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Dolf and Cato Ringel papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1993.123.10

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    Dolf and Cato Ringel papers

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    Dolf and Cato Ringel were a Jewish couple residing in Amsterdam, before escaping German occupation and living in Spain. Their papers include correspondence from family members, identification and food distribution cards, and documents relating to the death of Dolf’s father Meilach. Other items include permits of residence and certificates of safe passage, as well as a revocation of German citizenship. Also included are various news clippings, and a copy of Dolf’s memoir recalling his journey.

    The Dolf and Cato Ringel papers contain correspondence and documents collected during their time during the Holocaust. The correspondence comes primarily from Cato’s brother Eddy, while living in Spain and later some postcards while imprisoned at Jawischowitz concentration camp. The letters, as well as the postcards from Cato’s parents, are written with fictitious names and facts in order to elude Nazi detection. Other items include food distribution cards for Cato’s family, a fake Belgian identity card for Cato’s mother (Elizabeth Parfumeur), and a Dutch identification card for Dolf’s mother, Taube Ringel. Official documentation includes French documents relating to Cato’s stay in France, German papers concerning revocation of German citizenship and exemption from internment camps, and medical documents relating to the death of Dolf’s father, Meilach Ringel. Also included are various news clippings and a copy of Dolf’s memoir, Safe Conduct.
    inclusive:  1940-1989
    Collection Creator
    Dolf Ringel
    Adolf “Dolf” Ringel was born in Mainz, Germany in 1910 to Meilach and Taube Ringel. Meilach worked in an import/export business, mainly dealing with eggs and dairy. In 1933, Dolf attended medical school, before laws prevented him from attending university due to his Jewish background. The family decided to escape the now rampant anti-Semitism, fleeing to Spain in 1933. In the meantime, Dolf assisted his father with his business. In 1936, with the Spanish civil war beginning, the family decided to move to Amsterdam. It was there that Dolf met Cato Parfumeur, and the two soon began dating in 1940. Dolf moved out of his parent’s house, and hid, along with his friend Max Schlesinger, in a secret room in the home of Rudolf Veitz. The two attempted to escape to Switzerland, but were stopped and forced to return to Amsterdam. As Jewish roundups became more common, Max and Dolf moved into the attic of another friend, Alexander Wellensiek, after receiving deportation cards.

    Cato Parfumeur was born in Amsterdam in 1920 to Elisabeth and Fritz Parfumeur. Her father worked for an upholstery filling company, servicing furniture. She had two brothers, Hans and Eddy. While living in Amsterdam she met Dolf Ringel and began to date him. Wanting to escape Nazi occupation, Eddy was able to get smuggled into Switzerland. After Nazi roundups began, Cato and her family moved into Rudolf Veitz’ house, using a room that Dolf had previously used.

    Fearing that they may be caught at any time, Cato and Dolf decided to move to Spain, where Dolf had contacts from his time living there years earlier. They received fake Belgian identification cards, and once in Menen, used the same passeur (smuggler) that Eddy had used to get to Switzerland. Unfortunately, he abandoned them once they reached France. They eventually did reach Spain, after getting smuggled through the Pyrenees mountain range. Once in Spain, however, they were soon captured and imprisoned in Figueres, Spain. Dolf was eventually transferred to the Miranda de Ebro internment camp, while Cato was sent to Caldas de Mallavella. During this time, Cato began sending letters to a Dutch ambassador, who assisted them in leaving the camps and working at the Dutch embassy in Spain. In October of 1943, Dolf and Cato were married, and in December of 1944, they moved to London to work for the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs. After the war, Dolf and Cato immigrated to the United States in 1949.

    During Dolf and Cato’s escape to Spain, Cato’s brother Eddy traveled back to Amsterdam to help his parents and brother, because people were being deported en masse. Eddy helped them flee to France, but on the Swiss border, the family was caught. Eddy was sent to the Jawischowitz sub-camp of Auschwitz and died working in a coal mine. The rest of the family were also sent to Auschwitz, where they were killed. Dolf’s parents remained hidden under Rudolf Veitz, but Meilach died due to illness in 1945. Dolf’s mother, Taube, survived the war.

    Physical Details

    1 box
    System of Arrangement
    The Dolf and Cato Ringel 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

    Administrative Notes

    The Dolf and Cato Ringel papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Dolf and Cato Ringel. The papers are a result of several donations made in 1993 and 1994. These donations were given separate accession numbers: 1993.123, 1994.A.0356, 1995.A.0336, and 1995.A.0337. These accessions have since been unified and can be located under the accession number 1993.123.10.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2023-03-30 15:12:18
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