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Four child's playthings: a handkerchief, glass bear, and two seashells, and a box used by a young Jewish Polish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2012.249.2 a-f

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    Four child's playthings: a handkerchief, glass bear, and two seashells, and a box used by a young Jewish Polish refugee

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Small handkerchief, glass bear, and two seashells in a box used by Edwin (Edik) Goldberg while confined to a bed with spinal tuberculosis in a labor camp in Siberia, from summer 1940 to August 1944 when he died at age 6. In 1939, Edik’s father, Emil, was called up by the Polish Army, leaving Edik and his mother, Elze, in Bielitz-Biala, Poland. Emil and Elze agreed to meet in Lvov (Lviv, Ukraine), if anything happened while he was gone. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. On September 17, the Soviet Union annexed eastern Poland, including Lvov. At the end of 1939, Elze and Edik made their way to Lvov and were reunited with Emil. In June 1940, the family was transported to western Siberia. Two year old Edik and his parents, Emil and Elze, arrived at the Siberian camp in June 1940. Not long after their arrival, Edik contracted tuberculosis. No adequate treatments were available in the primitive conditions of the camp, where his father worked as a dentist and his mother as a nurse. On August 1, 1944, Edik died.The war ended in May 1945. In May 1946, Emil and Elze returned to Poland.
    Date
    use:  approximately 1940 June-1944 August 01
    Geography
    use: Zapadno-Sibirskii krai (R.S.F.S.R.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Leah Whiteman
    Contributor
    Subject: Edwin Goldberg
    Biography
    Edwin (Edik) Goldberg was born on August 3, 1938, in Bielitz-Biala, Poland (Bielsko-Biala, Poland), to Emil and Elze Steuer Goldberg. Emil was born in 1911, in Niepolomice, Poland, to Moshe and Chava Goldberg. He had one younger brother, Hugo, and two sisters. Elze was born in 1911, in Bielitz-Biala, to Yitzkhak and Lote Koerbel Steuer. She had one older sister, Greta, and a brother, Avraham. Emil was a member of Maccabi Hatzair, a Zionist youth movement that fostered Jewish values, taught Hebrew, and encouraged physical activity. In 1933, Emil was drafted into the Polish Army. In 1936, he received a diploma from dental school. Elze ran a linen and embroidery shop that specialized in wedding dowry preparation. In 1937, Emil and Elze got married.
    In 1939, Emil was called up by the Polish Army. Before he left, Emil and Elze agreed to meet in Lvov, Poland (Lviv, Ukraine), if anything happened. Elze hid one of his civilian suits with the military equipment he took with him. Not long after he left, he was made the head of a military unit. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. On September 17, the Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland, including Lvov. Sometime in the second half of 1939, Elze decided to pack up all of Emil’s dental tools and their documents, and go to Lvov. She tried to convince her mother, Lote, and sister, Greta, to go with her, but they would not leave. Elze paid their neighbors to watch over them. Elze’s cousin, Ernst Koerbel, helped her and Edik cross the San River in a small boat. From there, Elze and Edik continued to Lvov, where they met her brother in law, Hugo Goldberg, his wife, Wanda, and their young son. A few days after Elze and Edik arrived, Hugo and his family disappeared.
    German forces quickly overwhelmed Polish troops. Emil changed from his military uniform to the civilian suit that Elze had hidden in his things in order to blend in with the non-military population. Emil made his way to Lvov, where he was reunited with Elze and Edik. Soviet authorities moved the family around often, transporting them to Moscow and then back to the area around Lvov. In June 1940, the Goldbergs were transported to western Siberia to work at an industrial plant in Zapadno-Sibirskii krai. Elze worked as a nurse, and Emil, as a trained dentist, was made the head of the Health and Sanitation Department. He was responsible for managing the logistical, medicinal, nutritional, and sanitation needs of the factory’s workers. There were never enough supplies for everyone and the conditions in the factory were horrible. Shortly after arriving, two year old Edik contracted spinal tuberculosis. There was no proper treatment for the disease available at the factory. He was placed in a full body plaster cast and confined to a bed. Elze had to sell her jewelry and their personal belongings to get flour, bread, and other necessary items for the family.
    In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Edik, almost 6, died on August 1, 1944. The war ended in May 1945. In May 1946, Emil and Elze returned to Poland. They stayed in Szczecin for two months, where their daughter Chava (Eva) was born on May 26. While there, they learned that Bielitz-Biala had been made into a ghetto by the Germans in the summer 1940. In June 1942, the ghetto was liquidated and Lote and Greta, Elze’s mother and sister, were transported to Auschwitz concentration camp and murdered. Her brother, Avraham, did survive. Emil’s sisters and their families had also gone to the Soviet Union and survived. His brother Hugo and his wife Wanda and their son were murdered in Lvov after disappearing in 1939. Emil and Elze decided that they did not want to return to Bielitz-Biala, and in July 1946, moved to Walbzych, Poland. Emil worked as a dentist at a public health center. Their second daughter, Lotka (Leah), was born there on October 15, 1947. In April 1957, the family immigrated to Israel and settled in Petach-Tikva. Emil, age 67, died on April 2, 1978. Elze, age 88, died on April 27, 1999.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Toys
    Category
    Games
    Object Type
    Novelties (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Small square, light brown cardboard box base for lid (b.) with an extended lip on the bottom. The exterior is covered in brown paper that wraps over the top rim. A square piece of paper is glued to the underside.
    b. Small square, light brown cardboard telescoping lid for box (a.) The exterior is covered with discolored blue, brown, and red floral patterned light brown paper. The top and sides are joined by hand stitched seams and the corners are loose: one is detached.
    c. Square discolored offwhite cotton handkerchief with brown stains and green blanket stitched edges.
    d. Miniature, slightly opaque glass bear in a standing position. It has 2 semi-circular ears, 1 brown eye, a protruding snout, 1 arm, and 2 legs attached to a round body. A 6 inch knotted loop of twine is tied around the neck. The right eye and left arm are missing.
    e. Small convex, scallop shaped seashell with a ribbed mottled white and reddish brown exterior. The smooth interior is offwhite and ribbed along the rim. There is a small chip on one side.
    f. Small convex, scallop shaped seashell with a ribbed yellow and brown exterior. The smooth interior is offwhite and ribbed along the rim. There is a small chip on one side.
    Dimensions
    a: Height: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Width: 2.375 inches (6.033 cm) | Depth: 2.375 inches (6.033 cm)
    b: Height: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Width: 2.250 inches (5.715 cm) | Depth: 2.250 inches (5.715 cm)
    c: Height: 7.000 inches (17.78 cm) | Width: 6.625 inches (16.828 cm)
    d: Height: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm) | Width: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    e: Height: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm) | Width: 0.625 inches (1.588 cm) | Depth: 0.250 inches (0.635 cm)
    f: Height: 0.625 inches (1.588 cm) | Width: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    Materials
    a : cardboard, paper, adhesive
    b : cardboard, paper, ink, adhesive, thread
    c : cloth, thread
    d : glass, twine
    e : shell
    f : shell

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The playthings and box were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2012 by Leah Whiteman, the sister of Edwin Goldberg.
    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 18:31:00
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn73615

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