Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Margosis family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2018.209.2

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward

    Margosis family papers

    Please select from the following options:


    The collection documents the Holocaust experiences of Isaac Margosis and his wife Schendel Brotman who fled Brussels, Belgium with their children Anna, Willy, and Michel in 1940. Included are letters to Isaac and Schendel, living as refugees in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, from Anna and Willy in Barcelona, Spain (1944) and Palestine (1944-1948); correspondence and writings regarding Isaac’s journalism career; identification papers including Schendel’s Persian (Iran) passport and refugee IDs from Caldas da Rainha; correspondence related to family history; and restitution paperwork.
    inclusive:  1939-2015
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Michel Margosis
    Collection Creator
    Margosis family
    Isaac Ben-Seef Margosis (1898-1953) was born in Odessa (Ukraine) on December 5, 1889 and studied under Hebrew poet Chaim Nachman Bialik. He married Schendel Brotman (b. 1902 in Odessa, later Jenny Margosis) in 1923. They had three children, Anna (b. 1924 in Hamadan, Iran), Willy (1925-1992 in Hamadan), and Michel (b. 1928 in Brussels). Isaac was an active Zionist and was arrested and banished to Siberia during the Bolshevik revolution. Isaac escaped to Iran where he gained citizenship. Schendel joined him in Iran and then they went to Palestine before returning to Europe and settling in Brussels, Belgium. In Brussels, Isaac edited and published two weekly papers, the Jewish "Yiddishe Voch" and the French "Notre Opinion.”

    Following the German invasion of Belgium on May 10, 1940, the Margosis family fled to Cazères sur Garonne, a small town in southern France. Isaac attempted to get visas in Marseilles and Vichy, but after these efforts failed, it was decided that Isaac should flee alone. As a journalist his life was most in danger since he had been publishing editorials denouncing fascism and despotism. Isaac escaped to Portugal, settled in Caldas da Rainha. Schendel and the children went to stay with friends (also Russian Jewish émigrés) on their farm in southern France through the winter of 1940. They then went to Marseilles and supported themselves by trading on the black market.

    After the German occupation of southern France in 1942, Schendel decided that the family should leave as soon as possible. She purchased forged safe-conduct papers, which allowed them to go to a mountain resort in the Pyrenees, near the Spanish border. From there, Schendel paid two smugglers $40,000 in American money to guide them through the snow and over the mountains and into Spain. Once in Spain, she hired a second guide to bring them to Barcelona. The Spanish Guardia Civil intercepted the family in Barcelona and confiscated their valuables. Schendel, Anna, and Willy were imprisoned, and Michel was taken to an orphanage. After a week or two, the family was liberated and taken to a hotel in a small spa town, Caldas de Malavella, subsidized by the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Willy was sent to a concentration camp in Miranda de Ebro, but after several weeks was freed and rejoined the rest of the family who had since been moved to Barcelona.

    In 1943, Schendel learned that the JDC was sponsoring a transport of children from Lisbon to the United States and she signed up Michel for it since he was under sixteen. Michel stayed with his father in Lisbon for a week before he departed for the U.S. aboard the Serpa Pinto (the children on this convoy who left without their parents later became known as the One Thousand Children). Michel arrived in the United States on June 22, 1943 and went to live with relatives in Brooklyn. Schendel was smuggled into Portugal in 1944 and rejoined Isaac. Anna and Willy immigrated to Palestine on youth Aliya in 1944. Isaac and Schendel immigrated to the United States in 1946. Anna came in 1950 with a husband and baby, and Willy immigrated in 1953. Michel later became a volunteer with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Physical Details

    German English French
    7 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as two series.

    Series 1. Correspondence, 1944-1957
    Series 2. Biographical material, 1939-2015

    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 collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Michel Margosis, son of Isaac Margosis, in 2018. An accretion was also donated in 2018. The collections previously numbered 2018.209.1 and 2018.524.1 have been incorporated into this collection.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2024-03-08 07:33:25
    This page: