Butter knife owned by Izi Greif’s (née Korn) family. Izi was born in Romancauti, Romania (now Romankivt︠s︡i, Ukraine), but grew up in Piatra Neamț, Romania with her younger brother Hary, and their parents Lisa and Solomon Korn. Izi was in high school when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, starting World War II. Originally, Romania chose to stay neutral in the war. However, in September 1940, a coalition government came to power led by General Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard, a nationalistic party which promoted violent antisemitism. Following this change in government, Romania officially joined the Axis alliance, and restrictions against Jews began to intensify. The new Romanian government quickly passed regulations forbidding Jews from public education, and Izi was kicked out of school. The Iron Guard and local authorities in Piatra Neamt also terrorized Jews by confiscating the Jewish cemetery, torturing people into giving up their wealth and property, and restricting their movement around town. In August 1944, opposition politicians overthrew Antonescu and signed an armistice with the Soviet Union. Romanian troops then started working with the Allies. Following the ousting of the antisemitic Romanian government and the German military, Izi reenrolled in high school. She graduated in 1945, and moved to Bucharest to study textile engineering. While there she met electro-mechanical engineering student Ignacy Greif, and they married in 1948. In 1973, Izi and Ignacy immigrated to the United States with their daughter, and settled in San Francisco.
    Date
    manufacture:  1900-1930
    Geography
    manufacture: Berndorf (Lower Austria, Austria)
    manufacture: Solingen (Germany)
    use: Romania.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Claudia Greif and Vladimir Brandwajn
    Markings
    blade, center, stamped : J.A.HENCKELS.SOLINGEN / ZWILLINGSWERK
    blade, bottom, stamped : NOXIDA
    handle, left of mark, stamped : M.F.H.
    Contributor
    Subject: Izi Greif
    Manufacturer: Berndorf Metalware Factory
    Manufacturer: Zwilling J.A. Henckels
    Biography
    Izi Greif (née Korn, 1923-2008) was born in Romancauti, Romania (now Romankivt︠s︡i, Ukraine), but raised in Piatra Neamț, Romania by her parents, Lisa (née Koifman) and Solomon Korn. Lisa was from Romancauti, while Solomon was from Buzău, Romania. Izi had one younger brother, Hary (1927-2010).

    Izi was in high school when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, starting World War II. Originally, Romania chose to stay neutral in the war, even though Romanian authorities already pursued a policy of harsh, persecutory antisemitism against Jews. In September 1940, a coalition government came to power led by General Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard, a nationalistic party which promoted violent antisemitism. This period of rule is often known as the National Legionary State, and the party members as Legionnaires. Following this change in government, Romania officially joined the Axis alliance, and restrictions against Jews began to intensify. The new Romanian government quickly passed regulations forbidding Jews from public education, and Izi was kicked out of school.

    In Piatra Neamț the Legionnaires, with the assistance of the local authorities, terrorized the Jewish population. They confiscated the Jewish cemetery, and tortured wealthy Jews into giving them large sums of money and property. Jews who did not have money were forced to give away their merchandise and treasured family items. This abuse was similar to what the Legionnaires were inflicting on Jews all across Romania. In summer 1941, Izi and all other Romanian Jews were ordered to start wearing the yellow Star of David badge, and they were prohibited from moving around town outside of a few designated hours each day. The German army also forced Jews throughout the country to donate blankets and winter clothes to German soldiers.

    In August 1944, as Soviet troops were gaining ground in Romania, opposition politicians overthrew Antonescu and signed an armistice with the Soviet Union. Romanian troops then started working with the Allies, fighting alongside Soviet troops through Hungary and into Germany. Izi, her brother, and their parents all survived the Holocaust. Following the ousting of the antisemitic Romanian government and the German military, Izi returned to high school and graduated in 1945. She then moved to Bucharest to study textile engineering. In Bucharest, Izi met Ignacy Greif, a fellow survivor and electro-mechanical engineering student. Izi and Ignacy married in 1948, the same year that Ignacy graduated with his engineering degree. Izi earned her degree in 1952. The couple both worked as engineers in Bucharest, and had one daughter, Claudia. In 1968, the family applied at the Romanian authority to immigrate to the United States, and they received their exit visas in 1973. The three of them settled in San Francisco.

    Physical Details

    Language
    German
    Classification
    Tools and Equipment
    Category
    Cutting tools
    Object Type
    Knives (lcsh)
    Genre/Form
    Cutlery.
    Physical Description
    Silver-colored metal butter knife with an uneven blade and a rounded tip. The blade has an oval base soldered onto the handle. The hollow handle has scrollwork designs down the sides. The manufacturer’s information and maker’s mark for J.A. Henckels is stamped on the back of the blade. A very faint maker’s mark for Berndorf Metalware Factory is stamped on the back of the handle with initials stamped on the left. There is rust extending onto the handle from the soldering, and slight tarnishing within the edges of the design.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 9.500 inches (24.13 cm) | Width: 1.125 inches (2.858 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    Materials
    overall : metal, stainless steel

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Corporate Name
    Garda de Fier

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The knife was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by Claudia Greif, the granddaughter of Klara Stempler Greif.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-25 08:07:27
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn560507

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