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Kenyan wood bust of an African youth owned by a German Jewish refugee family

Object | Accession Number: 1989.306.13

Carved wooden bust of an African male in profile, with the hair and stretched earlobes of a Maasai warrior, acquired by Gisela Berg and her family in Kenya where they lived after fleeing Cologne, Germany, in May/June 1939. The family was warned by neighbors to leave their home in Lechenich prior to the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 9-10, 1938. Their homes were vandalized and the family decided to leave Germany. Jill's father Josef, his brother George, and cousin Ernest fled to the Netherlands. They were arrested, but their uncle, Herman Meyer, hired a lawyer and the men were detained but not deported. This gave the family time to find a country where they could emigrate legally. A friend got them permits for British-ruled Kenya and eventually seventeen family members relocated to a cattle ranch near Nairobi. When the war ended in May 1945, the family decided to leave Africa. With the help of two cousins in the US, visas were obtained for the family. Gisela, 14, her sister Inge, 18, and her parents Josef and Klara along with other family members, arrived in Boston in March 1947.

Date
after 1939 June-before 1947 March  (received)
Geography
creation : Kenya
received : Kenya
Classification
Art
Category
Sculpture
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jill Berg Pauly
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Record last modified: 2018-01-11 14:22:35
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn607846