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Karliner family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1999.3.32

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    Karliner family papers

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    The Karliner family papers consist of wartime correspondence and photographs taken of the Karliner family in Germany before World War II, aboard the MS St. Louis, in France while in hiding at Oeuvre de secours aux enfants (OSE) homes, and during the post-war years.

    The correspondence is written by members of the Karliner family, many of whom perished in the Holocaust at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Written by Joseph, Martha, Ilse, Ruth, and Walter Karliner, the letters are dated circa 1927-1944.

    The Karliner family photographs include photographs of Josef Karliner’s store; the family in Peiskretscham, Germany, circa 1909-1930s; the family aboard the MS St. Louis; and Ilse Karliner in Mirebeau, France, 1942. The photographs also include Walter Karliner, Hebert Karliner, and other Jewish refugees at various Oeuvre de secours aux enfants (OSE) homes in France, circa 1942-1946.
    inclusive:  circa 1909-1951
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Herbert Karliner
    Collection Creator
    Karliner family
    The Karliner family lived in Peiskretscham (Silesia), Germany, now Pyskowice, Poland. Joseph Karliner (Josef, 1898-1943) married Martha Weissler (d. 1942). They had four children: Ilse (1923-1942), Walter (b. 1924, also known as Paul Kiener), Herbert (b. 1926, also known as Paul Braun), and Ruth (1927-1942). The family owned a grocery store which Martha managed while Joseph also worked in the horse trade. In November 1938, during Kristallnacht, the store was destroyed and Joseph Karliner was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. He was released two months later after Martha obtained a visa for him to travel to Shanghai, China. Since the visa was only for Joseph and the family desired to stay together, the Karliners sought alternative ways to emigrate from Germany.

    The family booked passage on the MS St. Louis. Upon being denied entry to Cuba and the United States, the Karliner family disembarked in France in June 1939. Joseph, Martha, and Ilse were sent to Mirebeau, France. Walter, Herbert, and Ruth were placed in Villa Helvetia an Oeuvre de secours aux enfants (OSE) children’s home near Paris, France. Around September 1939, Ruth was reunited with her parents and older sister in Mirebeau. On November 6, 1942, Martha, Ilse, and Ruth Klarliner were sent on convoy 42 to Auschwitz concentration camp, where they perished. On November 20, 1943, Joseph Karliner was sent on convoy 62 to Auschwitz concentration camp, where he also perished.

    Around September 1939, Walter and Herbert Karliner were sent to an OSE home in Chaumont, France where Walter worked as a cabinet maker and Herbert a baker. In 1941, Walter moved to another OSE home at the Château-de-Montintin, France. In 1943 or 1944, the Eclaireurs Israelites de France underground sent Walter to Saint Julien, France to live at a boys’ home managed by the Moissons Nouvelles, where he survived the war.

    On August 26, 1942, French gendarmes raided the OSE home at Chaumont and arrested all the children over the age of sixteen, including Herbert Karliner. Hebert was eventually released because he was a week shy of his sixteenth birthday. He was sent to another OSE home at the Château-le-Masgelier. In February 1943, anticipating another raid, Hebert and a friend, Julien Bluchstein, fled south to the Château-de-Montintin, where they hoped to reunite with Walter. Discovering that Walter was no longer there, they attempted to cross the Spanish and later Swiss borders. Unable to successfully cross the French border, Herbert and Julien went to a farm in Tayulers which was managed by Zionist members of the Eclaireurs Israelites. The farm had reach its capacity for refugee children, so the boys were sent to Tréves, France (now Trier, Germany) where they lived until liberation in 1944. After liberation, Hebert lived in several OSE homes including Masgelier, Poulouzat, and Rue Rollin near Paris, France.

    After the war, Walter and Herbert Karliner were reunited in Paris. They lived at that the Hotel du Moulin, a home for boys managed by the Eclaireurs Israelites in Moissac, France. Walter worked as a cabinetry instructor. In December 1946, Walter and Herbert Karliner immigrated to the United States.

    Physical Details

    German English
    3 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Karliner family papers are organized into two series.
    Series 1. Correspondence, circa 1927-1944
    Series 2. Photographs, circa 1909-1951, undated

    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

    Herbert Karliner donated the Karliner family papers to the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999, 2004, and 2006. The collections accessioned as 1999.3, 2004.685.1, 2006.393.1 have been incorporated into this collection.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-28 09:14:58
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