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Skirt made by a German Jewish woman to demonstrate her sewing capabilities

Object | Accession Number: 2017.298.2

Maroon wool sampler skirt made by Elfriede Hillelsohn in Hamburg, Germany, to prove her sewing skills prior to her work in a Nazi uniform factory. Elfriede trained as a seamstress in Weener, Germany, before moving to Hamburg in 1936. While in Hamburg, Elfriede belonged to a German-Jewish youth movement where she met and soon became engaged to Kurt Hillelsohn. After Kristallnacht in November 1938, Kurt immigrated to the United States and Elfriede and her mother moved in with his family. During this time, Elfriede worked as a forced laborer in a German uniform factory. With financial support from Kurt, Elfriede and her mother were finally able to escape Germany in 1941, and arrived in New York City on June 13. Elfriede and Kurt married that September. Kurt was later drafted by the U.S. Army and stationed stateside. He served as part of the “Ritchie Boys,” a group that included many German-Jewish refugees who were recruited for their knowledge of the German language and culture, and received special training at the Military Intelligence Training Center at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. Kurt’s mother and brother, who Elfriede lived with before her emigration, remained in Hamburg until they were deported to the Minsk ghetto, where they perished.

creation:  after 1936-before 1941
creation: Germany
Clothing and Dress
Women's clothing
Object Type
Skirts (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Michael Hillelsohn
Record last modified: 2022-11-03 13:19:11
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