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Brown leather lace-up boots worn by a young Jewish girl who escaped Germany on the Kindertransport

Object | Accession Number: 2012.451.2 a-b

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    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Brown leather lace-up boots bought for 2 year old Esther Rosenfeld by her parents in Germany and worn when she left on a June 1939 Kinderstransport to Great Britain, as her three older sisters Bertl, Edith, and Ruth, had done in March. As the adult Esther remembered: "The boots traveled with me from Germany as I left my home and parents when I was just two years old to start a new life in England. ... I suppose I wore them on the train, the ship, and then another train as I traveled to a new family. In Thorpe, I must have worn those boots for a long time. My foster father, who worked in a shoe factory, repaired them many times, as is evident when I look at them. Like all children, I outgrew the boots and cared nothing more about them. ... in 1964, Alan Harrison, my foster brother... brought me a gift from my foster mother of these boots, which she had kept safe all these years." Hitler's assumption of power in 1933 resulted in increasingly harsh persecution of the Jewish populace in Germany. Esther's extended family got affidavits of support from relatives in the US, but because of the strict US quotas, they could not get visas. Esther had a maternal aunt Hannah (Johanna) who had worked in England since 1933 and she found people willing to give the sisters homes. Esther lived with the Harrison's until 1947 when she went to America with her sisters. Her parents Adolf and Katty were murdered in Auschwitz concentration camp and many other relatives perished during the Holocaust.
    Date
    received:  1939
    recovered:  1964
    Geography
    received: Adelsheim (Germany)
    use: Norwich (England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Esther Rosenfeld Starobin
    Contributor
    Subject: Esther Rosenfeld Starobin
    Biography
    Esther Rosenfeld was born on April 3, 1937, in Adelsheim, Germany, the youngest child of Adolf and Katherine (Katty) Lemburger Rosenfeld. Adolf was born in Korb on June 16, 1898, into a large Jewish family of 10-13 children. He was the next to youngest child, and was in business with his younger brother. Adolf was a veteran of the First World War, during which he lost a leg. He was cattle dealer, and also sold livestock feed and supplies. Katty was born on June 18, 1999, in Rexingen to Simon and Babette Frohrlich Lemberger, also a large family of 10-13, with at least three sisters. The couple first lived in Korb, where Adolf's family had lived for generations. Their first child, Bertl, was born there on October 25, 1925. About a year after Bertl’s birth, the family moved to Adelsheim. It had a larger Jewish community and the synagogue had enough male members to form the minyan needed for certain religious rites. The couple had three more children, in addition to Esther and Bertl: Edith, born on February 17, 1926, Ruth born on August 11, 1930, and Herman, born on April 27, 1933.

    In January 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor and began to put into practice the Nazi pledge to persecute Jews. The older children attended public school until the mid-1930s, when, as Jews, they were prohibited from attending. Esther's three sisters went to live with relatives and attend a Jewish school in Heilbron. They were then sent to live with their maternal aunts, Friederike and her sister, in Aachen. The families decided to leave Germany. and they received the affidavits of support from relatives in the US neede for US visas. Because of the strict US quota, it was not possible to get US visas for everyone. The extended family made a decision to send one uncle’s family to the US. In March 1939, Esther's aunt arranged for the children to leave for Great Britain on the Kindertransport (Children’s Transport), a rescue mission to save Jewish children. They had another maternal aunt Hannah (Johanna) who had lived in London snce 1933. She was able to find families willing to take in the children. Bertl, Edith, and Ruth left Germany in March and Esther was sent in June 1939.

    Esther lived with Dorothy and Harry Harrison and their son Alan in Thorpe, Norwich, England until November 1947. The family was very loving and she had a happy childhood. Her sisters lived in different areas of England, but came to visit her whenever possible. Bertl was with a non-Jewish family, the Poole’s, first near London, then after the war began, in Scotland. Edith and Ruth were placed with Jewish families in London, though Ruth later lived in a hostel near Bloomsbury House. Esther's sister Bertl and aunt Johanna received letters from Kathy through 1941, although they may not have told Esther what they knew of their parents until later when she was older. On October 22, 1940, Esther's parents and brother were arrested by the Gestapo in Adelsheim and deported to Gurs internment camp in France. On March 30, 1941, they were transferred to Rivesaltes internment camp. Her brother Herman, 8, was rescued from there in September 1941 and sent by private relief efforts to the US. His uncles Sally and Sigmund Rosenfeld, both residents of Washington DC, saw Herman's name in a list of refugees published in an American German newspaper and Herman went to live with Sally and his wife. Bertl had to go to work when she turned sixteen in October 1941. Her aunt found her a room and a job in London. Bertl saved her money and sent what she could to her parents. In 1942, the Quakers working at Rivesaltes camp returned Bertl’s money because her parents were no longer there.
    The war ended on May 7, 1945. The family later learned some details of the fate of their parents. On August 2, 1942, they were sent from Rivesaltes to Drancy transit camp in Paris. From there, they were deported and murdered in Auschwitz concentration camp. Other family members also perished.
    In 1947, Bertl, following directions given to her by their mother, arranged for Esther, Ruth, and herself to go America. Edith, a member of the British Army, was to join them after she was discharged. Ruth left first, arriving in the US in early November. Bertl and Esther set sail on the Queen Mary, arriving in late November. At first, they lived with the aunt and uncle in Washington DC who had taken in their brother Herman. When Edith joined them in 1948, she and Bertl got an apartment and moved there with Esther. Ruth was the first to attend college, receiving a bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland, and then a teaching certificate in Philadelphia, where she taught first grade. Ruth married David Hirsh Ezekiel in 1952 and had three children. Bertl married Morris Esenstad, a World War II veteran, in 1954 and had two children. When Esther left for college at the University of Illinois, she lived with Ruth and her husband. Esther received a degree in education. She married Fred Starobin (1925-2011) and they had two children. Edith's brother Herman, 57, died in 1990. Her sister Edith Kaye, 71, died in 1998. Ruth, 79, died in 2009.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Dress Accessories
    Category
    Footwear
    Physical Description
    a. Child's very worn left brown leather lace-up ankle boot with a brown leather rounded apron toe cap. A black shoelace with frayed ends is inserted through 7 metal eyelets, 3 are missing on the left. The lacing holes are reinforced with leather. The open tab lacing is not sewn to the vamp at the bottom front. The counter, or heel section, is reinforced and has a leather back strap. The interior is lined with thin offwhite cloth that is stained and very worn with visible nail heads. The re-heeled shoe has a black plastic heel and a metal cleat. The leather sole has a separate, added or replacement, layer nailed to the ball and toe area with over 2 dozen nails. The polished leather is creased and wrinkled and the toes are scuffed.
    b. Child's very worn right brown leather lace-up ankle boot with a brown leather rounded apron toe cap. A black shoelace with frayed ends is inserted through 7 metal eyelets, 3 are missing on the left. The lacing holes are reinforced with leather along the interior. The open tab lacing is not sewn to the vamp at the bottom front. The counter, or heel section, is reinforced and has a leather back strap. The interior is lined with thin offwhite cloth that is stained and very worn with visible nail heads. The re-heeled shoe has a black plastic heel and a nailed on metal cleat. The polished leather is creased and cracked and the toe is very scuffed. The right shoe shows more use than the left.
    The shoes are tied together.
    Dimensions
    a: Height: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm) | Width: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm) | Depth: 3.500 inches (8.89 cm)
    b: Height: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm) | Width: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm) | Depth: 3.750 inches (9.525 cm)
    Materials
    a : leather, metal, cloth
    b : leather, metal, cloth

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The shoes were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2012 by Esther Rosenfeld Starobin.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 20:14:03
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn72131

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