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Vulcanized fiber suitcase owned by a member of the Frank family

Object | Accession Number: 2018.613.7

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    Vulcanized fiber suitcase owned by a member of the Frank family

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Vulcanized fiber suitcase owned by a member of the Frank family, likely Herbert. Herbert Frank was one of three children born to Michael and Alice Frank in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He had three siblings, Robert, Otto, and Helene. Michael had founded a family banking business, which his wife and sons took over after his death in 1909. Helene moved to Basel, Switzerland, with her husband in 1931, and Herbert immigrated to France in 1932. After Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany in January 1933, authorities quickly began suppressing the rights and personal freedoms of Jews, and boycotting their businesses. Shortly thereafter, Otto immigrated to the Netherlands with his wife and two daughters, and Robert immigrated to England. In October 1933, Alice joined her daughter in Basel. In summer 1942, German occupation authorities in France began mass arrests, internment, and deportation of Jews. Herbert was arrested and held in Gurs internment camp in southwestern France. He decided to immigrate to Switzerland, arriving on October 15, 1942. Otto was in hiding with his wife and daughters for two years, until they were discovered, arrested, and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center in August 1944. Otto was the only member of his family to survive the camps, and returned to Amsterdam after the war. Herbert lived in Switzerland until 1945, when he returned to Paris. Otto immigrated to Switzerland in 1952. Herbert moved to Basel permanently in 1955, and remained close with his family until his death.
    Date
    manufacture:  after 1871
    use:  after 1931
    Geography
    use: Europe.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ryan M. Cooper
    Markings
    front, lock plate, engraved : SURETE
    Contributor
    Subject: Herbert A. Frank
    Previous owner: Buddy Elias
    Biography
    Herbert August Frank (1891-1987) was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, to Michael (1851-1909) and Alice Betty (nee Stern, 1865-1953) Frank. He had three siblings, Robert (1886-1953), Otto (1889-1980), and Helene (called Leni, later Elias, 1893-1986). Michael owned a bank, and the family lived a privileged lifestyle.They practiced a liberal form of Judaism. The Frank children received a quality education, took music lessons, and attended the theater and opera with their parents. When Michael died in 1909, Alice took over management of the bank.

    During World War I, Herbert and his brothers joined the army. After the war, they went into the family business, but the war and economic crisis that followed caused the family to lose much of their fortune. The crisis led Herbert, Otto, and their brother-in-law, Erich Elias, to open a branch of their bank in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1923. They closed the branch in 1929, as the economic situation in Germany improved.

    Herbert married Hortense Rae Schott (1899-1982) on April 12, 1922. Hortense was born in Newport, Arkansas, the daughter of a German businessman who had immigrated to the United States in 1879. She traveled with her father to Europe several times throughout her childhood. In 1931, Herbert’s sister and brother-in-law, Helene and Erich, moved to Basel, Switzerland. In April 1932, Herbert was arrested by income tax officials for trading in foreign securities. An appeal was filed, and he was released in May. By the time the case was heard in October, Herbert had left Germany and settled in Paris, France.

    On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. Under Hitler, authorities began suppressing the rights of Jews, and boycotting their businesses. Shortly after, Otto and Edith moved their family to the Netherlands. Otto’s brother, Robert, immigrated to England. In October, Alice left Germany, and joined Helene in Basel. Herbert and Hortense divorced, and Hortense returned to the United States in December 1933.

    After the German invasion of France in May 1940, a French collaborationist government was established in Vichy, in unoccupied southern France. That fall, the Vichy government enacted antisemitic legislation, modeled after that in Germany. The legislation excluded Jews from all aspects of public life and professional occupations, and began the confiscation of Jewish property and assets. In the spring of 1942, German authorities began requiring Jews to identify themselves by wearing a yellow Star of David. That summer, they began mass arrests, internment, and deportation of Jews. Herbert was arrested and held in Gurs internment camp in southwestern France. He decided to immigrate to Switzerland, arriving on October 15, 1942. Herbert lived in Switzerland until 1945, when he returned to Paris.

    Herbert’s brother, Otto, had been in hiding with his wife and daughters for two years, until they were discovered, arrested, and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center in German-occupied Poland, in August 1944. Otto was the only member of his family to survive the camps, and immigrated to Switzerland in 1952. Herbert moved to Basel permanently in 1955, and remained close with his family until his death.
    Buddy Elias (1925-2015) was born Bernhard Paul Elias in Frankfurt, Germany, to Helene (Leni, 1893-1986) and Erich (1890-1984). Helene and Erich were married on February 16, 1921, and had their first son, Stephen (1921-?), later that year. After World War I, Germany was impacted by an economic crisis that caused the family to lose much of their fortune. As a result, they lived in the house of Helene’s mother, Alice Frank (nee Stern, 1865-1953).

    Erich moved to Basel in 1929, and established a branch of the German pectin-manufacturer, Opekta. Helene and the children joined him in 1931. Alice joined them following the appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. Under Hitler, authorities quickly began suppressing the rights and personal freedoms of Jews, and boycotting their businesses. Although Helene’s brother, Otto (1889-1980), had moved with his family to Amsterdam, Netherlands, they regularly traveled to Basel to stay with their family. As a result, Buddy and Stephen spent a lot of time with their cousins, Margot (1926-1945) and Anne (1929-1945) Frank. Buddy and Anne, in particular, bonded over their love of ice skating. Buddy and a friend started performing as ice clowns under the name of “Buddy and Baddy,” and began touring around Switzerland.

    Buddy completed his final school exams in 1943, and began apprenticing as an optician. Soon after, he quit this position to begin training as an actor in Basel and Zurich. In 1947, Buddy was offered a clown role in a show called “Holiday on Ice,” which he toured with for 14 years. After he returned to Basel in 1961, he began an acting career. He married an Austrian actress, Gertrude Wiedner, in 1965, and the couple went on to have two sons.

    In 1986, Buddy joined the Board of Trustees of the Anne Frank Fonds, the charitable organization started by Otto Frank in 1963. He was made an honorary President in 1996.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Containers
    Category
    Luggage
    Object Type
    Suitcases (aat)
    Genre/Form
    Luggage.
    Physical Description
    Rectangular, red-brown, vulcanized fiber suitcase with a three-hinged lid. The vulcanized fiber bumpers on each corner and the trim on the edges of the left and right sides of the base, are secured with metal rivets. The front of the lid includes the metal, silver-colored top halves of a toggle latch in the center, and a hasp lock on either end. The front of the base holds the corresponding bottom half of the toggle latch and the hasp’s rectangular, key holed lock plates. All are secured with rivets. In the center of the base is a curved handle, made of metal and cardboard covered, with a stitched red-brown leather, with D-ring loops inserted through the ends and attached to two brown metal straps riveted to the base. The lid is attached to the back of the base with three, metal butterfly hinges, and four, circular metal feet are riveted to the corner bumpers. Three, partially torn labels are adhered to the left side of the base, and one is adhered to the front. The interior is lined with brown and tan plaid paper, and the base has two pairs of cloth straps attached to the front and back panels. The straps are white with a narrow, red stripe along each side. The back straps have rectangular silver-colored metal loops attached to the ends. On the top right corner of the lid interior is a circular blue, red, and white sticker with French text. The case is worn overall, with dents on the corner bumpers and light surface corrosion on the latch and locks. The handle’s leather exterior is worn, revealing the metal inside. There are holes on the sidewalls and the interior paper lining is peeling off in spots.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 7.750 inches (19.685 cm) | Width: 23.625 inches (60.008 cm) | Depth: 14.375 inches (36.513 cm)
    Materials
    overall : cellulose, metal, paper, adhesive, cloth, cardboard, leather, ink, thread
    Inscription
    exterior, left side, top label, printed, black ink : Zürich HB 1 / [?]36 / [?]aris-Est / [?]sel SBB – Mulhouse – Chaumont [Zurich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) 1 / [?]36 / Paris Is / Basel Swiss Federal Railway Station (Schweizer Bundesbahnhof) – Mulhouse – Chaumont]
    exterior, left side, middle label, printed, white : DOUANE / 91W33200.XII.59 0.019.9400 ( M. 12.740 ) [CUSTOMS / 91W33200.XII.59 0.019.]
    exterior, left side, bottom label, printed, black ink : DEPOT DE BAGAGES / 999 / Date d’entrée / [?]POT DE BAGAGES [LUGGAGE DEPOSIT / 999 / Date of entry]
    interior, lid, sticker, printed, white and blue ink : • FIBRE VULCANISÉE • GARANTIE / SYNDICAT / NATIONAL / DES / FABRICANTS / D’ / ARTICLES / DE VOYAGE [• VULCANIZED FIBER • WARRANTY / NATIONAL / UNION / OF / MANUFACTURERS / OF / TRAVEL / ARTICLES

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The suitcase was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2018 by Ryan M. Cooper, a friend of Otto Frank.
    Record last modified:
    2022-09-12 10:01:44
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn652075

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