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Kleinfeld family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2018.640.1

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    Kleinfeld family papers

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    The collection documents the Holocaust-era experiences of Isidor and Regina Kleinfeld and their children Hedda and Liane in Vienna, Austria including Isidor’s arrest after Kristallnacht and his brief imprisonment in the Dachau concentration camp, the family’s emigration from Austria in 1939 to Cuba and to the United States in 1940. Included are biographical material regarding education, employment, and Isidor’s restitution claims against the Hamburg-Amerika Line; immigration paperwork regarding efforts to leave Austria, their stay in Cuba, and the process of receiving visas to immigrate to the United States; correspondence; and pre-war family photographs.

    Biographical material includes clippings from Cuban newspapers, identification papers, report cards, employment documentation, papers related to Isidor’s service in the Austrian Army during World War I, copies of Isidor and Regina’s marriage certificate, Isidor’s imprisonment in Dachau, and a small amount of papers related to the Reich family. Also included is extensive paperwork regarding Isidor’s efforts to receive compensation from the Hamburg-Amerika Line for having to purchase roundtrip tickets to Cuba despite the family’s intention to stay in Cuba until they could go to the United States.

    Immigration papers include documents related to the family’s emigration from Austria in early 1939, immigration cards from Cuba, and correspondence, affidavits, and related paperwork for the family’s immigration to the United States in May 1940. There is also a small amount of documents regarding David Reich’s immigration from Austria.

    The bulk of the correspondence is from 1938-1939 with relatives and friends, including Sigmund Reich in the United States, who was possibly Regina’s brother or cousin.

    Photographs primarily consist of pre-war depictions of the Kleinfeld family. Also included are depictions of Isidor’s relatives including his father and sisters Ida, Laura, and Diana. There is also a photograph of Regina’s father Siegmund Reich.
    inclusive:  1908-1963
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Hedda Kleinfeld Schachter
    Collection Creator
    Kleinfeld family
    Isidor Kleinfeld (1894-1975) was born on 29 September 1894 in Stanislawów, Poland to Jakob and Ettl (née Braubart) Kleinfeld. He had at least one brother, Leonard, and at least three sisters, Ida, Laura, and Diana. Isidor married Regina Reich in 1920. Regina Kleinfeld (née Reich, 1895-1945) was born on 13 December 1895 in Stanislawów to Schmaje and Freuda (née Hecht) Reich. Isidor and Regina had two daughters in Vienna, Austria: Hedda (later Hedda Schachter) was born on 5 February 1924, and Liane (later Liane Schwarz, 1927-2015) was born in 1927.

    Isidor served with the Austrian Army during World War I. After the war he worked in the fur industry, primarily with leather. At one point he worked for his father’s furrier business. Regina trained to become a hat maker.

    After the German annexation of Austria in March 1938, Hedda and Liane could no longer attend public school, and enrolled in the only Jewish school in Vienna. The family made plans to emigrate and Isidore applied for visas for the United States with the help of relatives already there. During Kristallnacht, Regina had a non-Jewish relative pick up Hedda and Liane from school. Isidor and his brother Leonard were arrested and released on 18 November on the condition of leaving Germany. In December he was caught trying to cross the border into Belgium without a visa and deported to the Dachau concentration camp. After Isidor was released from Dachau he purchased visas for Shanghai and Cuba on the black market, all of which were fake (visas were not required for immigration to Shanghai).

    The Kleinfelds emigrated from Austria aboard the MS Orinoco and arrived in Havana, Cuba around February 1939. They remained there until May 1940 when they sailed to the United States aboard the SS Mexico. In September 1941 Hedda married Jack Schachter, who emigrated from Poland to the United States as a child in the 1920s.

    The Kleinfeld and Schachter families opened a furrier business on Fifth Avenue in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn and the family lived above the store. At Hedda’s suggestion, they started selling bridal wear and eventually became the very successful Kleinfeld Bridal.

    Isidor’s mother and his siblings immigrated to Cuba and then the United States. Regina’s father immigrated to Palestine by 1940 as did some of her siblings.

    Physical Details

    2 boxes
    4 oversize folders
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as four series.

    Series 1. Biographical material, 1908-1963
    Series 2. Immigration, 1938-1941
    Series 3. Correspondence, 1916-1940
    Series 4. Photographs, circa 1914-circa 1940

    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

    Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2018 by Hedda Kleinfeld Schachter.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:35:49
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