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Sonja Speyer Echt papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2019.260.1

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    Sonja Speyer Echt papers

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    The collection documents the pre-war, wartime, and post-war experiences of Sonja Speyer Echt, originally of Guxhagen, Germany, including her childhood in Guxhagen, immigration to the United States in February 1938 on a Kindertransport, and her efforts to receive restitution from Germany. Included is her German passport, a copy of her birth certificate, a wartime postcard from her family in Guxhagen, genealogy notes, One Thousand Children reunion materials, restitution claims, and photographs. The photographs include depictions of Sonja, her sister Rita, Berta, and family tombstones.
    inclusive:  1927-2014
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Irving Birkner
    Collection Creator
    Sonja Echt
    Sonja Speyer Echt (born Sofie Speyer or Speier, 1926-) was born on 20 August 1926 in Guxhagen, Germany to Emanuel and Betty Speyer. Emanuel (1884-1941?) was born in Guxhagen in 1884 to Salomon and Regine Speyer. Betty (née Neumann, 1894-) was born in 1894 in Burgpreppach, Germany to Wolf and Sofie (née Friedmann) Neumann. Sonja had one sister, Rita (later Rita Güthermann, b. 1923), and one brother, Siegfried (b. 1930). The family kept a kosher household. Emanuel was a World War I veteran and he and Betty married in 1920 in Kassel, Germany. He ran his own business and Betty did his bookkeeping.

    Fearing for her safety after receiving beatings from both the students and teachers at her school in Guxhagen in 1937, Sonja’s parents sent her to Kassel. Her mother’s brother Solomon lived there and helped place her in a Jewish orphanage. He arranged for her to go on a Kindertransport and in February 1938 she boarded the SS Manhattan for the United States. After arriving in New York, she was placed in Columbus, Ohio as a foster child.

    Sonja’s father was arrested during Kristallnacht in November 1938 and briefly imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp until 15 December 1938. Her parents and siblings were deported from Guxhagen to the Riga ghetto on 6 December 1941. Emanuel, Betty, and Siegfried likely perished in the ghetto or at Auschwitz. Sonja’s sister Rita survived the Holocaust and immigrated to the United States in 1946 aboard the SS Marine Perch.

    Physical Details

    German English
    1 box
    1 oversize folder
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is 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

    Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2019 by Irving Birkner.
    Record last modified:
    2023-05-24 12:48:20
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