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Harry and Helen Berger papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2017.596.1

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    Harry and Helen Berger papers
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    Overview

    Description
    The Harry and Helen Berger papers consist of wartime identification papers for Helen Berger under her assumed name, Helena Barciszewska, in Lublin, postwar identification papers documenting Harry’s and Helen’s status as displaced persons in Germany, marriage records, immigration papers documenting Helen’s immigration and naturalization, and restitution papers documenting payments Harry received in settlement for claims of “damage to body or health.” The papers also include a 1940 postcard from the Kejer family to S. Meerson, and a 1947 program and Yiddish newspaper clipping documenting performances of Sami Feder’s adaptation of Sholem Aleichem’s, 200,000, oder Dos groyse gevins at the Bergen-Belsen DP camp.
    Date
    inclusive:  1940-1972
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Steven C. Berger
    Collection Creator
    Harry C. Berger
    Helen Berger
    Biography
    Harry Berger (1924-1985) was born Chaim Berger on January 21, 1924 in Ostrówek, Poland, to Mordcha Nohim and Estera Lampart. The Bergers’ family name had previously been Janizewski but was changed. Harry’s mother was killed during the war. He survived in hiding with his father, Motel Berger, and brothers, Jack and Harold Berger, and Jack’s wife, Wande (later Ruth). They foraged for food at night, and Harry once had to kill a German shepherd that was after him. He traded his sister-in-law’s watch to obtain freedom for the entire group. He met Helena Blum at the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp and married her in a religious ceremony in April 1946 and in a civil ceremony in 1949. They immigrated to the United States aboard the SS General Stewart and arrived on May 30, 1949. Harry Berger died in 1985 in Fair Lawn, NJ.
    Helen Berger (1923-2008) was born Helena (Hindla) Blum on October 16, 1923 in Kalisz, Poland to Abram Zwi and Masza Zalc. Her mother died when she was young. Helen’s childhood friend Helena Barciszewska turned in the Blum family following the German occupation of Kalisz. Helen and her older brother hid, and Helena Barciszewska was later killed. Her father, Avraham Zvi Blum, and her stepmother perished in the Holocaust. Her older brother Shlomo Blum survived the Holocaust and moved to Israel. Helen was deported but jumped from the train. She assumed the identity of her murdered friend, Helena Barciszewska, and worked as a nanny for an SS soldier. She survived the war and met her future husband, Harry Berger, at the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp after the war. They were married in a religious ceremony in April 1946 and in a civil ceremony in 1949, and Helen used a pillowcase to make her headdress. The couple immigrated to the United States aboard the SS General Stewart, arriving on May 30, 1949. Helen Berger died in 2008 in Fair Lawn, NJ.

    Physical Details

    Extent
    6 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Harry and Helen Berger papers are arranged as a single 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

    Corporate Name
    DP-Camp Bergen-Belsen

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum collection in 2017 by Steven C. Berger.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-24 15:12:59
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn563488