Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Kurt Schwarz papers

Document | Accession Number: 2015.580.1

The Kurt Schwarz papers consist of correspondence, photographs, telegrams, and documents related to the immigration of Kurt Schwarz, originally of Vienna, Austria, to the United States by way of Italy and Cuba, 1938-1940; as well as extensive correspondence from his mother, Helene Schwarz, in Vienna, 1938-1941. Includes telegrams from the American theatrical producer, Billy Rose, as he sought to help Kurt Schwarz immigrate to the United States, 1938-1939. Also includes later correspondence with Idy Sherer, the daughter of Kurt Schwarz, as she researched the fate of her grandmother, Helene Schwarz.

The Biographical series contains documents that primarily relate to Kurt Schwarz’s immigration to the United States by way of Cuba, as well as his marriage to Elsie Geduld. Included are travel documents, marriage certificates, a press pass, and a resume, all dated from 1939-1946. Also included are copies supplied to researcher Mark Cohen of Schwarz’s restitution case file, obtained from the Österreichisches Staatsarchiv in 2015, and documenting Schwarz’s case against the Austrian government, dating from 1962 to 1965.

The Correspondence series consists largely of letters sent by Helene Schwarz to her son, following his departure from Austria in 1938, up until November 1941, which may have been the time of her deportation to Theresienstadt. The letters begin with discussions of Kurt’s emigration, Helene’s own desire and plans to do the same, and often contain descriptions of conditions for Jews in Vienna—such as new regulations regarding the addition of “Israel” and “Sara” to names, increasingly difficult economic circumstances, or the articles being published in the one remaining Jewish newspaper—as well as news about various family members, often with discussion of their own plans or attempts to emigrate. Included are descriptions of meetings with the family of her sister, Gisela, at the time when the latter’s daughter, Marion Stern Pilpel, was planning to immigrate with her family to India. Occasionally notes and greetings from other family members were included with Helene’s letters to her son, and many of Helene’s letters contain references to news mentioned in Kurt’s letters, in particular regarding his activities in Cuba and attempts to immigrate to the United States from there.

Additional correspondence includes a file of material related to Billy Rose, including telegrams from Rose related to his efforts to assist with Schwarz’s immigration to the United States, and a letter from Helene Schwarz sent to Rose, and thanking him for his assistance to her son. Remaining correspondence includes letters that Kurt and Elsie Schwarz intended to send to Helene Schwarz in December 1941, and Kurt Schwarz’s efforts to locate his mother’s whereabouts and fate from late 1941 until 1945, including a letter addressed to the Red Cross in December 1941, and one received from an American acquaintance who had tried to help, in 1945. Later correspondence to Schwarz’s daughter, Idy Sherer, include letters from Yad Vashem, the Viennese magistrate’s office, and the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien, all related to Sherer’s attempts to trace the fate of her grandmother, 1998-2001.

The Photographs series includes images of Kurt Schwarz, as a boy and young man with his mother and other relatives, as well as after his immigration, en route to and in Cuba. A photo of Helene Schwarz’s brother, Leo Klemperer, is included, as well as a photo of prints of Hitler and Mussolini in Rome, including one noted to have been taken at the Hotel Majestic, where Kurt Schwarz worked.

The Research Files series consists of documents copied from other archival repositories, and obtained by Mark Cohen during the research and writing of Cohen’s book about the activities of Billy Rose in rescuing European Jews. Includes is a copy of the restitution file for Kurt Schwarz, obtained from the Österreichisches Staatsarchiv.

inclusive:  1938-2001
bulk:  1938-1941
1 box
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Idy Sherer
Record last modified: 2021-11-09 10:53:48
This page: